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The pragmatic importance of theory for marketing practice

Herbert Jack Rotfeld (Department of Marketing, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 3 June 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explain that theories provide an important tool for practitioners in guiding decisions by explaining and predicting consumer decision making when new specific research data might be unavailable. This is true despite the problems caused by some academic journal articles’ use and abuse of theory development. The argument for this crucial role of theory in marketing practice explains reasons why many practitioners dislike academic research and related theory development, as well as points out where practitioners’ criticisms are valid.


Delineation of problems in journal articles and some research notes the overall value of work for marketing practice and (indirectly) points out the important value of practitioner-focused research publications.


While marketing practitioners are wrong to condemn all theory development as useless, too often in too many ways, researchers and journals deserve it. Yet, despite the problems, marketing practice needs marketing theory.


This paper points out an ongoing common myopia of marketing practice, whereby practitioners miss out on the value of theory development.



Rotfeld, H.J. (2014), "The pragmatic importance of theory for marketing practice", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 322-327.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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