Foundations of Marketing

by Jonathan Groucutt

Chapter 17: Performance

The Seminar Room

Pan Pacific

In Chapter 17 Experiential Performance was considered. This is the actual ‘engagement’ within an activity, and the chapter suggested that an individual could undertake everything from an extreme to a relaxing activity. Here is another one to consider within the realm of Experiential Performance, that of Bridge Walking. This may sound an unusual activity, and in many ways it is. However, the benefits may outweigh the ‘unusualness’ of the activity. The bridge walking being referred to is Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. First opened in March 1932, this is both one of the world’s iconic landmarks (a symbol of Sydney) and a cantilever structured bridge (fondly known as the ‘coat-hanger bridge’). The climb to the top of the bridge is some 134 metres above sea level. The climbers receive a personalised complimentary group photograph and a Commemorative Climber certificate.

The Café

The performance of an organization or a brand as described in this chapter must be considered overall as ‘fragile’ even if currently it is successful. You may wonder why I draw such a conclusion. The rationale is based upon other factors that percolate through the whole textbook, namely the:

  • Competitive environment in which the brand and/or the organization operate may be at ‘risk’. Gaining a competitive advantage or edge is but one action. Building and sustaining such an advantage is ongoing, fraught and increasingly difficult. Companies or organizations that gain the competitive edge and become complacent are risking all. In some cases they may not even survive. For example, from the 1900s to the 1960s Britain as a nation had one of the most powerful and productive shipbuilding industries. However, the combination of poor management, poor labour relations, indecisiveness, failure to understand macro conditions and the changing nature of competitiveness lead to its collapse. No longer does the UK build big ships on the scale that it once did. That is not to say that big ships are no longer built. On the contrary Scandinavian, German, Italian, French, Chinese and Korean shipyards are building some of the biggest ships ever seen. [See Chapter 6:Strategy in Marketing.]
  • Societal tastes change. A declining market for a product or service will eventually impact upon the performance of the organisation. [See Chapter 2: The Marketing Environment.]
  • Technological changes. These may impact directly or indirectly. In terms of direct impact a good example is the development of the microchip and processors. As computing power expands so the opportunity to use this technology enhances the company’s offering to their clients/customers. Consider, for example, how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as American Online (AOL) have been able to improve their performance through faster download time and a wider range of services. This is in stark contrast to when ISPs first entered the UK market. AOL like other fledgling operations had to inform their customers of service downtime. This was when the ISP shut down for a few hours in order to upgrade services. With a public ISP this would be unheard of today. However some ten years ago this was a regular occurrence (and understandable given the level of technology).

Indirect technological changes are those inventions or discoveries that may impact upon a directly non-related sector. For example, as seen elsewhere on this website, there are examples of Japanese car manufacturers using a combination of satellite and radar technology to devise systems to prevent accidents. [See also Chapter 2: The Marketing Environment.]

What these points illustrate is that the world is in a state of flux; it is ever changing. As such, companies need to be alert or sensitive to such potential changes and seek to use often-diverse ranges of technology to their longer terms advantage. If companies do not take such an approach, then someone else will and thus gain (and perhaps maintain) a superior position within the marketplace.

The Library

O’Dell, T. and Billing, P. (2005) Experiencescape: Tourism, Culture and Economy. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School.

This text critically evaluates the significance of the market for experiences. It suggests that cultural and economic forces are converging as experiences are packaged for consumers seeking something new and different.