If Darwin were a marketer he wouldn’t publish in a top journal

If Darwin were a marketer he wouldn’t publish in a top journal’ – that’s the observation made by a member of the audience at a recent presentation on the criteria for publishing at top marketing publication, Journal of Marketing.

In a refreshingly frank and pragmatic session, Professor Gary Frazier, editor of the Journal of Marketing, outlined the criteria for publishing in this prestigious publication. The 3 criteria are outlined below.

#1. Novel

The journal wants to change thinking and behaviour of academics and practitioners (including policy makers). Hence, the research published in this journal needs to be new, be creative and non-obvious. When you read it, you should feel like saying ‘Wow. I didn’t know that!’.

#2. Valid

There is no preference for a particular theoretical angle or methodology approach. The journal publishes quantitative as well as qualitative research, and work using mixed methods is strongly encouraged. However, the research needs to have been carried out rigorously, from theory development, to definition of key constructs and impeccable use of the methodology.

#3. Broad appeal

The journal wants to touch a large number of scholars, managers and policy makers. So, the issue discussed and the findings need to be of interest to a broad range of stakeholders. Papers can not be focused on a single industry or very specific context, e.g., motion pictures. It was this criterion that led a member of the audience to joke that if Darwin were a marketer, he would never be able to publish in a top marketing journal. Darwin’s work was largely focused on one area – Patagonia – and a phenomenon – fossils. Can you get any more specialised than that?

Though, to be fair, even though his fieldwork had a very narrow focus, he did derive a theory of very broad relevance: Evolutionary theory. And, that is something that marketers can emulate (to publish in JM): use a specific industry as an empirical setting, but the theory developed needs to have broad application.

And here is a bonus recommendation from Professor Frazier: if you want to be cited, make sure that the paper’s title, abstract and discussion section are written very well. If it is not easily understood, it will not be picked up and cited.

This is the easy part. Now the hardest one: actually write that great paper!

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