Skip to Content Skip to Footer
Creating Boundary-Breaking Marketing-Relevant Consumer Research

Creating Boundary-Breaking Marketing-Relevant Consumer Research

Deborah J. MacInnis, Vicki G. Morwitz, Simona Botti, Donna L. Hoffman, Robert V. Kozinets, Donald R. Lehmann, John Lynch and Cornelia (Connie) Pechmann

JM Insights in the Classroom

Teaching Insights

The field of consumer behavior has developed a set of implicit boundaries about what we study, why we do so and how we execute our research which limits our impact on marketplace stakeholders and academics in other disciplines. Breaking these boundaries can broaden our impact.

We offer a conceptual framework that details implicit boundaries and ways of breaking them. We offer guidance to authors by (a) describing 5 case studies that are exemplars of our ideas (b) articulating activities that researchers and gatekeepers can engage in to foster impact, and (c) noting other exemplar articles that have broken boundaries.

Breaking the boundaries we describe when engaging in consumer research benefits individual consumer researchers and the field of consumer behavior.


Access Classroom Lecture Slides

Related Marketing Courses: ​
Consumer Behavior

Full Citation: ​
MacInnis, Deborah, Vicki G. Morwitz, Simona Botti, Donna Hoffman, Robert Kozinets, Donald R. Lehmann, John G. Lynch, Jr.,Connie Pechmann (2020), “Creating Boundary-Breaking Marketing-Relevant Consumer Research,” Journal of Marketing, 84(2), 1–23.

Article Abstract
Consumer research often fails to have broad impact on members of our own discipline, on adjacent disciplines studying related phenomena, and on relevant stakeholders who stand to benefit from the knowledge created by our rigorous research. We propose that impact is limited because consumer researchers have adhered to a set of implicit boundaries or defaults regarding what we study, why we study it, and how we do so. We identify these boundaries and describe how they can be challenged. We show that boundary-breaking marketing-relevant consumer research can impact relevant stakeholders (including academics in our own discipline and allied ones, and a wide range of marketplace actors including business practitioners, policymakers, the media, and society) by detailing five articles and identifying others that have had such influence. Based on these articles, we articulate what researchers can do to break boundaries and enhance the impact of their research. We also indicate why engaging in boundary-breaking work and enhancing the breadth of our influence is good for both individual researchers and the fields of consumer research and marketing.

Special thanks to Kelley Gullo and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program. 

Search other Insights in the Classroom​

Read a managerial summary of this paper.

More from the Journal of Marketing​​​​​​​

Deborah J. MacInnis is Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA.

Vicki G. Morwitz is Bruce Greenwald Professor of Business and Professor of Marketing, Columbia Business School, Columbia University, USA.

Simona Botti is Professor of Marketing, London Business School, UK.

Donna L. Hoffman is Louis Rosenfeld Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Marketing, George Washington School of Business, George Washington University, USA.

Robert V. Kozinets is Jayne and Hans Hufschmid Chair of Digital Business Communication, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, USA.

Donald R. Lehmann is George E. Warren Professor of Business and Chair of the Marketing Department, Columbia University, USA.

Cornelia (Connie) Pechmann is Professor of Marketing, Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, USA.