Examining the academic/commercial divide in marketing research
Baines, Paul R.
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to comment on the differences in perceptions that exist between academic and professional marketing researchers, as creators of new marketing knowledge, and explore how academics and practitioners can work together better on areas of mutual interest or separately on areas where their interests do not coincide. Design/methodology/approach - The approach is via two focus groups, one with researchers in marketing from universities and one with commercial market researchers, and via online surveys of the same target groups, with 638 respondents in all. Findings - The study indicates that the two sample groups have relatively congruent views about the advantages and disadvantages of each other's approach to research but both groups believe they could do more to make their research more comprehensible and accessible to each other. Research limitations/implications - The empirical study was conducted in the UK only, and the response rate from the university marketing research community was disappointingly low. These represent limitations on the generalisability of the findings. Practical implications - It is argued that marketing research can be undertaken separately by academics and practitioner researchers but that joint working between academic and commercial marketing researchers represents another dimension to marketing research which could be facilitated by the creation of joint initiatives, including industry-inspired academic-practitioner research projects and the development of government-funded academic-practitioner research projects, building on both groups' unique sets of skills. Originality/value - The paper reports on the outcome of an empirical study that has implications for the conduct of marketing research in universities and market research agencies.