The obstacles to marketing thinking

Mark E. Hill, John McGinnis, Jane Cromartie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose - This paper seeks to examine the pivotal guiding role of "marketing thinking" in an organization, to identify the obstacles to marketing thinking, explaining how they hinder its implementation, and offering strategies to minimize those negative effects, and thereby, to enable improved marketing thinking and enhanced performance. Design/methodology/approach - Relevant literature is synthesized, to derive a definition of marketing thinking before a conceptual framework is developed, on the basis of which to discuss the potential obstacles. Findings - In viewing marketing thinking as type of questioning, potential obstacles are found to be: what is "familiar" typical questioning practices, and a "static" orientation. Identification and examination of the source and impact of each obstacle can in turn allow for enhanced understanding of both the detrimental effects and the potential benefits of effective counter-action. Research limitations/implications - Three types of obstacles to marketing thinking are identified and discussed, but there is no intended implication that only those three exist. If marketing planners will treat marketing thinking as a type of questioning behavior, the identification of additional obstacles is not only possible but likely. Future research can move the agenda in that direction. Practical implications - Understanding marketing thinking as a special type of questioning is key to developing strategies and plans which allow for maintaining a meaningfully differentiated position in a constantly changing environment of continuously differentiated products and services. Confronting the obstacles to marketing thinking will facilitate that objective. Originality/value - New strategies are offered to enable practitioners to work around the obstacles to marketing thinking, thereby improving its value as a tool in marketing intelligence and planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 31 May 2007


  • Marketing
  • Marketing intelligence
  • Marketing planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Thinking


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