Edited by Barbara Czarniawska
Chapter 3: From marketing to ‘market-things’ and ‘market-ITing’: accounting for technicized and digitalized consumption
Like the queen-witch of Snow White facing her mirror, marketing is a reflexive entity, which ceaselessly questions itself. It does so for instance in order to assess its scientific character (Buzzel, 1963) or to evaluate the limits and potential of its own market. Along such lines, one of the reflexive questions marketing repeatedly asks about itself is: what’s next for the discipline (Tucker, 1974; Möller and Halinen, 2000; Ballantyne and Varey, 2008; Cova and Cova, 2012)? This is a highly relevant question, since it engages marketing’s fate, but this question must be endlessly repeated, as, given the changing nature of the market and the inherent elusive character of consumption (Ekström and Brembeck, 2004), it can only receive speculative and temporary answers. A further and even more serious problem with this question is how it should and could be answered. Most of the time, marketing develops a one-sided approach of consumption issues. For marketers, solving consumption puzzles equates studying consumer behavior. Marketing has an incredibly sharp view, but this view is extremely focused, as if an amazingly precise microscope was used to look at no-thing, except always the same single object. Marketing looks at the consumer, but in so doing it often forgets to look at what the consumer looks at (Cochoy, 2010). As a consequence, marketing tends to envision its future by repeatedly proposing new conceptualizations of the consumer, without realizing that the necessity to revise the theory of the consumer largely rests on external mechanisms and configurations.
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