Graduate School

Marketing Considerations

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is Habit 5 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and in my opinion, this one simple statement sums up Marketing. Seek first to understand your customer, understand their needs and wants. Understanding the cultural-differences, government and political polices and how they relate to your company and products. Understand how they want to communicate whether it is in person or via a mass media outlet. Understand your products and determine how a customer might incorporate it in to their daily lives to the point of necessity; can you say iPhone! If marketing managers take the time to understand the marketplace, delivering a marketing campaign “to be understood” will be far more successful. In the words of Harvard Business School’s emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt, "Marketing views the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs."

Understanding the marketplace and all of the various nuances domestically is easy in comparison to understanding the marketplace internationally. According to Professor Jagdish Sheth of Emory University, “Almost all organizations began initially as domestically oriented firms. As they grew, and as the markets for their good and services expanded, organizations tended to evolve from their initial structures and operations on a replicative basis.” (Schultz & Kitchen, 2000). Organizations that partake in these types of activities are referred to as Multidomestic Organizations.

The transition to becoming a full integrated global company is a multi-step process, however during my reading, I discovered that most companies merely chose to establish an entirely new company in the region thus making it a domestic entity an avoid creating a global company. No matter, which route a company chooses, understanding is the key to a successful marking plan but if marketing managers do not take the time to understand the “Buyer” how can “Sellers” assume they will be understood.

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Processes for a Multicultural Organization

“Multicultural Organization: Where employees of varied backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and experiences can contribute freely, and achieve their individual potentials for their own and their organization’s benefit.” (

As I agonized, to find an example of a multicultural organization I thought about FedEx, Exxon, Toyota, McDonalds and the great successes they have had globally with establishment of international processes on manufacturing and achieving global brand-name recognition. I then, realized I was part of the biggest multicultural organization in the world, the United States Military (Army to be specific). The Military starts with a strategic plan designed by the Command Staff, then utilize defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) integrates these procedures across the entire organization to accomplish the objective.

Another example is my current employer, Bally Technologies a multicultural organization with offices in the US, India, France and Argentina just to name a few. We have a diverse team of employees and understanding all of the various cultural differences requires clear and concise Human Resource processes. While doing additional reading I came across an article from where they outlined the five steps to maintaining a successful multicultural retention strategy.

  • Walk the talk.
  • Develop diversity-friendly programs and support initiatives.
  • Tap diverse candidates for leadership training and development.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Make your commitment to diversity a selling point.

I will not go in to detail on each bullet point, but when I examined this list, I found similarities to our existing corporate policies. We have international processes around manufacturing, shipping, and quality control that focus not only on processes but also on the cultural and legal impacts within each region. As with any multicultural organization, the need for well-defined processes is paramount to the successful integration of said processes.

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Importance of having Strategic Direction

“Begin with the End in Mind”. This is habit 2 from Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and although this does not really answer the questions I do feel it is relevant. Knowing where you want to be will help define the path to get there; in life and business.

Having a strategic direction or vision is paramount to the success of any organization in a global market. If a company, business unit or individual wants to be successful they must visualize success, devise a plan to achieve success and move towards success with purpose; failure to have a strategic direction leaves a company wandering mindlessly as so many of them do. That being said, some companies are successful in spite of themselves through either a niche market or buyer demand. Also, simply having a vision does not guarantee success and Management may succumb to the challenges of implementing its vision, however the chances of success are greatly improved with a vision than without.

To more fully understand the steps involved in creating a global plan I found the following: According to Ball, McCulloch, Frantz, Geringer, & Minor, 2006, the global strategic planning process involves these steps:

  1. Analyzing external environment
  2. Analyzing internal environment
  3. Defining the business and its mission statements
  4. Setting corporate objectives
  5. Quantifying goals
  6. Formulating strategies
  7. Making tactical plans


The take-away from my reading was this. In order to have a complete Global Corporate Vision, Management must exam the global market space for existing competitors, review local laws and regulations, understand the regional culture and work ethics, create obtainable short and long term goals and finally be prepared to reevaluate as the business climate changes.

School Starts!

I begin my MBA program on Monday June 7th, 2010.  As the date draws closer I wish I had more time before I started.  I have several projects happening at work that require my attention such as a Data Center migration, Exchange 2010 migrations, Altiris 7.0 implementation, Symantec EndPoint Protection rollout and that is just my list for June/July

I realize that if I never start my MBA I will never finish it so I will just need to knuckle down and make time to study.  Let the fun begin!

Why go back to school for a MBA?


Money:  Money is probably the first thing that comes to mind as a reason to become more educated.  Sadly, in today’s economic situation money is the least likely reward for obtaining a graduate degree.

So if money is not the reason then what is?

Promotion: Receiving a promotion at work might be a good reason; if one is even available.  However, most  companies will not give you a promotion simply because you have earned a MBA.

So if more money or a promotion is not the reason to go back to school, then what is?

Personal Goals:  Bingo!  This is my primary reason for going back to school for a MBA.   After much internal debate I decided that obtaining a MBA with a concentration on Information Technology Management would give me the necessary skills to fulfill my Personal Goals, which I will detail at a later time. 

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