Methodology/Approach: A conceptual approach is taken; trying to provide an understanding of the long-term changings that took place in the firm-marketplace relationship in its first part; and to raise some relevant issues about the evolution to come in is second part.
Findings: In the firm-marketplace relationship evolution five significant stages are to be found: product and selling orientation; marketing orientation; total quality management; one-to-one/relationship marketing; experience economy.
So; if one looks retrospectively and on the whole at the evolution occurred in the above mentioned relationship through the different stages; itâs quite easy to realize that a shift took place from:
- mass to individual as supplyâs addressee
- unsatisfied needs to sensations to be felt as customerâs end
- goods and things to services and experiences as transactionâs core in a context of ever growing supplyâs quantity; variety; quality and accessibility.
As a matter of fact; it seems really hard to imagine for almost any product a more plentiful marketplace; a greater choice among alternative offers; a superior technical performance; an easier purchase availability; a higher customization; a stronger perceived utility and satisfaction.
As long as such analysis proves right; itâs quite logical to conclude that the ongoing paradigm has reached its possible maximum outcome. If so; it becomes reasonable to hypothesize the rising of a new paradigm in the firm-marketplace relationship; considerably different from the actual one.
(Not) to conclude; some insightful questions for discussion and future research could be:
- how much frequent is a product shortage situation?
- what can be productsâ quality level?
- is it harder to choose because of too many alternatives or too little ones?
- what can be there beyond a brand able to provide even love?
- how come business ethics and corporate social responsibility are so popular topics of discussion today both among academics and practitioners?
- how come consumption-wellbeing relationship; happiness or; better; happiness paradox are getting more and more attention nowadays?
- how can simplicity-oriented lifestyle choices and growing number of anti-business movements be explained?
- are there any weak signals of innovative firm behaviour detectable?
- what is the direction such changings are pointing to?
Originality/Value: The paper tries to take in and to relate to the managerial field some broad issues often discussed in civil; social and economic realm. While firms are deeply involved in the actual state of capitalism and society at large; it seems no equivalent contribution has been made by management scholars in order to find a more suitable role for the firm.
Keywords: Firm-marketplace relationship; evolution; paradigm shift; new firm models
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