rrls Marketing a Science?'' Revisited
The term "marli:eting con­
cept" probably stimulates
more interest today than
"marketing principles."
Does this less definitive
approach impair the hopes
of those who aspire to have
marketing accepted as a sci­
ence? Or ls it conceivable
that the term "science"
itself should be viewed i n a
new perspective?
This article favors the lat­
ter thesis. And this view
should encourage ma rketin9
men to employ more scien­
tific resources in quest of
more eff ective marketing
o/ M•l'l11ti•1. Vol. ft (July,
J966l , pp, •Ml.
'f HE SCIENCE of the postmodern
world will put the "ls Mar­
ketin g ft Scicnco 7" debate in a new perspective. The change
should relleve son1e of the tension of the "sch i zophrenia" resulting
Crom the two oppo$ing views.
Tomorro\v'g science will maximize the advantage or the market­
ing concept as an approach tc the study of marketing. It will
forsake Cor the moment the hope that the univee ean be described
intc predictable pattern.s. It will embrace the reality or a dynamk
world which can be explained in term• of science only provisionally.
H istory of ''Is MarketillJ( a Science?"
J n 1948 Lyndon 0. Rro1"11, in support of the emphasis g-iven
for many years by the American Marketing Association, published
an article enti tled 'Toward a Profession of Mark cting."1 He
made no cl aims for marketing as a science; but he urged tl1e
accu mulat ion of a body of knowledge, the development of an
analytical nppronch, and the sharpe11ing of research as a bnsic
Looi for management. Nonetheless, his paper I gnited the embers
of the "Is Marketing n Science 7" debate.'
PrC)bably the best report on the contemporary score is by
Robert D. Buizell.' However . in measur ing the achievements in
marketing against the standards of a science, he fi nd• much Lo
be desired. One or the contributions in Buiieli's article is a
succinct and accurate phrasing of the standards of a &eience :4
a clauifted and systematized body or knowledre.
organized around one or more central theories and a num­
ber or general principles.
usually ex·pressed in quantitative terms,
knowledge which permits the prediction and, under some
circu mstances, the control of future events.
1 Lyndon
O. Brown,
a Pr-ofession of M11.rketing,'' JO•IR.NA.L
OF MARK 8TI NC , Vol. l:l (J11ly, 1948) , pp. 27-31.
2 A rti cl es which appeared as a chain reaction to Brown's "'ore \\1roe
Aldcreon and RA.lu\'ifl Cox. "TO\\•ards a Theory of Mo rketlng,"IOUR1''AL
( October, 1948) , pp. 137-151 : Ro1and S. Vaile,
OF l\f ARh':l'!Tr NG, \'ol. 13
"Towords a 'l'heory of
Afarketing-a Comment.'' JOURNj\ L Of' MARKP.T­
INO, Vol. 13 ( A pril. 1949) . pp. 520-522 : Neal E. Miller, "Social Sci­
ence and the Art ot Advertising;• JOURNAL OP MARKL'TING, Vol . 1 4
(Janua.ry, 1950) , pp. 579-584 ; Robert T. Bartels, ••can l\.1nrketlng
Vol. l5 (Janu•r)-. 1951) ,
pp. 31 328; Kenneth 0. Hutchinson , · 1arkt>ting A.1 a Science: An
Apprats.al." JOURNAL OF MARX'P.T1XC, \;ol. 16 (Jaouar)". 1 952), pp. 2.86-293; S. F. 01..teson. editor, !llor/uting : CHn Nt ProblertU ol!UI
TUori• ( l:llCIOmlngton: Unive.nity of Indiana, 1952), pp. 11-18.
a Robt.rL 0. Bu&ull, "Is Ptif arketing a Science!" l/o;-vard Butt.ea• Rr­
icN7, Vol. 41 (January-February, 1963), pp, 32-3(i , 36, 40, 166, 168,
and 170.
"Same rclel'f!nce a& footnote 3, at 'P·32.