Troubled Waters: The Transformation of Marketing in a Digital World

L. Quinn, Sally Dibb, Lyndon Simkin, A. Canhoto, M. Analogbei

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)
    86 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: We establish how strategic target-market selection decisions are shaped, challenged and driven in response to the rapidly-evolving technological landscape. We critically evaluate the implications of these changes for: (a) the role of marketers, and (b) the organizational function of marketing. Design/methodology/approach: The research uses qualitative methods. Key-informant interviews are conducted among senior organizational practitioners within client-side organizations, digital agencies and strategic marketing consultancies, seeking to contrast their views. Findings: The findings reveal an erosion of responsibility for the integrated strategic role of marketing decision-making. In particular, we reveal that the evolving digital landscape has precipitated a sense of crisis for marketers, and the role of marketing within the firm. This extends beyond simply remedying a skills-gap and is triggering a transformation that has repercussions for the future of marketing and its practice, thus diminishing functional accountability. Research limitations/implications: The findings have long-term implications for marketing as a strategic organizational function of the firm and for marketing as a practice. Originality/value: The study considers an increasingly digitalized marketplace and the associated impact of big data for the function of marketing. It reveals the changing scope of strategic marketing practice and functional accountability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2103-2133
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number12
    Early online date14 Nov 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Big Data
    • Digitalization
    • Target-Market Strategy
    • Analytics


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