Evolution of Marketing Thought and Practice - History of the Finnish Marketing Industry 1883–2020

dc.contributorAalto Universityen
dc.contributor.authorHaavisto, Sari
dc.contributor.departmentAalto University Executive Education - Aalto EEfi
dc.contributor.departmentAalto University Executive Education - Aalto EEen
dc.contributor.schoolMuut ja erillisyksikötfi
dc.contributor.schoolOther units and institutesen
dc.description.abstractThis study gives a rich description and an historical analysis of how the Finnish marketing industry evolved, with a specific focus on advertising and media agencies. It comprises seven narratives that trace its development from the first advertising agency, which was established in 1883, to the complex marketing industry it had become by 2020. The rich descriptions in the seven narratives constitute first main contribution of the study to the history of marketing thought and practice. The qualitative analysis of empirical data produced multi-layers of practice and praxis among key practitioners in Finnish marketing and various stakeholders. Meticulous longitudinal assessment and the triangulation of sources from archived material were synthesized to show how the industry was organized, and to identify the key ideas that underpinned the collaboration among agencies, their customers and other relevant actors. The second main contribution is the novel, practice-based periodization in the evolution of the Finnish marketing industry that the seven narratives, respectively, demonstrate: 1) 1883–1919 (Courageous Convincing); 2) 1920–1938 (Glory and Reasoning); 3) 1939–1944 (Defending Finland During the War Years); 4) 1945–1970 (United and Torn); 5) 1971–1990 (Capturing the Media and Liberating Creativity); 6) 1991–2006 (Old Giants Fail and Newcomers Win); and 7) 2007–2020 (Technology Overwhelms). The periodization reflects the unique socio-political and cultural context in which the multiple players affected how the agency business changed. It also incorporates aspects such as changing consumer behaviour, media consumption habits, developments in market research and technical communication, as well as the pivotal events that affected the marketing industry. The narratives, together with the respective analyses, the conclusions, the general and overarching findings, provide answers to the five research questions set for the study. In terms of theoretical application, the marketing-as-practice (MAP) approach served to identify the central elements of this evolution, together with three key concepts (practitioner, practice and praxis) from strategy-as-practice (SAP) research. The constructed framework, with its comprehensive research questions, evolved from several levels and units of analysis. It provides an historical account of the practices and praxis of marketing practitioners in the Finnish context, adding a longitudinal dimension to MAP research. The period-specific narratives and analyses provide rich insights into what marketing work is, how it has remained the same and how it has changed. The chosen interpretative approach suited the researcher’s interpretivist epistemological stance. Interpretations of the actions of key practitioners in the marketing industry were based on an understanding of their historically embedded social interaction. The seven chronological narratives trace the development of the Finnish marketing industry. They also highlight the key practitioners, both individual and institutional, particularly in the analyses of each era. They describe the work carried out by the practitioners – the practices, and what constituted “doing marketing” in terms of social practice. Furthermore, light is shed on the essence of agency work in marketing. These aspects are scrutinized further from a longitudinal perspective in the overarching findings related to the five research questions. The findings of the study are multidimensional. The terminology used and perceptions of what comprised marketing changed during the period under investigation. European, British, and American marketing practices, research and education influenced the Finnish pioneer admen. The early adopters acquired valuable marketing knowledge and were keen to promote further academic research and education relevant to the Finnish context. Reclamare (marketing) was a catalyst for building Finnish society through strengthening the economy. The first marketing practitioners acknowledged the need for a market orientation, market research and customer satisfaction as a tool for repeat business and to enhance societal welfare. The study findings reveal the reciprocal relationship among multiple key marketing practitioners and institutions. They also show how external marketing practitioners affected agency business: they were as important as the internal practitioners, although the clients were the most relevant actors. The results further illustrate how an industry can, with reciprocal effort, ensure the growth of the economy and of society. Overall, marketing is a business area that has had tremendous successes as well as dismal failures. As the analysis revealed, practices that are believed to be globally applied may differ depending on the location. Legal restrictions vary and may strongly affect marketing creativity, as well as media selection. The narratives trace the emergence of media agencies in Finland, and how this restructured the marketing industry. Marketing practitioners in media agencies with analytical and mathematical expertise, tools and data repositories became crucial contributors to ensuring the efficient and effective use of media among marketers: as partners they have, in some cases, become more valuable than the advertising agencies. The later narratives reveal the effect of developments in the international marketing industry and its arrival in Finland. They illustrate the complexity of the agency business, and show how the ownership structures and naming policies of the agencies are in a similar state of constant flux as the marketing business. All in all, this study depicts the intertwining of agencies with their key clients. In addition, associations, the media and the different institutions have had an impact on how the agencies developed their business.The contribution of this study to practical marketing management lies in the potential competitive advantages that would allow agencies to succeed; in the six clear and consistent proposals for personnel management; and in suggesting ways in which marketers could build on their capabilities when choosing an agency as a partner in marketing activities.en
dc.identifier.isbn978-952-64-0568-1 (electronic)
dc.identifier.isbn978-952-64-0569-8 (printed)
dc.identifier.issn1799-4829 (electronic)
dc.identifier.issn1799-4810 (printed)
dc.identifier.issn1799-4810 (ISSN-L)
dc.publisherAalto Universityen
dc.relation.ispartofseriesAalto University publication series BUSINESS + ECONOMYen
dc.subject.keywordFinnish marketing industryen
dc.subject.keywordhistory of marketing, history of marketing thought, history of marketing practice, advertising agency, media agencyen
dc.titleEvolution of Marketing Thought and Practice - History of the Finnish Marketing Industry 1883–2020en
dc.typeD4 Julkaistu kehittämis- tai tutkimusraportti tai -selvitysfi
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