EME 805
Renewable Energy and Non-Market Enterprise

8.2 Nonmarket Strategy Development


8.2 Nonmarket Strategy Development

Beyond Entrenched Positions

It’s important to see that nonmarket strategies rely on working beyond entrenched positions, such as those occupied by lobbyists. You can consider well-established lobbyists and politicians to be part of relatively predictable market forces. You need to be a big player to work at this level. However, appealing directly to a local or regional customer base does not require working through the political system. Better yet, working directly to address needs presented by potential customers would be a better approach to designing a nonmarket strategy than putting huge amounts of money into lobbying. It comes down to what kind of company you are in. Does the organization need to mitigate or remediate how it is perceived because of ever-present externalities? Does the organization try to do less harm and donate some proceeds to good causes? Does the organization design solutions to significant sociotechnical problems? In terms of the Art of War analogy... the long-term competitive advantage comes less in winning a battle between firms than it does from understanding how to keep customers from getting restless during times of peace and plenty.

David Baron, in the Forward (p. xxi) to “The Routledge Companion to Non-Market Strategies” (2015) notes that non-market strategies serve from a list of five basic purposes:
  • Rent seeking (continuation of a favorable government policy).
  • Unlocking opportunities (tearing down an industry regulation).
  • Defense (against rivals, NGO criticism, directives).
  • Attracting customers (finding a premium spot in environmental protection, or social justice, for example).
  • Strengthening reputation, trust, legitimacy.

While non-market strategies are not directly concerned with increasing profits, they are concerned with holding on to and/or increasing overall share of the market as well as increasing the overall quality of the market in which they operate. 

Project Targets and Resources

This week, you will be focusing on developing focused nonmarket campaigns for your final projects. Complete the Nonmarket Resources Overview matrix first, and then complete the Single Target Focused Campaign matrix. The idea would be to complete one of the Single Target Focused Campaign matrices for each of your three targets, but completing it only for your top target is all I expect for this week. This may not make sense at the moment, but it should. Post to the discussion forum if you have any questions. 

Beginning with the Lesson 8 assignment, you should be focusing on the topic for your final project, which is a nonmarket campaign for a renewable energy topic. The Nonmarket Resources Overview matrix should be completed first. This will give you a chance to explore three possible targets, then, pick the one you think is the strongest for the Single Target Focused Campaigns matrix. Keep the other two in mind, and you may want to use those later.

You want to take an applied professional approach to this assignment. If you are working for a firm, organization, company, etc., think about a renewable energy project you would like to implement. This project could be the development of a new project site; a new application of existing technologies; moving a sector into using more renewables; etc. Last year, a student completed a great project on moving the commercial aviation industry to using more biofuels. The more applied your target is, the easier it will be to describe details.

Your final project will be in the form of a policy brief. All assignments from Lesson 8 through 12 will be used in support of your final projects. So, the more you are able to research now for your assignments, the more materials you will have for your projects.

Nonmarket Overview Resources Matrix

Nonmarket strategies depend upon knowing what resources to deploy in a given arena at a time that is advantageous to achieving a target or addressing an issue. First, define the target as distinctly as possible. The target can be a goal to achieve, issue to address, the opportunity to open-up, or a situation to be avoided. Here you will define three targets and list the corresponding resources. The more specific the target, the more specific the strategy can be. One can also use this to break one main issue into sub-issues. Use the following to develop a list of resources that can be deployed in the implementation of a nonmarket strategy. This is mainly a scoping exercise, which can be later used to drill down further into each resource.

Nonmarket resources Overview
Important Areas to explore First issue or target to address Second issue or target to address Third issue or target to address
Information resources: what kind of information is needed? Where can you get this information?
Coalitionals, organizations, advocacy groups, lobbies: Are significant interest groups in the arena? Who has power?
Consistency: Is the message or engagement dependable to users? What are challenges to remaining consistent?
Uncertainty: What are the explicit unknowns? What happens if uncertainty becomes certainty? Can more information help?
Values and Ethics: Professional responsibilities? Broader impacts? Embedded ethics? Social justice?

Single Target Focused Campaigns Matrix

Nonmarket strategies operate in competitive arenas. A nonmarket strategy can have multiple targeted outcomes, while nonmarket campaigns should be focused on achieving a single target. Keeping a campaign focused on a single target makes it easier to analyze, manage and provide a consistent analytical framework over time. Fill one of these out for every target a nonmarket strategy would need a campaign for. You cannot choose to focus on each and every issue, resources are limited and decisions need to be made. Choose your target based on a specific outcome you wish to achieve. Specificity matters here, particularly in the capacity to measure progress toward the target.

Single Target Focused Campaigns
Campaign Boundaries What is the issue to be addressed? (Target) Who are the actors?
  • Does the issue significantly impact the enterprise?
  • What is the position of the enterprise on the issue?
  • Who has a significant interest in the issue?
  • Who has a direct stake in the issue?
Campaign Contexts What are the actors' interests in the issue? In what arenas' do the actors meet?
  • What motivates actors to action?
  • How crucial to actors is what they hope to achieve?
  • How homogenous are the actors or organization?
  • What are the forums of action?
  • Public/Private? What are norms of interaction?
Campaign resources What information moves the issue and speaks to interests? What assets do actors need to prevail in the arena?
  • What facts, data, analysis, research testimony, or model would motivate the actors towards a target outcome?
  • What is the confidence in the information?
  • What resources are needed by which actors and when are they needed?