Can HBR Get it Wrong?

HBR Blog Network by Whalen and Halloway Why Traditional Marketing Planning Fails for New Ventures ) This is an interesting article. But it contains both misconceptions and errors of fact. Let’s look at three of them.

1. In the cited case, Glassboard, a new venture, relegated ‘marketing’s role to communications, which was best addressed after the product was ready for launch.’ I’m sure the authors need no reminder that this was a classic case of the long-abandoned sales orientation. The article further states: ‘Not surprisingly, they found it quite difficult to market the product.’ Well hellooooo!

2. The informed approach is to involve marketing from the product development stage of the process for, as McDonald (2007) reminds us, marketing is a process for, inter alia, defining markets and determining the value propositions to meet those needs. Marketing is therefore not about selling a widget that has already been produced but has little customer appeal. That, as we say in Jamaica, is hustling a product.

3. Marketing, as a subject, was not built for corporate America in the 1960’s as Whalen and Halloway claim. Remember that the sales orientation era of marketing began with the twentieth century, and that twelve sales managers recognizing its weakness founded the Chartered Institute of Marketing in England way back in 1911, 101 years ago. (Marketing 101?) And in America the University of Pennsylvania offered a course in ‘The Marketing of Products’ in 1905, 6 years earlier.

Finally, The issue is not about substituting traditional marketing planning, as they call it, with their hypercycle planning. It is about a deep understanding of marketing thinking, for as Drucker remained us a long time ago, good marketing makes selling almost superfluous.


One thought on “Can HBR Get it Wrong?

  1. Herman Shim says:

    A skill that is not in my toolkit. The development of the product is continuing and discussions are robust with the key players in the design. I think I am more like The Woz in the scheme of things. But I see the necessity for Steve.


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