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Islamic marketing – a challenger to the classical marketing canon?

Jonathan A.J. Wilson (Marketing Department, University of Greenwich, London, UK)
John Grant (Independent Marketing Consultant, London, UK)

Journal of Islamic Marketing

ISSN: 1759-0833

Article publication date: 22 March 2013

5244

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to debate what (if anything) is Islamic marketing? And link developments in this field to the wider marketing paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

A phenomenological antipositivist review of key case examples, drawing from 40 years of the authors' collective professional experiences; and field notes investigating approximately 1,000 brand marketing media reports, and 32 in‐depth interviews – as industry active academic practitioners. Supporting this, literature searches covered the fields of marketing, cultural studies, anthropology, contemporary religion, post‐structuralism and natural philosophy.

Findings

Marketing is both a concept and lived experience, manifest in the competitive exchange of commoditised thoughts, feelings, actions and objects – between engaged individuals and collectives. For many reasons, Islamic and Brand agendas/imperatives have risen in the consciousness and practises of Muslims and non‐Muslims globally, through social interactions. These have placed Islamic, brand and marketing practises in the spotlight, singularly and collectively. On the surface, many have considered whether Islamic marketing is a truism, a phenomenon, a noumenon, an ideology, or even a paradigm? The paper suggests that it represents a new focal phase “torchbearer”, as a conspicuous and necessary challenger strain towards convention, supporting fit for purpose marketing – just as “green” and “digital” marketing have previously, and continue to do so.

Research limitations/implications

This is a viewpoint piece, which whilst based upon the experiences of two authors, draws from their varied practitioner‐engaged action research, as collaborators and participants. To this end they adopt a standpoint, which argues for marketing being an applied science, rejecting approaches that encourage academic/practitioner divides.

Practical implications

Scholars and practitioners should resist the temptation to study and practice the field with a silo mentality. Marketing is not monolithic, nor is Islamic marketing necessarily a new phenomenon, or discrete sub‐set. Muslims have always engaged in marketing practices – offering symbolic and functional value globally.

Originality/value

The paper presents the following key argument: that Islamic Marketing is (while connected to the Islamic faith, heritage and cultural milieu) most usefully described and analysed as a differentiated wave within marketing activities and consumption, spearheaded currently by Muslims and non‐Muslims alike. And hence that it can be related to other developments in the marketing field, where marketing moves through evolutionary and revolutionary phases of meaning and practice, while grappling with new challenges and channels, in order to maintain its relevance and efficacy.

Keywords

Citation

Wilson, J.A.J. and Grant, J. (2013), "Islamic marketing – a challenger to the classical marketing canon?", Journal of Islamic Marketing, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 7-21. https://doi.org/10.1108/17590831311306327

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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