European Business Schools Librarian's Group

Les Cahiers de Recherche,
HEC Paris

No 923: Is marketing becoming a dirty word? A longitudinal study of public perceptions of marketing

Frédéric Dalsace () and Dmitri Markovitch ()

Abstract: There is growing sentiment in the marketing community that our society holds an increasingly unfavorable view of the marketing profession. However, this sentiment is largely based on anecdotal and experiential evidence. In response, the authors use content analysis of the general press to investigate the American public’s current and past attitudes towards marketing. They obtain compelling evidence that the public’s attitude towards marketing has deteriorated over the past twenty years. They observe a similar trend in how marketing is treated in the American business press and in blogs. Next, the authors replicate their analyses on news media from another Western society, France, where marketing activity is subject to greater regulation than in the United States. In discussing the results, they propose that the marketing profession will evolve through a mix of three distinct practices that they name ego-marketing, techno-marketing and alter-marketing. The authors argue that marketing’s image in the population will ultimately depend on the growth and strength of each practice within this mix, with techno-marketing playing a pivotal role. They conclude by reflecting on the role that marketing scholars can play in this evolution.

Keywords: marketing practice; marketing image; perception of marketing

JEL-codes: M31

37 pages, November 20, 2009

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