Companies with 'Anorexia Industrialis' have slim chance of success

13 April 2002

Companies with 'Anorexia Industrialis' have slim chance of success

A RECENTLY published report by marketing analysts at Aston Business School reveals rich rewards for firms employing good marketing practices, suggesting that by following its recommendations your business will also thrive.

Researchers at Aston University have uncovered the keys to business success in the 21st century. The results of its survey of nearly 500 senior UK marketing managers and directors from a broad range of industries reveal the practices of the best performing companies. By implication, businesses that follow the report's recommendations can become more successful than their competitors in today's challenging markets.

The main objective of the report, Marketing in the 21st Century, was to identify the UK's best marketing practices at the start of the new millennium. It was sent to firms with more than 20 employees in consumer and business markets, marketing both products and services. In asking the how, what and where of their marketing, it found clear and significant differences between the best and worst performing companies.

The report found clear differences in the business plans adopted in the recent economic downturn. Though both low and high performing companies agreed that recent trading conditions had been difficult, and that a change of strategy was necessary, only the high fliers implemented an aggressive, externally focused approach to dealing with them. The high performers have a long-term view of their markets, seeking to expand their markets or win market share from their competitors. They are keen to differentiate their products and services, striving to innovate and add unique qualities to their offerings.

The lower performers on the other hand tend to do the opposite, adopting short-term, defensive strategies, protecting what they already have rather than aiming to break into new markets. They also focus on improving efficiencies through cost-cutting exercises, even to the point of harming their own ability to successfully compete in the future.

Professor Graham Hooley, leader of the project, said, 'the weaker firms are suffering from "Anorexia Industrialis", or the excessive desire to be leaner and fitter which can result in total emaciation and eventual death if taken to extremes. The top performers, on the other hand, have been prepared to invest in growth and seek solutions in revenue generation, rather than blind cost cutting.'

As it takes in the views of such a broad range of companies and clearly points out the practices of the best performers within their respective sectors, the report should prove interesting reading for all marketers.

For further details of the report's finding, or for a full copy of those findings, please contact John Rudd at Aston University Business School on 0121 204 3000

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For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Note to editors:

a copy of the full report is available on request from John Rudd

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