Academic journal article Journal of the Academy of Business Education

Finding Appropriate Content for Training in Marketing Management: Implications for Business School Curricula

Academic journal article Journal of the Academy of Business Education

Finding Appropriate Content for Training in Marketing Management: Implications for Business School Curricula

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Research summarized in this article seeks to identify marketing behaviors among successful businesses managed by those with little or no marketing training. If marketing behavior by successful but untrained managers can be isolated, a strong case can be made for incorporating and emphasizing that behavior into formal educational programs designed to train future marketing managers.

Attracting and retaining customers is a universal and necessary ingredient in the operation of all organizations. Even if unrecognized or unmanaged, something has to bring buyers and sellers together or there are no transactions. Organizational tactics aimed at attracting and retaining customers might be described as 'marketing.' Marketing can be formally addressed within an organization, informally dealt with, or it can be ignored. Well managed marketing activities can contribute to organizational success. But, organizations that pay little attention to marketing management might also be successful. Research reported in this writing focuses on successful businesses managed by those untrained in marketing management.

Available evidence does point to a linkage between training in marketing management and organizational success. Formal training in marketing management could include general strategies and/or specific tactics that contribute to attracting and retaining customers. One study found that when the basic marketing concept of 'customer value' was embedded in undergraduate business curricula, future business managers were more able to link other management concepts with effective customer retention tactics (Baker, Kleine, and Bennion, 2003). An earlier study produced a similar finding among masters of business administration students (Moon, 1998).

Surveys continue to reveal positive attitudes regarding the value of formal marketing training. One sampling of key executives produced praise for formal training as an activity that develops business skills necessary for organizational success (Smart, 1999). Another survey of executives, educators, and students found marketing course assignments in business school programs that were designed to enhance marketing thinking were especially important in successful organizations (Ackerman, Gross, and Pemer, 2003). And, Madhaveram and Hunt (2008) describe marketing trained students as 'operant resources'; resources necessary for competitive advantage.

Evidence for the connection between marketing-trained managers and organizational success is not limited to business schools and their curricula. Petcus (2007) summarized research demonstrating a clear relationship between training in marketing management and the goals of liberal education. The Petcus study identified practice-driven outcomes produced by training in marketing management, outcomes related to success in organizations.

One component of formal training in marketing management seems to have special significance when related to organizational success. That component is training in marketing ethics. Yoo (2002) reviewed academic performance of two hundred students who were studying marketing management and discovered an association between performance and exposure to ethical behavior in marketing practice. Likewise, in a large experiment simulating business transactions, Hill and Watkins (2007) saw the same outcome: participants trained in marketing ethics did better in the simulation experience than those without ethics training. When the link between academic success and training in marketing ethics is combined with the substantial literature linking overall business success with ethical behavior, the link between training in marketing management and organizational success becomes even stronger. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business now mandates an ethics component in the curricula of accredited business programs (AACSB, 2013).

Smaller, entrepreneurial organizations may be especially lucid examples of the marriage between training in marketing management and business success (Panitz and Withey, 2006). …

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