Hype Cycle Winners and Losers

You always pass failure on the way to success.

—Mickey Rooney


So responded the marketing director of the independent British grocery chain Safeway in July 1999 when he learned that he would report henceforth to the COO, not the CEO, of his company. It wasn’t pride that motivated Roger Partington to leave but the deeper meaning of the change. In demoting his role, Safeway was in effect abandoning the direction he had been hired to pursue six years earlier as Safeway’s chief marketing officer.

Trained in marketing at Unilever, Partington had brought to Safeway something unusual in the grocery business: a focus on customer-facing strategy, brand management, and other basic aspects ...

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