Marketing Needs the Authority of Academic Theory

Article excerpt

More than other nationalities Britons tend to split into two camps: doers and thinkers. As a rule, British doers look down on thinkers, the effect of which has been to create a culture of anti-intellectualism.

We can see the evidence of this when academia meets marketing. Not only are marketing academics thin on the ground - most marketers would be hard pushed to name even one - but the distance between the thinkers and the doers is wide. They rarely converse, and when they do it is not in a common language. The US experience is different: marketing academics are in abundance and they have close ties with business.

These differences make the appointment of ex-Harvard academic John Quelch as principal of the London Business School (LBS) particularly appropriate. It is all the more so because Quelch's discipline is marketing. Profiled exclusively by Marketing this week (pages 24 and 25), one of Quelch's primary concerns is to raise the profile of the marketing discipline in the wider context of business.

He is absolutely right. British industry is still driven more by product and other disciplines than it is by marketing. If marketing is to rise up the corporate hierarchy, the underpinning that comes from a solid theoretical and intellectual framework is crucial. …

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