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Posts Tagged ‘Agility’

The AMC framework: assessing marketing agility in the tourism industry


Image source: Jason Goodman | Unsplash

Marketing capabilities reflect how organizations enhance their ability to learn and leverage the market to respond to customer changes accurately and efficiently. Various stakeholder expectations have to be fulfilled, and the need to constantly be responsive to internal and external stimuli makes it even more difficult to direct organizations’ marketing efforts. Indeed, to adapt to changing conditions rapidly, tourist marketers are forced to be more agile and capable of reacting quickly and easily to market changes.

In 2018, in the study “Towards the Development of an Agile Marketing Capability,“ researchers Ludovica Moi, Francesca Cabiddu, and Moreno Frau defined agile marketing as a new marketing management approach based on practical learning and aimed at breaking the rigidity of traditional marketing. In particular, marketing encourages teams to work together on a common goal centered on customer needs and regularly checks for weak or unnecessary steps to adjust and optimize operations accordingly. Hence, agile marketing drives greater customer interaction and value, greater speed to market demand, and greater ability to adapt to changes as they occur, based on the paper “From fragile to agile: marketing as a key driver of entrepreneurial internationalization” conducted by Birgit Hagen, Antonella Zucchella, and Pervez Nasim Ghauri in the same year.

This article will discuss agility and marketing capabilities by providing the recently conceptualized Agile Marketing Capability (AMC) framework. The discussion describes how firms may differ in the development and management of AMC through the identification of different maturity levels where maturity refers to the state of being ready. It explains how tourism marketing managers and practitioners could become more agile in their marketing capabilities, providing a useful tool to assess a firm’s current state of each capability maturity and to quickly grasp potential initiatives for improvement and enabling adaptation to a dynamic fast-changing environment especially in the context of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) tourism, which comprises a large network of hospitality-related services such as accommodations, catering services, and transportation. 

MICE represents a highly dynamic sector involved in a continuous exchange and allocation of resources and relationships for planning events to address and satisfy a variety of requests and needs where marketing efforts should be designed according to the variety of attendees so that their objectives and requirements are properly met.

The Emergence of the AMC Framework

According to the study “Investigating firm’s customer agility and firm performance: The importance of aligning sense and response capabilities” conducted in 2012, Nicholas Roberts and Varun Grover defined agility in the marketing field as the extent to which the company can predict and rapidly adapt to customer-based opportunities for innovation and improvement action. Therefore, marketing agility refers to being responsive to constantly changing customers’ expectations and needs and becoming flexible in designing objectives and allocating resources accordingly. 

Based on “International marketing agility: conceptualization and research agenda” led by Emanuel Gomes in 2019, marketing agility is the firm’s ability to reconfigure its marketing efforts at short notice, adapt to changing market conditions quickly, and fulfill market needs more effectively.

Despite the growing importance of agility in the marketing field, the mainstream strategy could not address agility properly in the context of corporate marketing capabilities. Early studies analyzed marketing capabilities from the resource-based view (RBV) perspective, assuming a static and internally driven approach. Over time, the 2011research “Closing the Marketing Capabilities Gap” conducted by George Day began to be questioned because of its inability to adapt to a fast-changing business context.

Therefore, a new approach has emerged to aid in the development of new marketing capabilities to be able to grasp the firm’s capacity to sense the market and to look for different ways to reconfigure available resources accordingly. This led to the conceptualization of a different set of marketing capabilities oriented to more open and adaptive paths to fast-changing contexts. AMC Framework contributes by embedding agility that is better suited to align with the urgent need for the tourism industry to transform its business in a time of environmental turbulence.

Applying the AMC Framework

Held in 2019, the research study led by Emanuel Gomes alongside Carlos M.P. Sousa and Ferran Vendrell-Herrero defined AMC as the firm’s marketing capability to (1) constantly sense and respond to changes related to customer needs and requests; (2) follow an adaptive and flexible approach in dealing with changes; (3) create close work relationships among people and a collaborative working environment; and (4) continuously and quickly adjust and deliver new marketing plans (see Table 1).Those capabilities can be assessed through four maturity levels (see Table 2).

The AMC framework offers practical guidance on what strategic actions are needed for the implementation, development, and enhancement of agile marketing capabilities. Therefore, AMC could be used as a tool to assess the current state of maturity level in the development of the capabilities and to understand how to move through each maturity level, accurately implement improvement actions, and enable high-performance marketing. 

Moreover, the framework can also support marketing managers in benchmarking and evaluating best practices across the tourism industry, improving marketing performance and being more adaptive to the changes in the market.

Tourism managers can use the AMC checklist for auditing how well their organization is implementing marketing agility and creating an action plan to achieve a higher level of maturity. Tourism firms can have a practical guideline to boost marketing capabilities by referring to the agile marketing capability maturity framework.

If you are interested in exploring more about maturity models that support organizations to achieve business excellence, check out The Global Performance Audit Unit’s Integrated Performance Maturity Model. For inquiries, contact Cristina Mihăiloaie, Business Unit Manager – Research Division at The KPI Institute: [email protected] | +61 (390) 282 223

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the 23rd edition of Performance Magazine Printed Edition.

The VUCA world and Agility that need HRM support


The Great Depression of 1929-39, the OPEC oil price shock in 1973, the Asian credit crisis in 1997, and the Great Recession of 2007-08 — these are just some of the most distressing downturns in economic history, and the current pandemic is adding to this list. Apart from these crises, businesses — however small or big — are continuously struggling with the ever-evolving technology. Companies need to deal with disruptive innovations, dynamic consumer likings, pricing, quality, and a high degree of satisfaction in user experience. Such risks arising out of unpredicted conditions coupled with traditional trade risks put a business on tenterhooks with the obvious threat of going into oblivion and give them no choice but to strive for excellence and agility to survive.

The dictionary meaning of agility is quickness, dexterity, alertness, swiftness, responsiveness. While there isn’t a single comprehensive definition vetted by everyone, some authors defined agility as one of the key organizational characteristics that need to be mastered to stay adaptive and competitive in turbulent markets. In the context of the current pandemic and the uncertainty it brings, it calls for an organizational response to the unproductive environment and the ability to convert threats into opportunities. However, the concept of agility was mainly associated with manufacturing industries that too around managing demand-supply variation. 

To cope up with a turbulent environment, organizations should have the ability to anticipate the direction and degree of change in a proactive manner. As such, organizational structures should be designed so that they permit greater agility, through flexible response. Enablers like leadership, strategy, people, and business processes play an important role in developing organizational agility. These enablers need to work in cohesion to enhance the agile components of the organization. 

The prevailing VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) conditions trigger dynamic and continuously changing environments, impacting the organizations. As a response, organizations need to develop the ability to innovate and acquire new knowledge so as to achieve agility for survival. The strategy around flexible HRM empowers organizations or firms to respond to external customers, competitive positions, technology selection and dissemination, creativity, and cycle time reduction. The focus in this paper is on the intangible resource (i.e. human resource) and the important flexibility dimensions of human resource management (HRM).

HRM strategy on agility

The HRM strategy should support reactive agility (organization’s responsiveness), proactive agility (organization’s effectiveness), and innovative agility (organization’s resourcefulness). HRM strategy is required to support the ever-dynamic market so that organizations can respond and achieve decent performance. Organizations paying attention to the HR strategy have been proved more profitable than others.  

The key attributes of agility in an organization that HRM should try to focus on and promote in the organization through key leaders are tabulated below. This is not a comprehensive list but can be developed depending upon the organization. As a next step, one should have measures in place around these attributes so that agility can be assessed if not measured. All key frameworks like BEM/EFQM, CMMI, or BSC aim at providing resilience to organizations; therefore, while developing any such framework these attributes can be guiding points.

Image source: The KPI Institute

The challenge to organizations today is how to imbibe and implement agility drivers and later how to judge the organization’s agility. One possible approach is to develop an agility maturity model in line with a capability maturity model in template form. The template itself needs to be dynamic and able to change with environmental factors. The table above is just guidance to look around such agility drivers so that it can be helpful in developing the template. 

Strategic HR plays an important part to ensure that the people in the organization understand and support such agility adoption. In fact, the versatility and the adaptive skills of a person are assessed even as early as the talent acquisition stage as this is an important dimension when recruiting an individual into the organization. The employees’ performance management system (PMS) developed by HR should pay greater attention to agility factors in a person rather than just task accomplishment levels. To conclude, understanding and navigating the complex eco-system in which organizations operate is crucial; at the same time, HR should play a bigger role in developing an agile workforce that can’t be just left to line functions.


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