Strategic Marketing for the C-Suite: A Review of the Research Literature and its Relevance to Senior Executives Foundations and Trends in Marketing (forthcoming)
The relevance of academic research to marketing practitioners has been openly questioned in the literature. Do papers in leading journals provide useful frameworks, conclusions and recommendations for marketing practitioners? Or is the gap between academia and practice simply too wide? More specifically, is academic research useful for those senior executives charged with developing strategy and delivering results for their organization—colloquially known as the C-suite—the decision-makers who also determine the status of marketing within their organization? To answer this question, I review the strategic marketing literature to understand what we have learned over the decade from 2004 to 2014 and to assess the relevance of this learning to the C-suite. Contrary to the assertion that this literature has little to say to practitioners, I find many valuable bodies of knowledge on themes of high relevance to the C-suite, from which I draw conclusions in five important domains. These are the financial impact of marketing, digital marketing, innovation, marketing capabilities and societal concerns. While the advances in research in these domains over the decade are impressive, I conclude that where marketing as an academic discipline has to do better is communicating these insights to the highest levels of business.