Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Volume 26, Issue 2.
It seems that there was once a time when marketing was considered to have a narrow field of interest, concentrating very largely on packaged goods and how to persuade consumers to buy them. Of course, things have moved on since then. Nevertheless, I still find myself slightly taken aback when looking through the articles in this issue of Marketing Intelligence & Planning, since there is so little to do with consumer goods marketing, and the topics addressed roam a long way from this narrow conception of marketing. Indeed, within this issue, you will find topics ranging from organ donation in Egypt to betting shops in Swansea. Neither of which, I am tempted to suggest, has been featured between the covers of a prominent academic marketing journal before.
The issue starts with another viewpoint; this one addresses the tricky issue of the relationship between marketing and sustainability. Peter Jones, Colin Clarke-Hill, Daphne Comfort and David Hiller present their own thoughts on this rather thorny topic. Clearly, there are those who would argue that the fundamental purpose of marketing is to persuade people to consume more, so that marketing and sustainability are simply irreconcilable. Equally clearly, such a simplistic argument is almost impossible to sustain once one considers the many counter-arguments and nuances that can be brought to bear on this debate.
Moving on to the refereed articles appearing in this issue, we start with another contribution to the perennial academic debate about the status of academic journals in the marketing field. However, the article “Empirical characteristics of `top' journals in mainstream marketing” by Göran Svensson, Terje Slåtten, Bård Tronvoll and Thomas Helgesson is not aiming to provide yet another league table of journals; rather, the purpose is to provide a profile of the kind of article that is published in the world's most prestigious academic marketing journals. The findings of this paper are not unexpected the “typical” article in a “top” marketing journal is based on quantitative empirical data collected from a single country, usually in North America. The authors contend, very reasonably, that it would be for the good if more articles included cross-cultural data, and if data from Africa and South America made far more frequent appearances in marketing research studies. (This editor cannot refrain from pointing out that two articles in this very issue of Marketing Intelligence & Planning are based on empirical data collected in Africa!)
In “Taking action: new forms of student and manager involvement in business education” Poul Houman Andersen and Morten Rask turn our attention towards the issue of how best to educate business students. It is their contention that business and marketing educators should emancipate themselves from the traditional didactic educational approach, and move in the direction of “situated learning” an action-oriented approach to learning which involves learners in the knowledge-production process.
Now on to the first of the articles in this issue that uses African data “Profiling organ donors in Egypt using intelligent modelling techniques” by M. Mostafa. The author evaluates the usefulness of four alternative quantitative techniques, namely linear discriminant analysis, logistic regression and two forms of neural networks (multi-layer perceptron and probabilistic), for profiling organ donors. It transpires that the neural networking approaches are superior to the more conventional statistical approaches in some important ways.
As I promised earlier in the editorial, in this issue we range from organ donation in Egypt to betting shops in Swansea. So, it is that with the next article, by Antje Cockrill, Mark Goode and Daniel Emberson and entitled “Servicescape matters or does it? The special case of betting shops” we find ourselves transported to the servicescape presented in three betting shops in this fine Welsh town. On the basis of a largely qualitative study, the authors conclude that the patrons of these establishments are comparatively little influenced by the servicescape, and are more concerned about the knowledgeability and helpfulness of the betting shop staff.
So to the final article in this issue, and to another empirical study based on African (in this case Tunisian) data. The title of the article, by Hafedh Ibrahim and Faouzi Najjar, reflects very clearly the content: “Assessing the effects of self-congruity, attitudes and customer satisfaction on customer behavioural intentions in retail environment”. The conclusion is that self-congruity matters in consumer store choice. The more closely a consumer's perception of a store matches their actual or desired self-image, the more likely it is that the consumer will develop positive attitudes towards the store.