Competing assessments of market-driven, sustainability-centered, and stakeholder-focused approaches to the customer-brand relationships and performance

Academic Article


  • For over two decades, marketing strategy has centered on the importance of being primarily market-driven to achieve superior customer-brand relationships and firm performance. However, changes in the business environment have prompted some organizations to embrace newer approaches to marketing strategy development, such as being sustainability-centered or stakeholder-focused. Using a competing analysis framework, we assess the marketing performance implications of these three approaches to marketing strategy development (i.e., market-driven, sustainability-centered, and stakeholder-focused) while accounting for other firm and industry effects. The hypotheses are tested using secondary data involving 1716 firms over a four-year period. The results indicate that, in general, placing more emphasis on a broad set of stakeholders (i.e., customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, communities, and regulators) when developing marketing strategy is more important in achieving superior performance than is engaging in market-driven or sustainability-centered efforts. These findings support previous research that social responsibility associated with a stakeholder-focused strategy has a positive impact on customer-brand relationships resulting in performance. The results also indicate that distinctive marketing strategies exist among tangible product firms, service firms, low/stable tech firms, and high-tech firms.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mena JA; Hult GTM; Ferrell OC; Zhang Y
  • Start Page

  • 531
  • End Page

  • 543
  • Volume

  • 95