In "What Strategy Is Not" in the MIT Sloan Management Review
, John G. Singer, principal of Blue Spoon Consulting, Minneapolis, provides some fresh thinking on the subject of strategy. What strategy is not, he says, is technology, the internet or spin, and, he says, true strategy has a human dimension. Singling out pharmaceutical marketers -- topical, given the recent Vytorin study
-- he argues that strategy must be considered holistically: "There is a heavy price to pay for mistaking components of strategy for strategy itself, or misreading the strategic effect of components. The pharmaceutical industry, for example, is going through a process of profound transformation and intense negative reaction to its marketing activities. Part of the reason for that has been the lack of strategic thinking around the deployment of direct-to-consumer advertising. While claims can be made for the business value of DTC at a tactical level, the strategic effect of spending nearly $5 billion a year on consumer promotion of prescription medicine has been to open the industry to scrutiny and sanction. Nearly every major drug company active in the United States is facing multiple federal and state investigations into its business practices. Tactical success does not necessarily yield successful strategic performance."