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Journal of Marketing Management, 1998, vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 451-464


Any academic discipline with a closely associated area of professional endeavour is profoundly affected by the relationship between its theory and practice. Synchrony in theory and practice adds value to the management of enterprise and to the advance of the discipline. Mindful of this assertion, this article explores the changing nature of theory and practice in marketing. It examines current trends in marketing practice which are occurring as a result of change in markets, technology and organisations. It assesses the state of theory in six subfields of marketing. It also considers developments in closely related management disciplines as well as in a number of cognate fields. The authors suggest there is considerable asynchrony at the moment and that this is, in general, bad for both theorist and practitioner: doldrums in the marketing academy and the threatened end of the marketing department in business. To restore greater synchrony with practice, it is argued that marketing theory needs not just to deal with the new realities of marketing but also to develop its theories of markets, managing and organisation.


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