Academic journal article Management Dynamics

A Century of Marketing: Achievements, Mishaps and Future Challenges

Academic journal article Management Dynamics

A Century of Marketing: Achievements, Mishaps and Future Challenges

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Marketing as a distinct discipline is approximately a century old. This milestone having been reached, it is an appropriate time to ponder the achievements and woes of the discipline and its future challenges. This article attempts to capture the development of marketing thought and practice over the last century, and considers the implications of these developments for, inter alia, marketing education and marketing management. Marketing's evolutionary development over the past century is briefly reviewed in an attempt to interpret the contribution of marketing thought and practice development to current views on marketing. The future challenges to marketing education and management are highlighted, especially those expected against the background of changing consumer behaviour and new technological developments.

"Writing on the early history of thermodynamics, Lord Kelvin said that the steam engine had given more to science than science had given to the steam engine. In the same spirit, we suggest that at this point in marketing's evolution, perhaps the marketplace has more to teach scholars than scholars have to teach the marketplace" (Deighton and Narayandas, 2004:20).

INTRODUCTION

Although the origin of marketing thought dates back to the early 1900s (Bartels, 1962), certain marketing practices can be traced back as far as 7000 B.C. (Carratu, 1987). Market development, promotion, segmentation and even "branding" are some of today's marketing activities that were practised as early as pre-colonial times (Deceualaer, 1998; Feltwell, 1991; Crone, 1989; Carratu, 1987; Room, 1987; Li, 1981 ). During the agricultural era, the concept of "domesticated markets" and relationship orientation were well-established concepts. The current popularity of relationship marketing can thus be interpreted as the rebirth of the practices of the pre-industrial era, during which producers and consumers interacted directly with each other and developed emotional and structural bonds in their economic market behaviours (Sheth and Parvatiyar, 1995: 401). Enright, (2002: 454) in an excellent overview of various authors' views on the emergence of marketing, concludes that the differences between the different authors' views about the origins of marketing are to be found in the contrasting meaning each author attaches to the word "marketing" . Marketing as a distinct discipline with its roots in economics is, however, approximately only a century old, and for the purposes of this article, this date serves as the departure point for the deliberations about marketing. A time scale of a century might be an appropriate time to reflect on the achievements and woes of marketing and ponder marketing's future roles. This article attempts to capture the development of marketing thought and practice over the last century with the purpose to identify the implications of these developments for, inter alia, marketing education. To address these objectives in a meaningful way, it would be appropriate to briefly take stock of marketing's development over the past century to provide a backdrop to comprehend the contribution of marketing thought and practice development to current views on marketing and the future role of marketing in firms and society.

THE ORIGIN AND CURRENT STANDING OF MARKETING AS AN ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE

The first courses on the subject area of marketing were presented at the University of Michigan in 1902 and the Ohio State University in 1906. As reported elsewhere, the initial focus in academic marketing courses was on the inter-relationships between marketing institutions and among various divisions of the firm in performing the distribution task (Bartels, 1976: 22-23). According to Webster (1992: 1-2), the roots of marketing as an area of academic study can be traced back to around 1910 in the mid-western American land-grant universities. These universities had a strong involvement with the agricultural sector and this involvement led to the study of agricultural markets and the processes by which products were brought to markets and prices were determined. …

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