Positioning and life cycle stages in the UK services industry
This study aims to contribute to the advancement of knowledge within the domain of strategic marketing, and more specifically positioning of services. In particular this research stems from an attempt to overcome the limitations of existing positioning typologies and models and the fact that current research on the subject matter fails to reflect the sequential nature of considerations related to the management of the positioning process. Consequently, the basic aim of this research is the development of a comprehensive framework that incorporates the various decisions and activities associated with the management of positioning and the generation of managerial guidelines, for the UK services industry. Following an extensive literature review, a conceptual framework that represents a synthesis of existing positioning models is proposed. Following the development of generic positioning strategies, the model is applied in the UK plastic card sector. As a result, a number of propositions are tested and managerial recommendations are put forward. Overall, this research makes the following theoretical, methodological and managerial contributions to the theory and practice of positioning activities within the plastic card services domain. Theoretical Contributions: This thesis offers a comprehensive positioning framework which could form the basis of further investigation into the subject matter. More specifically, the following theoretical contributions to the study of positioning have been made: This thesis has attempted to examine the varying descriptions attributed to the concept and as a result has clarified the concept and suggested three main themes (i.e. perspectives, key issues and dimensions) underpinning the concept. This research has put forward an empirically supported comprehensive positioning model. Methodological Contributions: This research has developed and validated a generic, consumer derived typology of positioning strategies. Operationalisation of positioning aim(s), objective(s) and the determination of LCS have been offered. An analytical procedure suitable for determining congruence between successive phases of the proposed model has been developed. The operationalisation of LCS in the model has been expanded in terms of additional dimensions. Managerial Contributions: This research has provided a set of clearly defined, managerial guidelines that practitioners can use when attempting to apply the concept of positioning.