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  • Will Market Share Declines Be Reversed by Hiring New Marketing Executives?
  • When market share declines, senior marketing talent is often recruited from outside. It is hoped that the newly recruited senior marketing executives will be reversing the market share declines. But, will it work?

    An example that's been in the news is General Motors, which recently recruited senior marketing executives from the outside to deal with declining market share. GM has tried bringing in marketers before, albeit unsuccessfully. In the past, GM brought in consumer packaged goods marketers experienced with products like those sold by Procter and Gamble, rather than with autos. This time, however, GM is recruiting senior marketing talent from the more successful auto makers--a better move, since an understanding of the industry can improve chances for success.

    Still, as Chrysler's situation illustrates, merely bringing in marketing talent from more successful competitors is not enough. Chrysler recruited senior marketing talent from Toyota's Lexus brand, but Chrysler still ended up in trouble and bankrupt. So, clearly, performance in the marketplace is affected by factors beyond merely importing top marketers from successful competitors.

    Two key factors affecting how well a company performs after bringing in outside marketers are strategy and fit. And, it certainly helps if, for one reason or another, the competition essentially gets out of the way, a scenario that, for example, is a plus for Ford, while GM, Chrysler and Toyota are addressing their major bailout or recall challenges.

    But, fit takes various forms. One way poor fit hampers success is if newly recruited senior marketing executives fail to develop effective relationships with others in the organization. How well newly recruited marketing executives fit also depends upon whether they can effectively steer marketing in directions that are strategically right for the business. The odds for successful results are stacked against newly recruited marketing executives whose experience, expertise and tendencies lean toward what lacks strategic fit with the business.

    As I emphasized in previous reports and articles, the right strategy is critical for a company's success. This applies both within marketing and beyond marketing. And, it impacts whether a newly recruited marketing executive will be able to successfully reverse market share declines.

    Furthermore, more and more research clarifying what drives success is now becoming available to help guide development of the right strategy. The research ranges from my Winning MovesŪ system, which identifies patterns associated with success, to findings by various prominent academics and consultants. As all this knowledge is currently crystallizing, strategies that effectively reflect the knowledge can foster success.

    Yet, successful strategy must go beyond marketing and be integrated into other areas throughout the organization--such as operations, engineering, customer service, etc. The whole organization working together in support of the strategy can create an environment where marketing's efforts to increase market share are less likely to derail.

    Thus, if the organization overall--i.e., the broader organization beyond marketing such as the company, division or line of business--already has a solid strategy, marketing's efforts should support that strategy. This helps the overall organization work more cohesively toward greater success.

    On the other hand, if the broader organization lacks a sound strategy, it can be far more challenging for the newly recruited marketing executive to reverse market share declines. When a broader strategy is lacking, it may or may not be possible for the marketing executive to take a leadership role by exerting influence beyond marketing to successfully help shape the broader organization's strategy. But, lack of or weakness in a broader strategy can adversely impact the outcome of efforts to reverse market share declines.

    In conclusion, a newly recruited marketing executive's efforts to reverse market share declines do not take place in a vacuum. Critical factors like strategy and fit, factors that extend well beyond marketing, can greatly impact market share outcomes.

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