Reading list: Blank checks and the marketing ideal
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Sep 28, 2012

Reading list: Blank checks and the marketing ideal

By Patricia Ledesma
Over the last two months, some of our marketing faculty has published thought provoking articles in the Sloan Management Review and in strategy + business.Most recently, Kellogg School Professors of Marketing Philip Kotler and Bobby Calder coauthored an article in the Sloan Management Review with Edward Malthouse (a Professor at the Medill School at Northwestern University) and Peter Korsten (IBM Institute for Business Value). In it, they discuss the results of the 2011 IBM Global CMO study, focusing, in particular, on how close companies are to controlling the marketing mix, a key aspect of the vision set for marketing more than 60 years ago by Neil Borden, then president of the American Marketing Association. They find that average level of control of the marketing mix, across 1,700 CMOs, is a 3.5 in a scale from 1 (no control) to 5 (full control). According to the authors,
The CMO survey also suggests a crucial obstacle to achieving the vision of marketing: the role of the CMO vis-à-vis the CEO and other C-suite members.[...]A statistical analysis of the correlation between the Full-Scale Marketing Index and top management’s view of marketing [...] suggests that top management’s evaluation of marketing is indeed a cause of marketing success and not a consequence.
The full article can be accessed from the link above, while the full IBM study requires a registering with IBM Institute for Business Value.Meanwhile, early in August, Professor Mohan Sawhney co-authored an article in strategy + business with Sanjay Khosla (Kraft Foods) about a strategy used by Kraft Foods to boost organic growth. They dub this management technique "blank checks":
What if resources were not a constraint? If managers were free to dream and act big without worrying about busting their budgets, they would be limited not by resources, but by their imagination.
The article elaborates on the concept, outlines the steps to implement it, provides some tips to manage the process and reviews case studies within Kraft.

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