Understanding markets (and not just marketing) is vital to competitive success, as is being able to recognize what the company must do corporately to develop its ability to compete in markets. The company’s products and services must be put into the context of the market rather than the company seeking to put the market into the context of the company and its products and services, according to Malcolm Morley in his book Understanding Markets and Strategy: How to Exploit Markets for Sustainable Business Growth.
The book aims to help senior managers understand markets so that marketing strategies can be developed in context, and investments in products, services and marketing can be pursued with real prospects for success in practice. The author starts with basic concepts such as the definition of a market and progresses through market segmentation and different types of market scenarios to strategy, competition and making strategic choices.
Each of the 16 chapters concludes with a set of “practitioner’s tips” relating to key concepts from the chapter and a set of “practitioner’s questions”. I suspect that most readers tend to skip the questions at the end of chapters, but the real value in this book probably lies in a management team finding the questions which are relevant to their situation and then spending time working out detailed answers.
Readers with previous strategy experience may find the opening chapters too basic, and the author has not proposed any radically new ways of formulating business strategy, but the book does provide a clear and well-structured overview of the subject.