This In turn provides the basis for an outline of research propositions that can be used for an empirical analysis of the alleged crisis. Introduction As early as the beginning of the sass, marketing academics bemoaned an apparent decline in marketing’s strategic role (Day and Weenies 1983). In recent years, such claims have been made more stridently and with greater frequency (e. G. , Day and Montgomery 1999; Doyle 2000; Pierce 2000; Webster 1997).
Typical is Webster (1997, p. Bib who argues that, “for the past two or three decades, marketing as effectively ceded its strategic responsibilities to other organizational specialists who have not, until recently, been guided by the voice of the customer”. Such has been the decline in marketing’s strategic influence, Webster and others suggest, that marketing Is now In “crisis”. This paper provides a systematic analysis of the alleged crisis of marketing.
It examines and categories the views of marketing academics on the major “symptoms” of marketing’s malaise, and suggests a number of research propositions. Furthermore, a number of important questions regarding the future of arresting are explored In order to discern the Impact of the “new’ economy on the alleged crisis of marketing. The paper is organized as follows. We begin by reviewing the marketing literature to uncover a number of key indicators of marketing’s crisis.
Consistent with Days (1992) assertion that marketing’s alleged crisis found its roots as early as the beginning of the sass, the paper reviews relevant literature since 1 981 and provides representative works In each subsequent decade. The evidence Is grouped into a number of categories and we offer a number of research propositions and avenues for studying the crisis. Particularly, we show how our analysis provides the foundation for an empirical assessment of the crisis.
The latter is an important contribution because there Is little In the way of empirical substantiation of the crawls (Day 1992), and those empirical studies that do exist tend to focus exclusively on the marketing sub-unit (Homburg, Workman and Groomer 1999). What Is “Marketing”? Part of the difficulty with the literature on the alleged crisis Is that the term “marketing” refers potentially to many different things. In this paper the emphasis is not so much on marketing’s influence within academic circles but arresting within organizations generally revolve around two perspectives.
The first is a functional group perspective, which views marketing as an individual and distinct organizational entity, while the second is an activity-based perspective, where marketing is treated as a set of activities undertaken by different people throughout the whole organization (Pierce 1985; Abracadabra 1992; Webster 1992; Workman, Homburg and Grunge 1998). Research has often separated the two approaches; for example, Hunt (1976) takes an activity-based perspective, while Walker and Racket 1987) provide an example of the application of a functional group approach.
More recently, the two perspectives have been integrated to a larger extent (Workman, Homburg and Grunge 1998), and this approach is also taken in this paper. Indeed, the marketing literature suggests that marketing’s relevance may be ignored at all levels, whether as a function or as a set of values integrated throughout the organization. Uncovering the Crisis Concerns have been raised about the disparity between marketing’s potential contributions to strategy, and its actual strategic impact Abracadabra and Cassandra 1999; Pierce 1998; Webster 1997; Day 1992; Biggie 1981).
Indeed, claims of a crisis of marketing within organizations provide a stark contrast to the marketing literature’s conviction that marketing should be crucial in charting a firm’s strategic direction (Day 1992). Wind (1996) suggests that marketing can be critical to the success of an organization; this is particularly true in light of evidence of a positive relationship between market orientation and performance ( river and N Slater 1990; Gasworks and Kohl 1993; Kohl, Gasworks and Kumar 1993; Dishpans, Farley and Webster 1993; Slater and Nearer 2000).
There is little doubt that, if superior business performance is the result of a superior ability to understand and satisfy customers-?and there is evidence to support this-?then marketing has the potential to have a crucial impact on organizational success. In his analysis of the contributions of marketing to strategic management, Biggie (1981 , p. 631) concluded twenty years ago that, although marketing was merely “one of the business functions”, it was an important one because of its concern with the environment.
However, he observed that the contributions of the discipline remained limited, as marketing played no role beyond the provision of concepts and methods that still needed to be imported into the area of management strategy. Nevertheless, more recently marketing scholars have stressed the significance of marketing as “the function of business” (Hackle 1997, p. ‘x). Hence, the tendency is to think of marketing “less as a function and more as a set of values and processes that all functions participate in implementing” (Norman and Rust 1999, p. 180).
Changes in the economy and the marketplace in the sass and sass emphasized the need for a efferent way of thinking about the role of marketing. This new conception of marketing is illustrated by McKenna (1991), who offers a set of principles, the first of which is that “marketing is everything and everything is marketing” (McKenna 1991, p. 68). The marketing literature, it can be seen, does not hesitate to underline the importance of marketing as a discipline, and trumpets loudly the impact that direction of the organization (Day, Kerri and Abracadabra 1992; Abracadabra and Cassandra 1999).
Yet, it has been observed that “traditional marketing is dead in the water” (Pierce 2000, p. ), and that “[t]here are a number of signs that the role of marketing, not simply as a formal organizational function, but more important as a strategic influence, may be weak and growing weaker in some organizations” (Pierce 1998, p. 231). Indeed, despite the rich theoretical and empirical base of marketing strategy (Abracadabra and Cassandra 1999), marketing is often seen as having no significant input into strategy (Shaw 1999), and, as noted, marketing scholars have sent warning signs about marketing’s strategic failure (Webster 1997).
The problem is expressed well by Assertive, Sheridan and Fay (1998, p. ) when they maintain that, “the question is not whether marketing activities are useful and valuable, but why marketing has played such a limited role in the process of strategy formulation”. The suggestion, then, is that a paradoxical situation has emerged. The existence of a new set of environmental trends should have been associated with an increase in the importance and influence of marketing (Doyle 2001 ; Sheet, Cissoids and Sahara 2000); instead marketing’s influence is said to be declining (Assertive, Sheridan and Fay 1998).
More fundamentally, those who talk about the crisis find it remarkable, indeed repining, that the role and influence of marketing are not aligned with the potential impact that marketing can have at a strategic level. If marketing can be crucial to strategy, and if contemporary environmental trends seem to indicate that it should play an increasingly important role, why then are we surrounded by voices proclaiming a crisis of marketing? The starting point in addressing this question is to analyses and categories the arguments provided in the literature.
Table 1 identifies some of the prevailing concerns that have been expressed with respect to the role ND influence of marketing within organizations. Consistent with Days (1992) assertion that marketing’s alleged crisis found its roots as early as the beginning of the sass, the table reviews the relevant literature since 1981 and attempts to provide representative works in each subsequent decade. Table 1 PREVAILING SYMPTOMS OF A CRISIS IN THE EXTANT MARKETING LITERATURE Author Doyle (2000) Level of crisis Functional group, activities Activities Symptom of crisis Marketers have lost influence.
They fail to provide expert guidance to top management. New market opportunities and threats are not recognized promptly. Lack of focus on strategic issues and long-term value creation. Marketing perceived to be detached from reality. Marketing literature often of little practical relevance to practitioners. Lack of proper focus on the market and lack of strategic view. Difficulties in isolating the unique contributions of marketing. Lack of clear identity.
Pierce (2000) Day and Montgomery (1999) Functional group, Author Level of crisis activities Functional group, activities Symptom of crisis Marketing provides unreliable information and fails to supply credible measures of its impact. Lack of precision. Limited understanding of customers. Poor reputation among functions. Limited influence and generally felt not to be essential. Unclear professional qualifications. Limited impact on business profitability. Tactical rather than strategic. Lack of authority for strategic planning. Limited understanding of the organization.
Marketing function in danger of being marginal’s. Confusion regarding the domain of marketing strategy. Limited contributions to the strategy dialogue. Abracadabra and Cassandra (1999) Assertive, Sheridan and Fay (1998) Pierce (1998) Webster (1997) Morgan and Pierce (1996) Functional group, activities Functional group, activities Functional group, activities Activities Functional group Difficulties for marketing to identify, measure and communicate to other disciplines and top management the financial value created by marketing activities.
Cynicism and criticisms regarding marketing, both from inside and outside (egg customers) the organization. Lack of input into strategic direction of the firm. Marketing’s failure as strategy. Marketing function has limited involvement in quality strategy. Lack of understanding of marketing’s implementation role. Diminution of the strategic role of marketing. Normalization of the contribution of marketing within academic circles. The role of marketing in the strategy dialogue and strategic management has been overlooked by marketing and other disciplines.