Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business


Continuing Education

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Wright


In the 50 year period since the marketing concept was first introduced to business strategy, we have witnessed a shift from the post-World War 2 austerity of supply shortages, to a modern day consumerist society, where maturing markets and an excess supply of goods and services pose serious challenges, in a highly competitive business environment. As competition has intensified, businesses have endeavoured to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Billions of dollars have been invested in research to gain an insight in to what motivates a highly sophisticated and increasingly cynical consumer. These challenges have been exacerbated since 2008, by the worst global recession since the 1920s. Businesses have cut costs to the bone, and it is apparent that in order to survive, a focus on new market opportunities is required. The confluence of these events suggests a marketing-centric business strategy is vital to identify new growth areas.

This study contends that marketing has not benefitted from these economic, cultural and environmental shifts. An examination of existing and empirical mixed method research conducted for this study suggests marketing is suffering from an image problem within the business environment, and from a consumer perspective. Rather than driving business strategy, this research posits that the influence of Marketing within an organisation is limited. From the perspective of senior management, the marketing function is seen to lack accountability. As such, in times of recession, marketing budgets are often cut before the budgets of almost all other departments. From a consumer perspective, it appears from this research that Marketing is often viewed as an intrusive, manipulative medium for unscrupulous businesses, and is to be treated with suspicion.

The findings of this research indicates that Marketing activities should be metrics-based, to overcome the perceived lack of accountability internally. A reassessment of Marketing qualifications and training may be required, to increase the skill set of Marketers. New online marketing tools such as social media are also required to engage in a dialogue with consumers who are genuinely interested in the product or service, rather than the traditional interruptive one-size-fits-all approach. The researcher believes this study offers relevant and useful insights for Marketing practitioners, researchers, and academics as regards the value of Marketing, and how it is currently perceived, from both an organisational and consumer perspective. VIII


A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the Requirements of the degree of: Masters in Business Studies

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