The Dynamics of Market Orientation in the French Telecommunication Industry, 1963-1998

  • Patrick Luciano Business Administration, Université Paris-Dauphine, France
  • Pierre Volle niversité Paris-Dauphine, France Dauphine Research in Management (UMR CNRS 7088)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the development of market orientation in the French telecommunication industry. We question why and how market orientation has been implemented between 1963 and 1998, a period during which many marketing practices emerged and flourished such as market and customer research, segmentation and positioning, retailing and

Design/methodology/approach – Our investigation reveals three main periods: the early modern period of the telephone and the emergence of marketing practices (1963-1973); the growth of marketing practices in a context of a large telephone development plan (1974-1986); the faster implementation of marketing practices in a context of the telecommunication industry deregulation

Findings – Marketing practices in the French telecommunication industry have evolved considerably between 1963 and 1998: more sophisticated market and customer research activities; greater customer intimacy through retailing and advertising; progressive differentiation of the business market from the residential markets; cultural shift, from a culture of technical quality to a culture of customer satisfaction; the emergence of a marketing function, with dedicated resources and capabilities; American influences on marketing practices, through market research companies and business study

Research limitations/implications – This exploratory paper focuses on the French telecommunication industry between 1963 and 1998, and analyzes only broad activities, events, and trends.

Originality/value – Our research contributes to the literature on market orientation in three ways: the nature of market orientation; the critical role of external factors in the cultural shift from a product to a
customer orientation; the specific steps and activities leading progressively to a greater market orientation. We also contribute to a growing body of industry-specific marketing histories and to the history of one of the main economic sectors in developed countries, the telecommunication industry.


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