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The Role of Marketing in the Corporation: A Perpetual Work in Progress

71 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2004  

Frederick Webster Jr.

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Alan J. Malter

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management

Shankar Ganesan

University of Arizona - Department of Marketing

Date Written: April 10, 2004

Abstract

This study critically examines the widely-held view that the role of marketing in corporations is in decline. Based on interviews and discussions with top marketing executives and chief executive officers from a broad sample of leading U.S. and global corporations, we describe major changes that are occurring in the organization and management of marketing activities in large manufacturing firms and compare these findings with earlier predictions. We find that there is still a wide range of opinion about the meaning of marketing, which increases the difficulty of assessing marketing performance and justifying the support and resources for marketing activities from top managers focused on shortterm financial objectives. At the same time, marketing as a distinct function with its own bureaucratic structure has become a more dispersed set of activities and responsibilities. One result of these developments, contrary to trends that appeared to be emerging in the early 1990's, is that marketing in many firms has "lost a seat at the table" as marketing expenditures have been reduced and marketing activities decentralized. At the same time, marketing in some firms continues to play an influential role in corporate strategy, suggesting a range of possible influence of marketing in the corporation. Marketing's ambiguous position raises significant questions for the future of marketing as management practice and academic discipline.

Keywords: Marketing, Marketing performance, Marketing strategy

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

Webster, Frederick and Malter, Alan J. and Ganesan, Shankar, The Role of Marketing in the Corporation: A Perpetual Work in Progress (April 10, 2004). Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 2004-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=530882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.530882

Frederick Webster Jr.

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Alan J. Malter (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Eller College of Management ( email )

Department of Marketing
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States
520-626-7353 (Phone)
520-621-7483 (Fax)

Shankar Ganesan

University of Arizona - Department of Marketing ( email )

McClelland Hall
P.O. Box 210108
Tucson, AZ 85721-0108
United States

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