Strategies of Marketing
From November 6th – 26th the HSE Faculty of Management again welcomed Wesley Johnston, Professor at Georgia State University (USA) who this time came to Moscow funded by the Fulbright Senior Specialist programme. What did he and his colleague Olga Tretyak, Head of the HSE Department of Strategic Marketing, manage to achieve during this time?
— A year ago the HSE News Service published your interview about cooperation. What has happened since then?
W. Johnston: Last year we decided to publish a special issue of the publication I edit, the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing. We have every reason to believe that this will be a very interesting issue with a focus on the situation and problems in business marketing and network relationships in Russia. The journal will be published in the second half of 2012, and in addition to the planned contents, we have some very interesting articles and works by Russian researchers which will not be included in this special issue but will be definitely published later.
— Could you tell us more about the Russian authors of the special issue and their works?
O. Tretyak: The issue is entitled ‘Interfirm relationships in Russia: responding to new challenges’ and as editor of this journal I can say that our main task is to show how deliberate building and coordination of interfirm relations can improve the competitive ability of companies not only in domestic but also international markets. This topic has been poorly studied in Russia, but business practitioners understand the necessity of such coordination and are clearly interested in the technologies needed to build and implement such strategies. That’s why I am very glad that we have managed to get 16 articles both from both Russian and international researchers who are working in this area. Currently the process of double-reviewing of the articles is taking place. I would not like to predict its results, but I think we can say that papers by HSE staff will have a prominent place in the journal. We have managed to collect many more papers than can be included in a single issue. The quality of these articles is extremely high and of exactly the right standard for international publication. From this perspective, the editorial and organizational work in which we are currently involved seems to me to be very important for the HSE as a whole.
— How has your cooperation developed in terms of teaching projects? Have any new courses appeared this year?
W. Johnston: This year I have offered the students of the HSE Faculty of Management a number of lectures on modern trends in strategic marketing and on strategies of branding in terms of the direct involvement of consumers in the process of creating and ‘nurturing’ the brand. In addition to that, I had time to carry out a seminar for HSE’s master’s and aspirantura students on the preparation of academic articles for publication in international journals. By the way, in September this year Marina Sheresheva, Head of the Laboratory of Network Organizational Forms, came to my university in the USA for three weeks and gave some lectures to our students on the current situation and development of marketing in Russia.
O. Tretyak: I would mention one important change in the educational process: Last year we began to include topics suggested by Wesley into lectures, and this year we’ve started basing some supervised tasks on these topics. In addition to this, as part of the research seminar Wesley spoke to us about certain international studies currently taking place in order to attract a student initiative group to participate in this study. And speaking about the development of the educational process at the faculty, Wesley is actively involved in ensuring the mutual consistency and improvement of our programmes. Of course, external evaluation by our international colleagues is very important to us, since we shall be adjusting our educational programmes to international requirements over the course of this year.
— And what can you say about the joint research projects?
W. Johnston: In the special issue of the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketingwe shall publish an article which we co-authored with Marina Sheresheva. In fact, we are carrying out several projects at the same time which involve researchers from different countries. One project is related to managing relationships with clients, and another one is concerned with an analysis of marketing practices in BRIC countries. In August we shall participate in two international conferences on marketing which will take place in the USA, so we are are preparing for our sessions and panels.
— What project will be unveiled at these conferences?
O. Tretyak: This July, Prof. Jagdish Sheth from Emory University (USA) published an article entitled ‘The Impact of Emerging Markets on Marketing: Rethinking Existing Perspectives and Practices’ which launched a new area of research in marketing. Or, to be more precise, this article defined in a new way the importance of emerging markets and attracted expert attention to the specifics of using marketing tools in new circumstances. The fact of the matter is that almost all papers in this area were focused on studying the situation in developed markets, since all tools and technologies of modern marketing as an area of management were created and developed in developed market economies. As a rule, intercountry comparisons also use the models, technologies and indicators designed for developed markets. Professor Sheth’s article is dedicated to the analysis of the differences between developed and emerging markets and rejects using the same tools and technologies for different situations. In other words, the author says that it is necessary to reconsider the positions of some managerial disciplines in order to either develop new, or adjust existing, concepts and tools before applying them to emerging and developing markets. This article not only provoked a lively response in the academic community and fervent discussion but also outlined a trajectory of growing interest within the international community to the mechanisms of administration in emerging markets. In fact, it sets not only academic but important applied tasks and leads to a radical reconsideration of some paradigms which lie at the basis of modern management theories. Unlike India and China, the specifics of Russian marketing is still very poorly represented in international periodicals and conference papers. Our initiative is to bring together marketing researchers in Russia and create a research group for the study of marketing technologies which work or do not work here as well as the specifics and opportunities for application of modern managerial approaches. Obviously this task brings serious organizational and methodological challenges, but we are talking about a long term, promising study. At forthcoming conferences we shall unveil the results of applied studies on non-store forms of trade and direct sales; on the strategies of Finnish firms’ entry to the Russian market and on an analysis of client relationships in Russia.
— Both of you participated in the 4th Annual Academic Conference ‘Modern Management: Problems, Hypotheses, Research’ held in November and organized jointly by the HSE Faculty of Management and the Harvard Business Review Russia journal. What were your impressions of the conference programme and presentations?
W. Johnston: I participated in sessions on business ethics and models of staff retention in large corporations. These sessions were carried out in English. The discussion turned out to be very interesting and was directly related to my research interests. I made a presentation on modern buyer practices and strategies, including the obvious success and development of supply chain management. I think that in the near future the results of this study will be published. During last year’s conference I made a presentation on marketing tools and practices, so my presentation this year was a kind of ‘view from the other side’. Of course, the plenary session was very interesting. The speech by Tenured Professor Igor Gurkov on the specifics of innovation in Russian industry sounded rather provocative. Olga Tretyak delivered a presentation on the sphere of distance (non-store) trade and incentives for its growth: I was impressed with the pace of growth of internet sales and the results of her study which are related to the formation of self-administration mechanisms in this sphere.
— What are your immediate plans? When will you next visit Russia?
W. Johnston: In June I am planning to visit Finland and on the way back I would like to participate with my HSE colleagues in an international conference on network forms of organization at Saint Petersburg State University.
O. Tretyak: In fact, this conference was initiated by sociologists from the Saint Petersburg State University, but our colleagues asked me to organize and head the session on network forms of business organization. And my partners for the session will be professors Wesley Johnston and Christopher Meller from Aalto University (Finland). And we are currently coordinating a joint concept and selecting papers for this conference
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service
Marina Yurievna Sheresheva
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