Many of these tools and the ideas taught around them are creatures of their context. Some, for instance, were developed when the business world was dominated by Western manufacturing companies. They are probably not directly applicable to service companies in, say, China or India with very different assumptions and outlooks.

Just as important is the historical context of the codification of much that is taught as marketing theory. It is routinely suggested, for instance, that there was an evolution of marketing thought. This unsophisticated outlook suggests that in the industrial revolution (the “manufacturing phase”) markets were growing very fast and companies could sell all they could make. This was followed by a “sales phase” but markets became saturated and so a “marketing phase” emerged, largely in America, in the mid 20th century (see, for instance, Dibb, S., Simkin, L., Pride, W.M, and Ferrell, O.C., 2006).

Unfortunately this simply does not fit with the historical evidence. Sophisticated branded marketing and advertising were used in various countries from at least the 1700s. Business leaders like Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, Robert Woodruff, and Henry Heinz used well rounded marketing programmes to gain insight into customer needs and to build brands. In many cases they created markets or developed nascent opportunities. Marketing text books existed from the early 1900s and there were effective marketing and advertising consultants, certainly ...

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