Competitive marketing strategy : a study of Japanese firms' competitive performance in the British market
While, Japanese marketing strategies in world markets have attracted much attention in international business circles, they have received only secondary attention from researchers. Indeed, most studies into the competitive behaviour of Japanese firms have not identified marketing as a particularly significant factor in accounting for their overall success. By default, therefore, researchers have failed to provide information and insight into an area which is recognised as crucial to efficient performance. The aim of this study was to gain an insight into the role marketing plays in affecting the competitive position of Japanese firms in the British market. In particular, the research focused on the overall approach of Japanese companies to the marketplace, the process by which they identify and bring products to the market and their view towards the 1992 single European market. Care has been taken in describing and explaining the competitive behaviour of Japan's companies in order t o achieve a fair analysis of the contribution of marketing to their overall strategy. In doing so, it is hoped that a more analytic and less subjective outcome will be of value and interest to the Western business community. Based upon the literature review which documented the positive role of marketing in competitive success, analysed the factors that contributed to Japan's success in world markets and highlighted the specific role played by Japanese marketing strategies in achieving such results, a set of hypotheses were developed and tested. The field research was carried out during October/November 1989 following a series of five personal interviews with managing directors and senior marketing staff in August 1989 to pilot test the questionnaire. Questionnaires were despatched addressed in person to the managing directors of Japanese companies operating in Britain. The subsequent analysis is based upon a total sample of 57 companies operating in the U. K. -a substantial proportion of the total (63%). The broad findings emerging from this research present few surprises. Japanese companies do not seem to suffer from a 'sales orientation', 'production orientation' or 'finance orientation' as opposed to a marketing orientation. The in-roads being made into the British market are based by and large on a strategy aimed at satisfying customer needs and wants. Japanese companies saw their strengths in placing emphasis on research and engineering and bringing the right product to the market quickly and decisively. As far as 1992 is concerned, Japanese companies indicate that they will be fighting aggressively to hold onto their market share. They also anticipate increased competition coupled with a necessity to know and serve the market better.