Introducing the History of Marketing Theory and Practice

Topics: Marketing, Sales, Marketing research Pages: 33 (11093 words) Published: June 22, 2012
Introducing the History of Marketing Theory and Practice
1.1 Introduction
The global popularity of marketing as a subject for study might suggest that those studying and teaching the subject know what it is that they are studying and how this study should be undertaken. But as we shall see in this chapter and others in this book, this has often not been the case. Marketing as a subject has proved almost impossible to pin down, and there is little consensus about what it means to study marketing. Most organisations now employ marketers. Marketing roles were traditionally found in commercial firms, but increasingly all kinds of organisations feel the need to employ marketers or to commission services from marketing consultants. The popularity and pervasiveness of marketing is, however, a relatively recent phenomenon. Academics have only studied marketing as a discipline in its own right for just over a century, and during its short history the study of marketing has been influenced by many different academic movements, fads and priorities. This variability can be viewed as a positive state of affairs, because it means that the subject is always open to new ideas and new trends. On the other hand, it has the potential to undermine the value of marketing knowledge because there is no general consensus on what the study of marketing should be for, how these studies should be conducted, or what the outcomes should be. Before we can begin to study marketing, we need to understand something about this history and the debates and controversies that have shaped the field. In this chapter, we shall review the origins of marketing thought, examining when the term ‘marketing’ was first used, its subsequent development, and provide an overview of the development of marketing thought and practice. Marketing, clearly, is probably as old as human civilisation itself (see Jones and Shaw, 2002; Minowa and Witkowski, 2009; Moore and Reid, 2008; Shaw and Jones, 2005). For our purposes, we will restrict our attention to the emergence of marketing as an academic discipline and business practice early in the twentieth century. What confronts most students and academics alike when they begin to study the development of marketing is the overwhelmingly American emphasis of much of the literature. The key textbooks, for instance, often contain examples of American corporate activities, sometimes tweaked for other markets, sometimes not. In writing this introduction we will obviously be tied to some extent to the history of American marketing. Many of the earliest college courses were developed there, most of the



Marketing: A Critical Textbook

principal thinkers in marketing throughout the twentieth century worked there, and as such it is natural that we talk about these people, institutions and their theoretical contributions. But, in an effort to ensure that the material presented resonates with more than just an American audience, and to provide more balance to the history of marketing than is generally seen in introduction and advanced texts alike, we provide numerous examples of non-US marketing theory and practice. As will be shown, not all countries adopted key marketing practices at the same time as they were discussed by US marketing scholars. Some countries like the UK, for example, turned to formal marketing education relatively late, even if the UK did have a number of companies and entrepreneurs who were naturally marketing oriented fairly early, such as the confectionery manufacturer Cadbury’s (Corley, 1987; Fitzgerald, 1989). Other countries, such as Spain, underwent their own ‘marketing revolution’ (Keith, 1960) even later. So, in short, we would ask that you remember that the theory and practice discussed in this and the following chapter are the result of very specific political, social, technological, and economic environments in the economies discussed. We would encourage you NOT to think ‘of marketing as a...
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