Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 53-73

First online:

Expanding our understanding of marketing in society

  • William L. WilkieAffiliated withUniversity of Notre Dame Email author 
  • , Elizabeth S. MooreAffiliated withUniversity of Notre Dame

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The Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science was started 40 years ago, at a time when “marketing in society” issues were capturing much attention from marketing scholars. Since that time both the field and this journal have grown and matured, but the marketing in society area has become somewhat removed from the dominant perspectives of marketing scholarship. This paper provides an historical perspective on these developments and offers an examination of the fundamental role of societal interests in our field. Six basic topics are explored: (1) the hundred years of history of marketing thought development, as reflected in the “4 Eras” of marketing thought; (2) the ebbs and flows of attention to marketing in society topics during these 4 Eras; (3) two illustrations of difficulties brought about by this area’s move to sideline status in the field; (4) our concept of the “aggregate marketing system” as a basis for appreciating the centrality of this research area for the field of marketing; (5) the nature of marketing in society research today; and (6) a discussion of several research challenges and opportunities for the future.


Marketing history Academic marketing Marketing in society Definition of marketing Public policy research Aggregate marketing system