[hal-03346331] Emerging market orientation: advertising and promotion in the French telecommunications sector: 1952-2002

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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze the level and forms of advertising in the French telecommunications sector between 1952 and 2002 in order to understand the transformation of the leading organization in the sector and its succesful adoption of increasingly sophisticated practices. The context of increased market orientation is examined to investigate how such practices emerge. Design/methodology/approach Extensive historical study of primary source material and secondary sources was conducted to develop acomparison of three eras. For each era, major changes in relation to advertising and promotional practices are identified along with key contextual elements to understand the relative importance of internal or external influences on the adoption of market-oriented practices. Findings Initially, advertising and promotional practices studied were introduced gradually within the state-run organization (1952–1973). They subsequently became increasingly important and systematic (1974–1985) before finally becoming those of a modern organization (1986–2002) in the competitive sphere. In addition to single institutional messages aimed at either consumer or business markets, more abstract forms of communication were used over time and publicity was increasingly targeted at different segments.The French telecommunications sector was aware of the necessity to engage in advertising and promotional activities prior to the existence of competition in its main consumer market. Adoption of such customer-oriented practices was more pronounced initially in the business segment. Advertising and promotional activities to consumers became increasingly significant as the administration modernized and developed innovative services. This growth in promotion and in its sophistication accelerated within the new competitive environment following deregulation and, in particular, with the growth of the mobile sector. Both the external environment and internal organizational transformations thus need to be taken into account when analyzing growing adoption of advertising and promotion. Originality/value This systematic study of the introduction of advertising and promotional practices in the French telecommunications sector highlights how public organizations can introduce practices linked to market orientation. In the organization studied, the fact that increased advertising and promotional activity was driven by organizational transformation in the second of the three eras studied indicates the importance of investigating internal influences and external factors such as competition.