Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

MAPP Working Papers,
University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, The MAPP Centre

No 60: Strategic marketing types: Evidence from the European meat processing industry

Jesper Strandskov (), Lone Hundahl and Christina Laursen
Additional contact information
Jesper Strandskov: Department of International Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business. The MAPP Centre, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
Lone Hundahl: The MAPP Centre, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business. The MAPP Centre, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark
Christina Laursen: The MAPP Centre, Aarhus School of Business, Postal: The Aarhus School of Business. The MAPP Centre, Fuglesangs Allé 4, 8210 Aarhus V, Denmark

Abstract: Executive summary 1. The discovery of a small number of generic strategies or competitive positions that would work equally well across product-markets, businesses and industries, would be an extremely important finding for business practicians. In particular the question of whether or why performance might differ between firms pursuing any strategy type has a strong academic and practical business interest. There is still a need to explore the basic question of whether generic types of marketing strategies exist. Also there is a lack of empirical evidence which examines a wide range of strategic variables across a diverse set of environments (countries). 2. The overall aim of this paper is further to provide a profound understanding of the nature of strategy types based on data from the European meat industry. In particular, the study (1) identifies and clusters meat processors using similar marketing strategies, (2) places these clusters in a strategic typology in order to better understand their position in the marketplace, and (3) analyses these strategic marketing types in terms of performance outcomes and differences in corporate attitudes and goals. 3. The meat processing sector in Europe is a mature and relatively stable industry in which consolidation is a continuing process. In spite of the overall trends facing all meat processors, they are confronted by different strategic problems and challenges because of their differences, for example, in terms of product offerings, degrees of specialisation, vertical integration, international orientation, relationship with the retail sector etc. 4. Based on related literature, two main hypotheses1 are formulated regarding the relationship between strategic marketing types on the one hand and performance and corporate attitudes on the other hand. Integrating previous definitions and findings on key strategy dimensions, three main marketing strategy components are used in the analysis: Strategic focus/objectives, marketing targeting and marketing positioning. The variables are split up in the following main groups: Marketing strategy variables, Corporate attitude variables and Business performance variables. 5. A variety of multivariate analyses was used to explore the hypotheses. The cluster analysis resulted in a six-cluster solution being judged the most meaningful and interpretable. While cluster analyses always are subjective, several statistical tests such as MANOVA and ANOVA tests were used to evaluate the results. 6. The six groups were named as follows: Quality differentiated specialists (SMT1), Unfocused regionals (SMT2), Locals (SMT3), International innovative branders (SMT4), Unfocused followers (SMT5) and National private labellers (SMT6). From the description of the clusters it follows that in the European meat industry two strategy types (SMT 1 and 4) seem to be clearly focused because they generally represent a particular strategic orientation on one or a number of strategic dimensions. In contrast, two strategy types (SMT2 and 5) may be characterised as unfocused with no apparent orientation. The strategic focus of SMT3 and 6 only partially show a clear and consistent pattern. 7. The conclusion of the study provides support for Hypothesis 1. Hypothesis 1A cannot be verified as the sample does not contain a cluster of firms having been able to successfully compete with a low cost strategy. On the other hand, Hypothesis 1B is supported by the results since the sample contains strategic marketing types that compete with a differentiation strategy. So, the successful differentiators of SMT1 and SMT4 perform better than businesses in the other clusters. Hypothesis 2 is only partly confirmed.

Keywords: Marketing; Generic strategy; Meat industry; Denmark

29 pages, January 1, 1999

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