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Marketing, Its Scope, Philosophical Foundations and Needed Reforms

  • Aim and Methodology of the Study

This study is all about marketing. It has three purposes;

  • Analyzing the nature and scope of marketing
  • Examining debates regarding philosophical foundations in marketing
  • Determining whether marketing needs reform or not.

Study will begin dealing with different approaches about nature and scope of marketing. In the following part, philosophical debates in marketing’s and philosophy’s of science literature will be presented. At the last part of the study, ideas of different scholars regarding marketing and whether it needs reform or not will presented.

  • The Nature and Scope of Marketing

Marketing is in everywhere every time. Human beings are being affected consciously or unconsciously from marketing in their daily life. When they walk on the street, when they eat in a restaurant, when they open TV in their homes, they are all being bombarded by marketing massages.

Definition of marketing has been evolving until today like marketing itself. Since 1935 American Marketing Association (AMA) has launched 4 different definitions of marketing (AMA definition is worldwide accepted definition that is used in books, articles and other publishing.)

AMA definition in 1935: ‘Marketing is the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producers to consumers.’

AMA definition in 1985: ‘Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.’

AMA definition in 2004: ‘Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.’

AMA definition in 2007: ‘Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.’

According to these definitions, it can be told that; nature and scope of marketing has been broadened day by day.

  • In the first definition that was made in 1935, marketing was defined as just an exchange process between buyer and seller.
  • Definition that was made in 1985 divided buyer into 2 as organizational and individual, also mentioned about different tools like concept, price, promotion and distribution that seller can use for marketing its goods and services. (These 4 fundamental concepts of marketing were firstly being asserted by McCarthy in 1960 under the name of ‘Marketing 4P’s and became one of the most cited thought regarding to scope of marketing)
  • In 2004 AMA mentioned about marketing as a mutual benefit process between marketer and customer that starts by creating a value and ends with delivering this value to the customers.
  • Lastly in the latest definition, AMA broadened the concept of marketing and defined marketing as a process that affected the society as a whole.

Despite AMA definitions, different definitions were made by marketers according to different approaches;

Economics approach: ‘Marketing embraces all the business activities involved in getting commodities of all kinds, including services, from the hands of producers and manufacturers into the hands of the final consumers. All the business steps which goods progress on their way to final consumption is the concern of marketing’ (McNair et al. 1975).

Consumer’s (or buyer’s) approach: ‘That process through which a business enterprise, institution, or organization 1. selects target customers or constituents, 2. assesses the needs or wants of such target customers, and 3. manages its resources to satisfy those customer needs or wants’ (Star et al. 1977)

Societal approach: ‘Marketing is the delivery of a standard of living to society.’ (Mazur 1947)

Managerial approach: ‘Marketing is the combination of activities designed to produce profit through ascertaining, creating, stimulating, and satisfying the needs and/or wants of a selected segment of the market.’ (Eldridge 1970)

If all these different definitions from different perspectives are analyzed;

  • Managerial approach concentrates the process of constructing a marketing plan which is supported by qualitative and quantitative research methods. These research methods are known as marketing research which is used by companies to study consumers’ behaviors -that was mentioned in consumer’s approach- and other companies. Major aim of marketing research is to link the buyer and seller with the right product or service. Marketing research can be in both qualitative and quantitative form. Qualitative methods mostly consist of depth interviews and focus groups, quantitative methods mostly consist of observational research, experimentation and survey research (Kanuk and Schiffman, 2010)
  • Societal approach deals with relationships of human beings with each other and with the society.
  • Consumer’s approach is about the needs, wants, perceptions, attitudes and other related psychological factors about human beings.
  • Economics approach mentions about the core subject of marketing which is ‘exchange’

 

  • Philosophy of Science in Marketing Literature

Up until now, marketing literature has hosted number of debates regarding the question whether marketing is a science or not. Marketing academicians have chosen different guiding epistemological and ontological philosophies while they were asserting their ideas about the theoretical foundations of marketing. Different academicians reached the same answer that marketing is a science or marketing is not a science by using different approaches, in other words, although they reached the same destination they had used different vehicles and different routes. When the literature is reviewed; from all of different thoughts about philosophical foundation of marketing science, a debate between two leading philosophical approaches came forward: logical empiricism and relativism.

Logical empiricism was firstly mentioned by Hunt (1983) and for most of academicians it is still the leading philosophical paradigm that dominates academic marketing inquiry.

During 1920s positivism emerged as a philosophy of science in the form of logical positivism (Anderson, 1983). Moritz Schlick led the logical positivism stream (established by a ‘Vienna Circle’ – a group of scientists and philosophers-) and evaluated this approach as the central doctrine for Wittgenstein’s verification theory of meaning (Brown, 1977; Howard and Sheth, 1969; Passmore, 1967). According to verification theory, scientific and non-scientific statements can be differentiated if these statements can be empirically verified or not. Logical positivists believed that universal scientific propositions are true whether they have been verified by empirical tests, since Hume’s ‘problem of induction’ claims that; no finite number of empirical tests can ever guarantee the truth of universal statements (Anderson, 1983; Black, 1967; Brown, 1977; Chalmers, 1976; Hume, 1911). This difficulty was interpreted by Hempel (1965) as ‘inductive inference can never be justified on purely logical grounds’ (Anderson, 1983).

Because of these difficulties, a new version of positivism that is known as ‘logical empiricism’ was being developed by Carnap (1936, 1937). This new type of positivism became the ‘received view’ in philosophy of science for 20 years and it is still dominated the debates about scientific method in marketing. By putting forward logical empiricism;

According to logical empiricists, ‘scientific process begins with the untainted observation of reality and this provides the researcher with his/her image of real world structure from which he/she cognitively generates an a priori model of the process to be investigated. Hypotheses are derived from the model and are subjected to the empirical tests. If the data are in accord with the hypotheses, a confirming instance has been identified. Thus, science progress through the accumulation of multiple confirming instances obtained under a wide variety of circumstances and conditions’ (Anderson 1983, p. 19) and he added that statistical inductive method is used by logical empiricists and by this method science begins with observation and moves along with further observations that are applied for justifying its theories by the help of probabilistic supports.

In his article Anderson concluded his article as relativism should be the philosophical ground for marketing science in contrast to positivism and logical empiricism. From that moment, a group of academicians led by Paul Anderson started to argue that marketing theories should be judged by relativistic criteria (Sheth et al., 1988).

According to Anderson (1983) first of all, theory justification that is dependent on positivism cannot be maintained as a viable description and secondly, there is not a consensus on the nature or existence of a unique scientific method and there is not a demarcation between science and pseudo-science. For these reasons, he claimed that; instead of asking what is the ‘correct’ method, methodologies that will convince the marketing community of the validity of a particular theory should be asked. That’s why, he believed that relativistic approach can be the only viable solution to the problem of scientific method because relativism implies that there are few truly universal standards of scientific adequacy and because of that reason different disciplines use different methodologies.

Anderson’s ideas are supported by different academicians. By expanding ideas that were generated by Thomas Kuhn and Paul Feyerabend, Peter and Olsen (1983) put forward relativism as the proper philosophical domain of marketing science because of their following claims;

  • There is an interaction between researchers which influences each other
  • Each individual researcher has his/her own beliefs and value
  • Like observational data that are used in research process, subjective interpretations of the researcher also important when conduction a research.

When both logical empiricism and relativism are considered, it can be told that;

  • Logical empiricism depends on the scientific method that can be constructed by empirical tests
  • Relativism claims there is not a uniform scientific method that can be accepted by worldwide since there is not a distinct demarcation between science and pseudoscience.

When marketing is evaluated under these two philosophical approaches, it can be told that both of them reached the conclusion that ‘marketing is a science’ but they employed different perspectives. Logical empiricists evaluate marketing as a science since they believe that theory construction in marketing fits with their scientific method. Relativists also evaluate that marketing is a science but they disagree about the ‘unique scientific method’ and claim that marketing can be evaluated as a science by depending on more than one method.

  • Does Marketing Need Reform?

In the previous parts of the study, nature of marketing and philosophical debates in marketing discipline was examined. In this part of the study, an important subject – whether marketing needs reform or not – will be handled. While dealing with this key subject, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) book will be used as guidance.

Sisodia and Sheth (2006) deal with a key question regarding marketing theory and practice which is ‘does marketing need reform?’ In their book they presented several studies from different scholars about marketing, its image, its problems, its context, its stakeholders, its scholarship, its mission, and etc… They started their book by presenting their article ‘Does Marketing Need Reform?’ and then they presented other scholars’ studies in six different parts.

  • In the first part, studies regarding marketing’s image, excess, and resistance problems
  • In the second part, studies regarding marketing’s problems and whether they are self-correcting
  • In the third part, studies regarding marketing’s taboos
  • In the fourth part, studies regarding marketing’s changing context
  • In the fifth part, studies regarding marketing’s stakeholders
  • In the sixth part, studies regarding reforming marketing scholarship
  • In the final part, studies regarding a new mission for marketing are presented.
  • Sisodia and Sheth’s Approach Regarding ‘Does Marketing Need Reform?’

Sisodia and Sheth (2006) claimed that ‘marketing as usual’ is not working anymore, and for this reason fundamental change in thinking is needed to revive. They asserted that marketing has been losing efficiency and effectiveness over time. In other words, Marketing, has managed to ‘do less with more,’ that is relying on a heavy dose of constant sales promotions, while delivering worse results like declining customer satisfaction levels and low customer loyalty levels. They believed that marketing worked well when most customers were young, there were a few national brands and national distribution was limited but, over time, problems started to arise about marketing because of fixating on tricks. These tricks have become useless and the power in the marketplace has shifted to customers.

According to Sisodia and Sheth (2006) marketing practice today is confronting three major types of problems; first, many marketing actions are unethical where the marketer seeks to benefit by taking unfair advantage of the customer. They labeled this problem as ‘unethical marketing.’ Second, they mentioned about some marketing actions which are being exploited by consumers, in other words, consumers take advantage of marketers. They labeled this problem as ‘dumb marketing.’ Lastly they mentioned about marketing actions that benefit neither customers nor companies, and labeled this problem as ‘wasteful marketing.’ They claimed that; marketing has become addicted to these unethical, dumb, and wasteful practices and it is needed to break the addiction, and if companies could eliminate dumb, wasteful, and unethical marketing, there would a significant positive impact on consumers, companies, and society.

Moreover, Sisodia and Sheth (2006) put forward ‘overmarketing’ issue and presented this concept as the cause of many of marketing’s problems because of overadvertise, overpromote, oversell, overclaim, etc… They believed that; although the evidence is pretty strong that societies with high levels of marketing activity are more productive than societies that restrict marketing, more is not necessarily better. According to them, there is no correlation between marketing spending and customer happiness with a company, in other words, when it comes to marketing, it is a matter of doing it right and doing it at the right volume.

Sisodia and Sheth (2006) concluded their study with following statements;

  • What matters is not the quantity of marketing but the quality of marketing.
  • All marketers must struggle for exemplary marketing which is effective, efficient, and ethical.
  • Their aim should be figuring out how to align the interests of the company with those of its customers.
  • Marketing should be seeking desirable outcomes like delighted customers, undamaged societal interests, fair returns to shareholders.
  • Evaluation of Sisodia and Sheth’s Approach

It is totally agreeable that ‘marketing as usual’ is not working anymore. As Sisodia and Sheth asserted; there are several reasons behind that problem, but perhaps the most important one is the evolution of the customers in the marketplace. Today’s customers are not naive and they are covered with millions of choices with millions of applicable information.

Their approach regarding unethical, wasteful and dumb marketing also seems logical because as Hunt (2010) asserted, the marketing’s ultimate aim should be benefitting the whole society and this is only possible with win-win relationships between customers and firms (Sisodia and Sheth evaluated this type of marketing as exemplary marketing)

Most importantly, marketers should be avoiding of ‘overmarketing’ issue in order to re-gain their importance because overmarketing might provide short-term returns but %100 it effects brand image and customers’ trust toward the brand negatively in the long-run. At this point, Sisodia and Sheth’s approach regarding ‘what matters is not the quantity of marketing but the quality of marketing’ is totally dependable.

Lastly, marketing should be seeking ‘right-match’ between customers and firms, and also between customers’ needs and firms’ goals. This perspective will provide desirable outcomes for the firms, customers, all the stakeholders and the society at large.

  • Marketing’s Image; Excess, and Resistance Problems

After putting forward their own ideas regarding whether marketing needs reform or not, in this section; subject about marketing’s three fundamental problems: poor image; excess, and resistance is processed. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Smith tried to examine marketing from consumer perspective in order to find out what do consumers think of today’s marketing practices. Results of his study showed that; majority of consumers that took place in the study believed that; marketing’s image has worsened; marketing activities had gotten out of control. Also Smith advocated that since today’s consumers are savvier and more knowledgeable about marketing tactics, consumers want from marketing precision (%65 of consumers in the study believed that they are bombarded with too much marketing), relevance (%95 of consumers agreed that very little of the marketing to which they are exposed is relevant to them), power (marketers have controlled all of the power, now, consumers want complete control), and reciprocity (consumers want to be rewarded for the time and attention they give to marketing)

Similarly, findings of Sheth, Sisodia, and Barbulescu also supported that marketing’s negative image comes from implementing the same marketing tactics such as telemarketing, junk mail, and pop-up advertising. They claimed that marketing has come this far for several reasons like; rising competition, imitative actions, financial pressures for short-term performance, and harm of technology. In their study they proposed following guidelines;

  • Marketing’s objective function should be constructed as benefiting to customers.
  • Marketing’s language should be reformed and marketers should learn to communicate with customers in a sincere way.
  • Marketing should use today marketing’s poor image as an opportunity to differentiate by addressing customer perceptions
  • Marketers should learn to communicate with women
  • Marketing should focus on alumni relations

In his chapter, Johny Johansson claimed that American marketing is morally bankrupt and he showed three evident for its proposal. First, the products such as fast food, gas-guzzling vehicles, technological products such as computers, cameras, and cell phones which drive demand, not meet demand, second, the promotions which are cluttered and noisy, third, the communications media which allow marketers to reach consumers any time and everywhere led American marketing is morally bankrupt according to Johansson. He believed that three major factors: the competition in globalizing markets, the deregulation and privatization of many industries, and the multicultural diversity found in the United States led this morally bankruptcy. Finally, as a solution, he suggested marketers to shift to a much more educational platform, to help consumers make decisions that work for them, not against them.

In the final chapter Malhotra, Wu, and Allvine tried to put forward empirical evidence to what Johansson and others have claimed. They analyzed savings rate, mounting credit card debt, and all-time-high personal bankruptcies and found out that there is ‘excessive buying’ in America clearly. But they claimed that marketing practices are partially responsible for excessive buying for the following reasons;

  • Easy access to credit cards have pushed many American consumers to purchase what they cannot afford,
  • The U.S. advertising market has expanded in the past two decades
  • The lure of sales promotions

Furthermore, Malhotra, Wu, and Allvine suggested that since current marketing practices have contributed to the growth of excessive buying, marketing need to be reformed by restricting those marketing activities that have undesirable social consequences and implementing marketing activities that improve the welfare of society as a whole. They also claimed that marketing practices should be limited to satisfying consumers’ needs rather than creating needs that are unhealthy or unaffordable (marketing should not convert wants into needs).

  • Evaluation of Chapters Regarding Marketing’s Image; Excess, and Resistance Problems

This section is consisting of conceptual articles that claim marketing’s imagine has been worsened because of excess and resistance problems, and also empirical articles which support this proposal with their findings.

Smith and his empirical approach clearly shows that consumers want precision, relevance, power and reciprocity. To illustrate it in one example, a bank customer doesn’t want to be bombarded with junk e-mails or sms that come from his/her bank (precision), he/she wants to receive campaign offers only about Harvey Nichols (relevance), he/she wants to arrange shape, payment schedule and promotions of his/her credit-card by him/herself (power), lastly, he/she wants to gain an iPhone 4GS because of entering the web-branch of that bank

Sheth, Sisodia, and Barbulescu, and Johny Johansson mentioned about the potential reasons of these image problems. According to Sheth, Sisodia, and Barbulescu, potential reasons are; rising competition, imitative actions, financial pressures for short-term performance, and harm of technology. For Johny Johansson, potential reasons are; the competition in globalizing markets, the deregulation and privatization of many industries. When all of these potential reasons are analyzed, it can be told that there major reasons take the lead; rising competition, misuse of technology and deregulation.

Malhotra, Wu, and Allvine and their empirical study regarding ‘excessive buying’ also show critical facts, but most importantly, it proves that marketing is not the ‘sole criminal’ (if there is a crime in the field???) in this issue. Their findings show that; numbers regarding decreasing saving rates, increasing credit card debt is not solely depend on marketing and its tricks, contrary, these numbers show that marketing is not alone if ‘excessive buying’ is the subject. Here marketing should not be blamed blindfold, but as Malhotra, Wu, and Allvine suggested since current marketing practices have contributed to the growth of excessive buying, marketing need to be reformed by restricting those marketing activities.

Lastly, authors suggested different solutions to overcome this poor image. According to Sisodia, and Barbulescu; marketing’s objective function should benefiting customers. According to Johny Johansson marketers should help consumers make decisions that work for them, not against them. According to Malhotra, Wu, and Allvine, marketing practices should be limited to satisfying consumers’ needs rather than creating needs.

  • Are Marketing’s Problems Self-Correcting?

In this section, subject regarding the ways in reforming marketing is handled. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Firstly, Brown advocated that marketing doesn’t need reform but it needs restraint. He cited Drucker (1954) ‘the practice of management’ study and asserted that according to ‘guru’ Drucker; marketing should be proactive and its purpose should be make things happen. Moreover, Brown claimed that; a bit less marketing would be better because he thought that ‘less is sometimes more’

In the following chapter, Debra Jones Ringold stated that marketing does need reform and it is possible by embracing and enhancing the marketplace with competent consumers and organizations, and recognizing the inherent morality of choice. According to Ringold, this can be achieved by teaching over and over again values such as reciprocity, moral obligation, duty toward community, and trust. Moreover, she believed that these repeated teaching activities should be executed through educational, religious, and familial institutions. She concluded her study by stating that; instead of regulations, teaching activities mentioned above may have a better chance to improve markets by reducing market imperfections such as externalities, information asymmetries, moral hazards, and transaction costs.

In his chapter, Hunt examined the ‘reforming issue’ in his resource-advantage viewpoint and asserted that although more research on macropositive and macronormative issues are needed in marketing, marketing practices and theories are perfectly fine especially when the branding and brand equity are taken into account. He also believed that ‘brand equity’ and ‘branding’ concepts can both provide competitive advantage to the company and also increases consumer welfare within the whole society. He claimed that; brands provide quality control and quality-enhancing, and thus, brand equity strategies provide substantial benefits to market-based economies.

Another scholar Russ Winer believed that; there might be disequilibrium in the market sometimes, but it is temporary, and market forces provide changes that lead equilibrium at these times. He criticized the views about ‘no-innovation’ in the market and gave examples from several companies such as Apple who supply innovative ideas and products to the market instead of ‘me-too’ products and ideas. According to him, marketing people created their own problems because of not-marketing their selves enough within the company which resulted financial people started to lead marketing spending. At this point marketing of marketing within the organization should be improved in order to make marketing financially accountable. Regarding reforming academia, Winer suggested to make academic research more accessible to practitioners.

In the final chapter of this part, Stewart asserted his optimistic ideas regarding marketing in terms of an academic discipline and a management practice. He advocated that; as an academic discipline, marketing has developed an impressive body of empirical data, theoretical constructs, and research methods. As an area of management practice marketing made important strategic contributions which is adopted by other business functions ranging from operations and finance to strategy. In other words, marketing provided managers in other disciplines speak the language of marketing. Because of these positive implications and features of marketing within academia and business, Stewart thought that; marketing does not require reform, but it does need to reinvent itself in order to cope with the business and societal issues of 21st century. According to him, this is possible for marketing by returning to its roots, refocusing on its core – that is the value creation to customers and firm, integrating successful components to contribute firm, the consumer, and society.

  • Evaluation of Chapters Regarding Marketing’s Problem and Whether It Is Self-Correcting

In this chapter various scholars argued whether marketing needs reform or its problems are self-correcting. Brown, Hunt, Winer, and Stewart, believed that marketing doesn’t need reform where Ringold believed that it needs.

Brown claimed marketing needs restraint, a bit less marketing would be better. Stewart believed that marketing needs to reinvent itself for the new business and societal issues of 21st century which is possible by refocusing on the value creation to customers, firm, and society. Russ Winer believed there might be disequilibrium in the market sometimes, but market forces provide equilibrium at these times. These three authors suggested that marketing doesn’t need reform but it needs ‘revision’. Here, Brown’s and Winer’s approaches are criticisable because, restraining marketing might lead a decrease in marketing’s influence and market forces cannot respond every time in same efficiency to the market in order to provide equilibrium again since it is product, sector and country bounded. On the other hand Stewart’s approach makes perfect sense since marketing should renews itself every single day

On the other hand, Debra Jones Ringold claimed that marketing needs reform which can be embraced by competent consumers, organizations, and the inherent morality of choice, by the help teaching activities instead of regulations. This idea can is acceptable but it seems a little bit utopic because ‘competency’ is an abstract concept and achievement of a marketplace where every consumer and organization is competent (because they are educated by this way) and everybody behaves ethically seems ‘so perfect to believe’

Lastly, Hunt believed marketing theory and practice is just fine under ‘brand equity’ and ‘branding’ concepts because they provide competitive advantage to the company and also increases consumer welfare within the whole society. Hunt’s approach seems quite positive, encouraging, and at the same time possible because since the society is the ultimate client of marketing which consists of consumers and companies, branding helps both consumers and companies to achieve their goals and enhance themselves. Thus, firm gains competitive advantage, customer gains benefits and welfare of society at large is increased. Here, the questionable issue is whether this approach covers all the criticisms that are addressed to marketing to reform it. Although, Hunt’s approach is quite true, marketing still needs reforms or revisions. For instance, if what needed is a win-win marketing that avoids overmarketing issues and designated to match the consumers’ needs with firms’ goals and other stakeholders’ interests in order to achieve the desired outcome which is the enhanced society’, Hunt’s brand equity approach covers all the issues but in this statement overmarketing

  • Rethinking Marketing’s Taboos

In this section, several scholars asserted their ideas regarding possible ways to rethink and reinvent marketing. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

First of all, difference of the ideas between this section and the previous section is the approach regarding marketing’s problems, whether they are fundamental or incremental. Scholars in this section believed that marketing’s problems are fundamental that’s why it needs major rethinking and intervention from the outside. Sisodia and Sheth listed marketing’s orthodoxies as branding, positioning, differentiation, segmentation, the four Ps, the marketing concept, and exchange as the underlying constructs.

This part began with Jerry Wind’s chapter where he advocated that mental models of marketing must be challenged and new models must be developed which will guide both the practice and research processes. According to him, these new mental models will provide marketing to cope with changed environment and to increase its importance within the company. He claimed that marketing must be aiming having a seat at the corporate table, and this is only possible by embracing following requirements;

  • Marketing must bridge the walls within and between marketing’s functions;
  • Marketing must expand its focus from consumers to other stakeholders;
  • Marketing must rethink the value of customer satisfaction measures;
  • Marketing must combine mass markets with segments of one;
  • Marketing must empower consumers
  • Marketing must expand marketing from a function to a philosophy

In his chapter, Greg Gundlach dealt with ne AMA definition and found it restrictive in terms of marketing’s domain and scope. According to him, new AMA definition lack of some activities and participants that must be incorporated into marketing. He claimed that when consumers are searching for products, they are marketing; also, marketing occurs in a system that is affected by several participants. He suggested that, marketing and its definition should be consisted of a broader perspective which can be found in psychology and sociology.

According to Kumar and Ramani marketing must execute an inductive approach and transit from selling orientation to an interaction orientation by embracing following philosophies;

  • Customers must be viewed as individuals, they must not be evaluated as aggregates;
  • Technology must be used in an appropriate way in order to coordinate interactions with each current and potential customer
  • Adequate customer empowerment strategies must be executed for achieving competitive advantage;
  • Opportunities that lead customers enrich their own lives must be obtained

Glen Urban believed that marketing has serious problems like declining effectiveness, increasing regulations, questioning ethics, losing the seat in top management level and in order to be effective in generating profit, welcomed by consumers, ethically right, and able to get marketing back to its role as a driver of corporate strategy, new paradigm is needed. He put forward this new paradigm as ‘customer advocacy’ that consists of advocacy by companies on behalf of customers and proposed a customer advocacy pyramid and tools for its implementation. He claimed that this paradigm will enable marketing following achievements;

  • Marketing will have a new set of trust tools that can generate profits.
  • Customers will view the new marketing approach as helpful, not intrusive.
  • Marketing will gain a prominent position in corporate strategy formulation.
  • A new ethical marketing world will be built.

In their study, Firat and Dholakia claimed that marketing needs a revolution, instead of a reform. They asserted that modern marketing is defined under two core principles which are the marketing concept and consumer satisfaction, and criticized modern marketing as not being able to cope up with technologically and culturally changing markets and consumers. That’s why they proposed following shifts for marketing in the post-modern world:

  • from a managerial mode to a shared, collaborative mod
  • from centralized to diffused marketing; and
  • from ordered to complex marketing

As a last chapter, Venkatesh and Peñaloza put forward a major paradigm shift that is from the study of marketing to the study of markets. They classified markets into three; as markets in the mainstream, markets in the emerging global context, and virtual markets. They claimed that; this approach enables marketers to move from limited study to more encompassing mode of ways of thinking because they believed that as Fligstein (1996), Callon (1998), Slater and Tonkiss (2001), and Bevir and Trentmann (2004) advocated; markets are not universal, they are subject to varying objectives (from shareholder wealth, to market growth, to social stability, to quality of life, and to political participation) and they take on distinct discursive forms and material practices across various social contexts over time. Finally, they believed that enlarging the scope of the field opens up exciting new possibilities

  • Evaluation of Chapters Regarding Marketing Taboos

In this chapter, instead of minor revisions, fundamental changes, most of the authors believed that marketing’s problems are fundamental that’s why it needs major rethinking and intervention from the outside.

Jerry Wind’s approach mentioned about a change in the mental models of marketing to cope with changed environment and to increase its importance within the company by having a seat at the corporate table. For this purpose he listed several requirements, and two of those requirements have a vital importance. First of all marketing must expand its focus from consumers to other stakeholders, and secondly, marketing must expand marketing from a function to a philosophy. Both issues will lead marketing to increase its importance within the company, and thus, its image and power will be at a desirable level.

Greg Gundlach believed that marketing and its definition should be consisted of a broader perspective which can be found in psychology and sociology. This idea is totally right, however his approach in testing marketing’s scope by analyzing AMA definition is discussable. That’s because all the AMA definitions have been criticized by various scholars within the history and determining its scope by solely looking at AMA definition might be a narrow perspective.

Kumar and Ramani advocated about a need in transition from selling orientation to an interaction orientation by viewed customers as individuals and using technology in an appropriate way in order to coordinate interactions with each customer. This is also a vital issue in contemporary’s marketing because today companies are not able to organize the relationships of customers with their products and services, because customers started to create their own relationship in their own way. Social media and its influential power can be given as an example at this point. In integrated marketing perspective, most of today’s successful companies with marketing orientation give vital importance to their social media marketing activities. It can be told that; contemporary marketing practice require a marketing design that consists of evaluating each customer as an individual and using the technology (social media such as twitter, facebook, linkedin,etc…) to coordinate interactions with them.

In an another study, Firat and Dholakia claimed that; modern marketing is not being able to cope up with technologically and culturally changing markets and consumers, so it must shift from a managerial mode to a shared, collaborative mod, from centralized to diffused marketing; and from ordered to complex marketing. Their approach is criticisable, because in some sectors, in some countries, and in some product types, managerial – centralized – ordered type of marketing might be more successful. That’s why instead of trying to establish a fix marketing practice within all sectors, countries and product types, embracing a marketing philosophy within the entire company and act according to the sector, product and country requirements might be more effective for customers, firms and society.

Lastly, Glen Urban claimed that marketing needs a new paradigm which is ‘customer advocacy’, and Venkatesh and Peñaloza believed that marketing needs a major paradigm shift that is from the study of marketing to the study of markets. Both approaches are logical; without any doubt marketing should be customers’ advocate and while studying marketing, markets which can be defined as ‘the field where magic happens’ must be analyzed. However, both approaches are censurable, because; some ‘customer advocacy’ practices might lead to ‘dumb marketing’ which is mentioned by Sisodia and Sheth in the first part and studying solely markets (field) instead of all marketing players will lead missing some important players in marketing such as consumer behavior and marketing management.

  • Adjusting to Marketing’s Changing Context

In this section, several scholars asserted their ideas regarding marketing’s changing context. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) proposed that; today marketing context is changing in three key areas:

  • shifting demographic patterns,
  • the proliferation of information technology that empowers customers, and
  • a heightened sensitivity to ethical issues.

Section starts with Philip Kotler’s chapter where he analyzed marketing ethics and provided suggestions for marketing in order to adjust for its future survival and growth. He examined the dilemma that is; although marketing has made major contributions in standards of living and created jobs through demand generation, still the marketing profession is not respected. He connected this dilemma with the ethical dilemma that marketing faces which is giving the customer what he or she wants or should judging what the customer wants (there are many products that are not necessarily good for the customer, such as hard drugs, tobacco, high-calorie fast food, alcohol; there are products that consumers may want, but which may not be good for them or society at large, such as gas-guzzling automobiles, dangerous guns, pornography). As a solution to this ethical dilemma, Kotler suggested that; marketing should direct firms not to just aiming to sell more but presenting socially responsible behaviors, and thus, marketing image is strengthened in the eyes of the public.

In their chapter, Monroe and Xia dealt with the issue of unfair prices. They examined the pricing issue from customers’ eyes and asserted that; in the short term customers may buy according to economic rationales if the price is below their perceived value, but in the long run, if they are confronted by unfair results, thy find their way out. For this reason, pricing managers need to shift their myopic vision from maximizing short-term margins to considering the long-term effects of perceived unfair pricing. They added that; when products are differentiated, when values are delivered, when a good buyer–seller relationship is maintained, and when damage control is implemented, customers will trust and believe it is a fair price.

In the following chapter, David Wolfe claimed that new marketing paradigms are needed in result of aging populations and he believed that the aging consumer universe is changing the calculus of supply and demand in dozens of product and service lines because at forty-five or fifty-five or sixty-five or older, a person’s needs are quite different from his or her needs as a young adult. For this reason he suggested that in order to be more effective in sensing customers’ needs, marketers should be act as healers by understanding how a person’s season of life influences his or her consumer needs and behavior. He proposed that each season of life has a primary developmental objective such as;

  • the primary developmental objective in the spring of life is to gain knowledge and skills to enter adulthood.
  • the primary developmental objective in the summer of life is the social development of the individual, in other words it is about “becoming somebody.”
  • the primary developmental objective of the fall season of life is a search for the meaning of life and legacy.
  • the primary development objective in the winter of life is self-actualization.

According to Wolfe, majority of customers is transitioning from the fall to the winter of life, and that’s because marketing needs to embrace inner harmony and spiritual development. At this point he evaluated New Balance as a good example that sense this majority’s needs (the differences between New Balance and Nike are; winning versus self-improvement, roar of the crowd versus inner harmony, extreme effort versus balanced effort, smell of sweat versus the smell of nature, physical development versus spiritual development. Nike appeals to the youthful, narcissistic, masculine self. New Balance appeals to the mature, other-centered experiential self—to the feminine self)

In his chapter, Tim Ambler aimed to analyze what marketers do, their marketing process, their capabilities, and how they are evolving. He took into account the marketing’s evolution from founder-driven small entrepreneurial companies to large process-driven corporations and he analyzed ‘moments of truth’ which can be defined as those marketing activities that make a difference to the firm’s bottom line or to its marketing assets. He suggested that; the classic planning/implementation/measurement/ review cycle should be examined from this moments of truth perspective.

Sheth and Sisodia claimed that; the marketing function has gone through a number of transitions over the years in order to find more efficient and more effective operating models. In addition, they believed that; one of the key drivers of change has been the need to create a more efficient match between supply and demand, and most marketing inefficiency and effectiveness arises from the mismatch between the rising heterogeneity of supply and demand. At this point, they suggested a ‘radical solution’ and claimed that marketing efficiency as well as effectiveness in consumer markets can be greatly increased through the routinization and automation of purchase and consumption. They asserted that; this automation of consumption requires;

  • there exists a high level of mutual trust and respect between customers and marketers
  • marketers and consumers both have to invest the time and effort needed to increase their knowledge about each other
  • both marketers and consumers must commit to ethical behavior;
  • high tech with high touch for personalization must be blended
  • both marketers and consumers must engage in variety-seeking behavior to satisfy the epistemic needs of the market.

In their study Sheth and Sisodia provided a realistic future scenario regarding the automation of consumption in order to show this ‘might happen’ although it sounds like a marketing utopia

At the end of the section, Berthon and John analyzed information technology and its possible effects on marketing. They claimed that in a service economy the core difference compared to the manufacturing economy is the extent and variety of interaction between provider and customer. They believed that; using information technology in marketing increases interaction intensity and in order to improve marketing practice both the frequency and value of interaction should be measured.

  • Evaluating Chapters Regarding Marketing’s Changing Context

In this chapter, as Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) proposed; today marketing context is changing in three key areas: demographic patterns, rising of information technology and heightened sensitivity to ethical issues.

Philip Kotler’s claimed that the dilemma that is; although marketing has made major contributions in standards of living and created jobs through demand generation, still the marketing profession is not respected can be solved by marketers by not just aiming to sell more but presenting socially responsible behaviors. Social responsiveness and its implications in marketing is unquestionable one of the major facts of contemporary’s marketing.

Monroe and Xia claimed that marketing must clear away unfair prices and pricing managers need to shift their myopic vision from maximizing short-term margins to considering the long-term effects of perceived unfair pricing. This approach is also vital because marketing must target increasing brand image in the consumers’ mind and maintaining this for long time, instead of focusing on short time profits.

David Wolfe claimed that new marketing paradigms are needed to evolve in response of the changing demographics. That is also a totally agreeable idea since marketing’s ultimate client is society, then demographic allocation of this society is important in constructing desired marketing.

Sheth and Sisodia claimed that what marketing need is creating a more efficient match between supply and demand, to reduce most marketing inefficiency and effectiveness and for this purpose; they suggested a ‘radical solution’ by routinizing and automating the purchase and consumption. Although they gave a ‘realistic future scenario’, this approach is quite debatable because marketing shouldn’t embrace ‘ceteris paribus’ perspective because marketing is all about the people and life is not a science-fiction movie which leads marketers to automate people, their needs, wants and desires.

Lastly, Berthon and John believed that; using information technology in marketing increases interaction intensity. Information technology and its contributions to the marketing are also unquestionable. Here the most critical issue is using IT in increasing marketing efficiency and effectiveness and avoiding such overmarketing activities like pop-up ads, junk e-mails, and etc… by using IT services.

  • Marketing and Its Stakeholders

In this section, several scholars asserted their ideas regarding marketing and its stakeholders. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) asserted that previous section focused on how to improve marketing by focusing on customers, and this section includes the desirability of taking a multiple stakeholder (employees, investors, suppliers, and society at large) perspective on marketing.

Section started with Lemon and Seiders’ chapter where they argued about current marketing practice and found it short-term oriented and narrowly focused on customer. Instead, they suggested taking a longer time horizon and a broader view of the customer (augmented customer view) in order to include other stakeholders in marketing practice. They claimed that firms can broaden their perspective, moving toward a long-term, augmented customer view by implementing following steps;

  • firms can evaluate their metrics and shift toward long-term metrics,
  • firms should examine specific drivers of customer equity
  • firms can include a section in their strategic plan that examines the effects of marketing strategies on nontargeted customer segments.

They believed that, firms that take these actions are likely see emerging trends first, imagine new opportunities earlier than rivals, and gain and maintain substantial competitive advantage.

In the following chapter, Russ Belk dealt with consumers in the bottom of the pyramid (especially in Africa and Asia) who have not benefited from globalization. He believed that; global standard package of consumer goods has become an impossible dream as a result of growing inequality, democratized consumer desires, and free markets. According to him the solution lies behind focusing affordability and accessibility of products and services to bottom of the pyramid markets and in order to achieve this, followings are needed;

  • Entrepreneurial skills of the poor must stimulated and this is possible through microlending.
  • Pressure must be brought to bear to reorganize world trade and financial institutions
  • Global junk foods should be restrained from out-promoting more nutritious local foods.
  • Dumping of unsafe products like high-nicotine cigarettes should be as difficult in the less affluent world as it is in the more affluent world.
  • international debt forgiveness for the world’s most impoverished nations should be implemented
  • International tourism must be managed in a way that helps revenues stay in the less-affluent world rather than be extracted from it by multinational companies
  • The United States and Europe must curtail subsidizing their agriculture so their prices can undercut Third World farmers.
  • The United States must stop imposing trade tariffs

Douglas and Craig also focus on international marketing practices in their chapter and questioned the U.S. hegemony and suggested to make marketing less U.S. centric. They believed that rather than assuming that trends in other countries will parallel those in the U.S., more importance should be attached to examining differences in environmental conditions in other countries. Furthermore, he asserted that; interlinking and integration of markets around the world should also be embraced and academics in U.S. must begin to investigate the challenges faced by marketers in other parts of the world. For this purpose; marketers should conduct more research in other countries in order to test the validity of U.S.-based theories and models in other countries (Douglas and Craig called this ‘emic’ studies)

In their chapter, Chipp, Hoenig, and Nel also provided a view that is similar to Douglas and Craig by focusing on the geographic area of South Africa. They chose this region because of its advanced, competitive, and growing industrial and services sector and they claimed that; marketers in developing areas have a special need to understand the areas where the marketing discipline has succeeded and failed in order not to make the same mistakes. In other words, according to Chipp, Hoenig, and Nel, marketers in industrialized economies can gain some insight from successes and failures marketers have encountered in other parts of the world.

Finally, Stringfellow and Jap claimed that marketing should play a powerful and influential role in the firm and increase its influence in business organizations to maximize firmwide outcomes. For this reason, they have reviewed marketing’s influence in organizations and formulated several suggestions for leveraging the influence of marketing in firms. They believed that, marketing can increase its influence within the company and gain strategic importance in the corporate level by doing more internal marketing.

  • Evaluations Chapters Regarding Marketing and Its Stakeholders

In this section, various scholars asserted their ideas regarding marketing and its stakeholders.

Lemon and Seiders suggested that marketing practice should embrace a broader view of the customer (augmented customer view) in a longer time horizon, instead of narrowly focusing on customer and being short-term oriented. Their approach is important because marketing should not be only concerned with customers but it should also be concerned with other stakeholders like employees, investors, suppliers, and society at large.

Russ Belk analyzed consumers in the bottom of the pyramid who have not benefited from globalization. He believed that; global standard package of consumer goods has become an impossible dream as a result of growing inequality and free markets. This is unfortunately true because free markets and inequality in the income distribution lead this problem.

Douglas and Craig also focused on international marketing practices and questioned the U.S. hegemony and suggested to make marketing less U.S. centric. Similarly Chipp, Hoenig, and Nel conducted a study by focusing on the geographic area of South Africa and claimed that; marketers in developing areas have a special need to understand the areas where the marketing discipline has succeeded and failed in order not to make the same mistakes. Both studies put forward that; ‘know-how’ should be embraced by the marketers and successful international practices should be analyzed and tried to be implemented locally.

Lastly, Stringfellow and Jap claimed that marketing should conduct its own marketing within the company in order to increase its influential role. This is also important for marketing’s image and power within the company and in order to have a seat in the corporate level marketing should embrace internal marketing.

All in a word, marketing should not be only concerned with customers but it should also be concerned with other stakeholders like employees, investors, suppliers, and society at large. Marketing should also take into account international marketing practices and use this ‘know-how’ and marketing should implement internal marketing strategy to increase its influence within the firm and at the corporate steak.

  • Reforming Marketing Scholarship and Education

In this section, several scholars dealt with academic side of marketing, and focused on how marketing scholarship and education need to change in order to contribute to marketing professionals, consumers, and society at large. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Section starts with William Wilkie’s article which is aiming to create a better context for scholarship in the future. For this purpose, he advocated that following issues should be considered;

  • marketing needs its own identity because when discussing marketing, marketing practice and marketing academics were equated most of the times
  • aggregate marketing system should be embraced which consist of three actors: producers, consumers, and government entities.
  • marketing scholarship attends easily and eagerly to accrete knowledge

In the following chapter Gary Lilien mentioned about marketing as a schizophrenic business activity, and criticized both marketing practitioners and academicians because he believed that both of these groups evaluated marketing operation in a narrow perspective with a predominantly quantitative (data mining) or predominantly conceptual (agency creativity) manner. He claimed that success in achieving ‘good marketing’ lies behind the integration of science and creativity because good marketing need to embrace both of them.

In his chapter, Rajiv Grover discussed whether marketing or marketers need reform and believed that marketers are the ones who need reform. Then, he analyzed how marketing academicians might reform the discipline by reforming their own research and teaching. In his study, he put forward that; for two reasons, academicians are insisting on marketing reform

  • Although marketing research is held in higher regard in the discipline, academicians perceive it as irrelevant to marketing issues in organizations
  • Non marketers reduce the authority of marketing practitioners by involving in marketing decisions.

Grover believed that first reason above cause the second one and he suggested five potential approaches to make future research more managerially relevant and impactful;

  • selecting the right problems for research,
  • modifying the intellectual perception,
  • coordinating varied research efforts in a particular area or knowledge domain,
  • developing a distinctive identity for marketing, and
  • creating support from the business sector

Finally he criticized that academicians teach too much strategy and not enough operations, that’s why he suggested that especially in MBA programs, should include and integrate both strategy and operations.

Jagmohan Raju asserted that marketing’s influence, importance, and value is decreasing in the practitioners’ side where it is increasing within the academia. For instance, he claimed that; at the practitioners’ side, CMOs tenure started to decline but in the academic side number of manuscripts submitted to major marketing journals started to increase. At this point, he suggested that; with following actions, marketing academia can enhance the prestige of marketing practitioners;

  • D. students should be encouraged to go for industry careers
  • Importance and value of consulting activity in annual performance evaluations should be increased, and
  • Academicians Teaching and consulting the practitioners about the findings of academic research

Morris Holbrook mentioned about problems in classroom teaching which were experienced as a result of giving too much emphasis on customer orientation and confusion about who is our customer. He put forward four different models in his study;

  • In the first ‘Old-Fashioned Model’; the customer was the teacher and the producer was the student. The student produced homework, wrote exams, and the teacher as a customer rewarded the student with appropriate grades, promotion, and graduation
  • In the second ‘Revised Model’; the school became the producer and corporations became customers. Schools produced job candidates and the corporation rewarded the school with employment opportunities. In this model, students are evaluated as products and they don’t like this approach and they would rather be viewed as customers like patients in a hospital
  • In the third ‘Customer-Oriented Model’ model; school is evaluated as a producer and students as customers. In this model, school offers MBA degree diplomas, networking opportunities, and career counseling in exchange for tuition dollars, generous donations, and etc…
  • In the fourth ‘Supply-Chain Model’ school is evaluated as producer, student as a channel, and society as the customer. This model is also preferred by Holbrook. In this model, university is the producer and has a purpose to create knowledge. Student is the channel and transmits this knowledge to the society (customer). Student also offer appreciation to the school, where society offers respect and good will to the student

In the last chapter of this section, Rajan Varadarajan, also dealt with the question of the need for reform in marketing and addressed following contexts:

  • Diminishing influence of the marketing discipline in the academic discourse on strategy
  • Diminishing influence of the marketing function in organizations
  • Spectre of deficiencies in scholarly research leading to the marginalization of the marketing function in organizations

In his analysis, he suggested following actions;

  • Reforms at the macro level in scholarly research in marketing might be somewhat slow, that’s why; incremental reform at the micro level should be sought since it is an everyday occurrence
  • Journals must push the authors to provide managerial, public policy, and scholarly implications of their research
  • Marketing strategy should integrate more with consumer behavior research
  • Marketing scholar candidates- that are PH.D students should examine the current marketing curriculum, in order to see if it includes rapidly changing environmental forces and their implications on marketing theory and practice.
  • Evaluating Chapters Regarding Marketing Academia

In this section, several scholars dealt with academic side of marketing.

William Wilkie claimed that marketing needs its own identity, aggregate marketing system should be embraced and marketing scholarship attends eagerly to accrete knowledge. Regarding his approach; it can be told that; marketing academicians and practitioners needs to be separated and analyzed separately and marketing should be evaluated in an aggregate perspective by involving all the stakeholders and systems. There is no doubt that marketing academia is looking forward to contribute knowledge.

Gary Lilien claimed that success in achieving ‘good marketing’ lies behind the integration of science and creativity. This idea is also acceptable, because harmony of science and creativity that is conducted by integrated groups that consist of both practitioners and scholars produce good marketing

Rajiv Grover believed that marketers are the ones who need reform instead of marketing and he criticized that academicians teach too much strategy and not enough operations. This approach may not be accepted generally because demarcation of the degree that lectures should comprise strategy changes according to the academic programme.

Jagmohan Raju asserted that marketing’s influence, importance, and value is decreasing in the practitioners’ side where it is increasing within the academia, that’s why marketing academia should enhance the prestige of marketing practitioners. This is also a controversial subject because there might be other claims and empirical evidences that practitioners’ importance is increasing more than scholars. Here the important conclusion is, no matter which is gaining or losing importance, practitioners and scholars should always contribute to each other studies in order to enhance the marketing implications and marketing knowledge.

Morris Holbrook put forward four different models in his study and believed that academia should be producer, student should be channel and society should be the customer. This approach is totally in accordance with the belief that ‘society is the ultimate client’.

Lastly, Rajan Varadarajan suggested that managerial and scholarly implications should be integrated mostly in micro level. Rajan’s view makes lots of sense because for the desired importance level of marketing practice and knowledge should be constructed together with practitioners and scholars, and it is easier to conduct these studies in micro levels.

  • A New Mission For Marketing

In this last section, several scholars asserted their ideas in order to remind how essential marketing is and how it can reclaim the high ground within companies, with customers, and in society. Ideas of different scholars and, Sisodia and Sheth’s (2006) reviews of these ideas are as follow:

Section started with Fred Webster’s chapter where he claimed that; there is a widespread concern about marketing has lost its influence in the firm and the sales function has become much more powerful. His purpose in this chapter was to examine the causes and consequences of diminishing marketing’s role in terms of effectiveness and trust. He suggested that; both marketing practitioners and scholars have duties in helping marketing to regain its influence within management circles. As practitioners; marketing managers must embrace and master company’s financial statements, real marketing drivers of financial results and shareholder value. Similarly, as academicians; marketing educators need to reorganize the relationship between their research and their teaching. Webster proposed that following issues are critical;

  • Rigor and relevance shouldn’t be in conflict;
  • PhD students should be trained with an understanding of the total field of marketing as an academic discipline with historical roots;
  • MBA and undergraduate students should be trained for the future, not just the present.

In the following chapter, Berry and Mirabito asserted that marketing has both negative and positive impacts on the quality of life. It had positive effects such as helping hard housework, increasing consumer’s self-confidence, providing productivity. But, at the same time, it had negative impacts. However, despite these contributions, Berry and Mirabito believed that the net impact of marketing on the quality of life is subtracting rather than adding value and this is as a result of misuse of social power that had happened with marketing. As another problem in the marketplace, they mentioned about shifted decisions of the firms. They told that; many firms that initially focus on creating value for the customer shift their focus to maximizing short term value for the firm; they internally focused and behaved more reactive. Moreover, they put forward different perspectives that firms might operate;

  • Need-centered marketing: It helps customers in improving their lives over a long time horizon. It shapes and reshapes markets
  • Desire-centered marketing: It satisfies customers’ immediate wants, in other words caters customers’ present demands

According to Berry and Mirabito, marketing can operate on a customer need-centered or customer desire-centered basis, or it can strive to balance needs and desires. But they believed that desire-centered marketing can never be as effective as need centered marketing. They also suggested that marketing’s mission should be improving peoples’ quality of life, and this mission strengthens financial performance of the firm and credibility of marketing among shareholders. Finally, they thought that right marketing is the voice of the customer and the soul of an organization which inspires other decision makers to act and invest.

In their chapter, Keller and Kotler claimed that as marketing becomes more complex, marketers run the danger of overlooking or ignoring too many important factors in their decisions. In response to this danger, they suggested embracing a ‘holistic marketing concept’ in which marketers should adopt a broad perspective. According to them holistic marketing requires broad, cohesive thinking and it recognizes that everything matters with marketing— customers, employees, other companies, competition, as well as society as a whole. Finally, they proposed that superior holistic marketing is evident when companies effectively employ internal marketing, relationship marketing, integrated marketing, and performance marketing

Grove, John, and Fisk concentrated the importance of ‘people’ in marketing in their part and they believed that the role of people in marketing (especially in services industries) is major because marketing is about people and organizations and their markets are comprised of people—not things. They asserted that ‘people’ should be recentered in marketing field and

They believed that it would be beneficial to integrate the aspects of art into marketing because the arts reflect and express the human condition, and they connect with people because of that – Grove, John, and Fisk claimed that this is what marketing should do.

In his chapter, Haeckel believed that; marketing concept can be implemented by embracing a sense and respond perspective. He asserted that what is needed by the businesses are learning to respond effectively to what individual customers need, not executing plans that are based on predictions about what markets will want in the future. He believed that; value creation that is the exchange of information about value from customers for the production of value from producers is a network approach that should start with development of an interactive design system.

Finally, Sheth and Sisodia claimed that marketing has become excessively driven by a short-term managerial agenda, and has lost sight of its fundamental mission which is representing the customer’s interest to the company. They also believed that marketers have to change a great deal because they need to adjust to new world order. In response to these problems that marketing should face, they suggested that marketing should be reorganized as a corporate staff function (that reports directly to CEO) similar in structure and impact to finance, human resource, and information technology with a corporate wide responsibility in branding; managing external suppliers of marketing (such as ad agencies, market research companies); and acting as a coordinator and facilitator of marketing across different business units. Moreover, they recommended paying attention to research and suggested the establishment of a National Academy of Marketing.

  • Evaluation of Chapters Regarding Marketing’s New Mission

In this last part, scholars asserted their ideas regarding what should be done in marketing.

Fred Webster suggested that; both marketing practitioners and scholars should take part in providing marketing to regain its influence within management circles. This approach is not questionable as asserted several times in the previous part; marketing academia and practitioners should be shoulder to shoulder

Berry and Mirabito suggested that marketing’s mission should be improving peoples’ quality of life, and this mission strengthens financial performance of the firm and credibility of marketing among shareholders. Their approach perfectly reflects the diffusion of marketing’s benefits from customer and firm through the whole society.

Keller and Kotler suggested that marketing should adopt a broader perspective by embracing ‘holistic marketing concept’. Their approach is also a perfect candidate for ‘desired marketing’ because it contains all the stakeholders – customers, employees, other companies, competition, as well as society as a whole.

Grove, John, and Fisk believed the importance of ‘people’ in marketing and asserted that ‘people’ should be centered in marketing field. There is no doubt about that, marketing is all about people, and it is for people,

Haeckel believed that marketing should respond what individual customers need; it shouldn’t execute plans that are based on predictions. This idea is also agreeable because since marketing’s purpose should be benefiting all the society it should embrace a pro-active approach, rather than reactive practices.

Finally, Sheth and Sisodia believed that marketing should be reorganized as a corporate staff function and acting as a coordinator and facilitator of marketing across different business units. Marketing’s function within the organization level has been subject to controversies, and it is debated that marketing should be a department or an entire philosophy. It can be told that; of course there should be a marketing department that coordinates marketing across different business units, but more importantly, marketing should be embraced as a philosophy within the entire firm.

  • Conclusion

First part of the study dealt with the nature of marketing and concluded that marketing’s core subject is the ‘exchange’ and it also embraces; firstly, consumer’s psychological factors such as needs, wants, perceptions, secondly, relationships of human beings with each other and with the society, and finally, managerial perspectives in implementing strategic marketing plans.

Second part of the study examined different philosophical foundations in the marketing literature and concluded that; two major perspectives have come into prominence; logical empiricism and relativism. Method of a theory construction in marketing is directly related to the logical empiricism approach and logical empiricists evaluate marketing as a science since they believe that theory construction in marketing fits with their scientific method. Relativists also evaluate that marketing is a science but they disagree about the ‘unique scientific method’ and claim that marketing can be evaluated as a science by depending on more than one method. According to them instead of a distinct method there are proper methodologies.

In the final part of the study ‘does marketing need reform’ subject is examined and following results are concluded

Regarding Marketing’s Image; Excess, and Resistance Problems:

Marketing has been exposed to serious image problem mostly as a result of rising competition, misuse of technology and deregulation. Marketing can elude from this poor image by focusing directly benefiting customers by satisfying their needs and wants (precision, relevance, power and reciprocity) instead of creating needs and wants, also marketing should provide consulting to their customers in their decision making processes.

Regarding Marketing’s Problem and Whether It Is Self-Correcting

Marketing should never give up coping with contemporary issues and should renew itself every single day. Although, its ultimate purpose must be increasing welfare of its ultimate client which is society and this is possible under ‘branding’ umbrella, it still needs reforms in reducing overmarketing practices.

Regarding Marketing Taboos

Marketing must expand its focus from consumers to other stakeholders by expanding itself from being a function into being a philosophy. In evaluating customers marketing must also view customers as individuals and use technology in an appropriate way in order to coordinate interactions with each customer.

Regarding Marketing’s Changing Context

Contemporary marketing has some new concepts that should be embraced by marketers. First of all, societal marketing concept should be adopted by marketers to strengthen the marketing image in the eyes of the public. Secondly, changing demographic patterns should be carefully analyzed by marketers in constructing their 4ps.Thirdly; IT should be used adequately to increase marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

Regarding Marketing and Its Stakeholders

Marketing should not be only concerned with customers but it should also be concerned with other stakeholders like employees, investors, suppliers, and society at large. Marketing should also take into account international marketing practices and use this ‘know-how’ and marketing should implement internal marketing strategy to increase its influence within the firm and at the corporate steak.

Regarding Marketing Academia

Different scholars pointed out the same thing in different statements. Marketing practice and theory should be integrated by micro-level studies of practitioners and scholars in order to enhance the marketing implications and marketing knowledge.

Regarding Marketing’s New Mission

Several steps should be taken to shift marketing into desirable level; marketing practitioners and scholars should work together, it should benefit firm, customers, all the stakeholders and the society, it should place ‘people’ in the center of all activities, it should be proactive, it should be influence within a company as an entire philosophy.

All in a word; what is needed is ‘a win-win marketing that avoids overmarketing issues, embraces societal concept, integrates theory and practice, sees ‘people’ in the center and society as the ultimate client, designated to match the consumers’ needs with firms’ goals and other stakeholders’ interests in order to achieve the desired outcome which is the enhanced society.’

Author: Z. Eren Kocyigit – 15.12.2011

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