Closing the gap between market research and strategic planning

Date of publication: September 1, 1989

Abstract:

Market Research and Strategic Planning have a common task: To support management in the never-ending challenge to shape the future of companies and organisations. Neither market research nor strategic planning have the knowledge or the instruments to fulfil this task without the complementary support of each other. Still, there is no intensive cooperation or communication between both professions up to the present day. Market researchers in companies have been living in their own world with little contact to strategic planners. They dealt with their suppliers, the market research agencies, which also existed neatly and tidily separated from the consulting companies. While market research developed increasingly sophisticated and accurate methods, they still gained little or no influence on company policies and actions. Strategic planners on the other side appeared to be a kind of unchallenged wizards, who created visions of the future development of companies and markets with little need for such profane information as the current number of customers, market shares etc. But now this lack of contact to reality is jeopardizing the confidence of management in strategic planning. The strategic planners have lost their formerly powerful position, the days of creative meetings and metaplan sessions are gone forever. Now, for a change, the accountants have taken over! It is so much easier not to face uncertain market prospects and not to look at "intangible" corporate strengths and weaknesses but to analyse the past financial performance of a business and to grow by buy outs and mergers.

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