Trajectories and twists: perspectives on marketing agility from emerging markets

Hughes, N and Chandy, R (2021) Trajectories and twists: perspectives on marketing agility from emerging markets. Journal of Marketing, 85 (1). pp. 59-63. ISSN 0022-2429 OPEN ACCESS


Age-old ways of making marketing decisions—caricatured by annual plans, quarterly reports, and inflation-adjusted budgets—are being questioned today, and new, agile, and presumably more effective approaches are being pitched and embraced (see Brown and Eisenhardt 1998; Reis 2011). So it feels timely and right to focus on marketing agility as a research subject, especially as markets are changing dramatically and technology allows us to radically change the way we develop and market products and services. Given this reality, Kalaignanam et al. (2021, hereinafter Kalaignanam et al.) provide a valuable contribution to the field by offering a precise definition of a concept that is—like many concepts that attain buzzword status—too often fuzzily defined and loosely framed. By differentiating marketing agility from other related concepts and highlighting some its drivers and boundary conditions, they have also provided a means for practitioners to think clearly and comprehensively about the concept and to benefit from the insights of others who have implemented the idea. In this commentary, we offer a perspective on Kalaignanam et al. by focusing on digital products in emerging markets. Why? Because just as automakers developing new vehicles assess their robustness and durability in extreme conditions of heat and cold, we aim to assess the robustness and durability of the Kalaignanam et al. perspective on marketing agility in extreme conditions of uncertainty and change. Digital products and emerging markets, for reasons we argue subsequently, represent such extreme conditions in which to assess the idea of marketing agility. Those making decisions in extreme conditions can serve as—to use the memorable phrase of Keynes (1932)—the “advance guard” for others seeking to make agile decisions in periods of great change. Having witnessed and (in the case of Nick Hughes) participated in the dramatic growth of digital products and services in Africa and Asia, we hope to contribute a perspective on marketing agility that assesses and complements Kalaignanam et al.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Marketing
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© 2021 American Marketing Association. Re-use of this article is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.

This commentary is a companion piece to “Marketing Agility: The Concept, Antecedents, and a Research Agenda,” part of the JM-MSI Special Issue on “From Marketing Priorities to Research Agendas,” edited by John A. Deighton, Carl F. Mela, and Christine Moorman.

A list of articles and commentaries appearing in the Special Issue can be found at

Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 16:54
Date of first compliant deposit: 11 Mar 2021
Subjects: Digital enterprises
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2022 01:33

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