Why the Journal of Marketing is Important to the Marketing Discipline and a Preview of Our Editorial Philosophy

Christine Moorman, Harald van Heerde, C. Page Moreau, and Robert W. Palmatier


Key Takeaways
Moorman, van Heerde, Moreau, and Palmatier explain why the Journal of Marketing is important to the Marketing discipline and share their editorial philosophy in advance of taking over the leadership of the journal.

​We are honored and excited to have the opportunity to lead the Journal of Marketing (JM). We have received many questions from authors about our directions for the journal and therefore thought it would be useful to share a preview of our editorial approach before our formal transition this summer.

We begin by describing the key strengths that differentiate JM from other journals in the marketing discipline. These strengths point to a unique and important role for the journal that we wholeheartedly embrace and will leverage during our tenure. This is followed by short discussion of our editorial philosophy, including our values, our focus, and several important initiatives we plan to pursue.

Why JM is Important to the Marketing Discipline

The Real World of Marketing. JM is the marketing discipline’s premier journal exclusively focused on substantive marketing questions.1 The Oxford English Dictionary defines “substantive” as having a “…basis in reality and therefore important, meaningful, or considerable.” This substantive focus means JM research examines real-world marketing questions.

While other journals point to an emphasis on real-world marketing problems—this is JM’s raison d’être. This means that theories are grounded in important marketing problems, that models are in the service of marketing questions, and that research offers implications for firms, policy makers, or society.2

We see many benefits to this substantive focus. First, the field’s most interesting and important questions arise from the confluence of theory and the real world of marketing. Second, a focus on the real-world means that JM papers have more freedom to defy conventions to generate unique insights into marketing problems and questions. This includes developing what previous editors have called “indigenous,” “home-grown” (Rust 2006), or “organic” (Kohli 2009) theories and concepts about marketing. Third, JM papers can serve as a source of objective, scientific, and evidence-based guidance for practitioners seeking to solve real-world marketing problems in firm, policy, and broader societal settings. As marketing’s role in the world increases, this real-world focus puts JM in the strongest position to understand and improve marketing’s contributions.

The Discipline’s Biggest Tent. JM is, without a doubt, the broadest premier journal in the marketing discipline. JM publishes papers on the most comprehensive set of topics, covering all consumer, policy, strategic, and broader societal issues relevant to marketing questions. JM’s breadth is also reflected in the widest array of data and methods, including lab experiments, field experiments, quasi-experiments, surveys, ethnographies, depth interviews, use of archival or secondary data, analytical models with policy simulations, and a range of statistical and econometric approaches. JM’s breadth is also evident by its openness to research involving a wide array of units of analysis, including individual, dyad, group, firm, inter-firm, network, market, and country levels. JM can take this big-tent stance given it puts the contribution to marketing ahead of other disciplinary fads.

Big Marketing Ideas. JM’s thought-leading reputation has been built over the last 82 years by publishing the most influential research in the discipline. This includes conceptual articles that have led the field in new directions on topics such as the domain of marketing, brand equity, customer loyalty, customer equity, service quality, service-dominant logic, the marketing-finance interface, and market orientation. It also includes articles that challenge the discipline with new practices and new metrics—both valued contributions at JM. Finally, JM has a history of publishing papers that broaden the domain of marketing. For all these reasons, JM papers are highly cited—these big ideas have stimulated thought, impacted practice, and generated a strong following.

Biggest Impact. JM’s focus on thought leadership and breadth has produced papers that have the largest and broadest impact in the discipline. JM papers reach more readers and are more heavily cited than other top marketing journals. Among the top marketing journals, JM has the largest number of non-academic subscribers, including those focused on managing marketing in companies, adjudicating on public policies related to marketing, and thinking through marketing’s role in society. JM offers authors the biggest opportunity to reach more people with their research.

Our Editorial Philosophy

Given this positioning, we will adopt the following guidelines for processing papers at JM:

1. We are open to any paper that contributes to substantive research focused on marketing issues and questions relevant to firms, policy makers, and society.3 Our editorial team reflects our commitment to this position. The Editor in Chief will process papers across the broad spectrum of the discipline, while the three co-editors will handle papers in their areas of expertise.

2. We will manage JM as the big-tent journal that is the leading voice for substantive issues in marketing, regardless of topic, method, or unit of analysis selected. Authors can count on an agnostic treatment of their papers.

3. Authors are welcome to submit papers using unconventional theoretical and methodological approaches to generate unique insights into marketing problems and questions. Likewise, authors do not have to follow a generic template; instead, the approach selected should match the paper’s objectives and should produce insight.

4. Our editorial stance will focus on objectivity and fairness. It will be developmental in orientation and we will not count votes. Instead, we will look for papers that have the potential to contribute and we will work with authors to reach the finish line. Like all innovations, big ideas are often rejected because they require changing ideas and practices in the field. We welcome such ideas.

5. Authors should use methods that offer an appropriate test of their ideas. While methods and models should be rigorous, we aim to ensure that models are deployed in the service of a marketing question, which is the focus of JM (see also Lehmann, McAlister, and Staelin 2011).

6. We will seek to increase the number of papers published in each issue while maintaining quality.

7. We will build on JM’s strong legacy of thought leadership by publishing several special issues on pressing problems facing marketing as well as a small number of papers that involve teams of experts teaching the field about important topics or offering research directions on important and under-developed issues in the discipline. Details about the initiatives will be announced after we have assumed our editorial positions. We will also support the development of conceptual papers—a key component of JM’s historical legacy in the discipline.

8. Although JM has the widest reach across stakeholders, we plan several programs to build on this strength and give authors an even larger platform to promote their research. Stay tuned for more details.

9. Thought leadership drives measured outcomes, such as submissions, citations, and media mentions, all of which we expect to increase with our editorial approach.

We look forward to working with authors, reviewers, and associate editors in our roles as coeditors. Our broad team welcomes a diverse array of high-impact papers to engage with the Journal of Marketing in pursuit of these editorial objectives. We think this approach is good for JM and good for marketing. Join us!


Kohli, Ajay (2009), “From the Editor,” Journal of Marketing, 73 (January), 1-2.

Lehmann, Donald R., Leigh McAlister, and Richard Staelin (2011), “Sophistication in Research in Marketing,” Journal of Marketing, 75 (4), 155-165.

Rust, Roland (2006), “From the Editor: The Maturation of Marketing as an Academic Discipline," Journal of Marketing, 70 (July), 1-2.


1. The AMA states that JM’s formal mission is: “(1) to advance the science and practice of marketing (to make a difference by adding to what we know about marketing phenomena and changing how we study and practice marketing) and (2) to serve as a bridge between the scholarly and the practical, each of which has a vital stake in what’s happening on the other side.” Our focus on substantive research in marketing includes the practical while also enlarging it to include real-world marketing problems for firms, policy makers, and society.

2. We use the term “society” to refer to collectives of individuals, including consumers, who are engaged with and influenced by the practice of marketing.

3. We offer two criteria to guide consumer researchers considering whether to send their research to JM. First, your research should examine individuals or organizations engaged in the acquisition, consumption, and disposition of goods, services, and experiences as well as informational activities occurring in these settings. These activities may be the concern of for-profit or non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other non-governmental societal stakeholders and these consumer or customer roles should be central to the research. Second, as with all JM research, your research should be informative to or actionable by firms, policy makers, and societal stakeholders engaged with marketing in the real world. For marketing modelers, it is essential that the model is deployed in the service of a marketing problem and that the work is accessible to readers seeking insight into marketing problems.

Christine Moorman, Harald van Heerde, C. Page Moreau, and Robert W. Palmatier
Christine Moorman is the T. Austin Finch Senior Professor of business administration at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and Editor in Chief designate for the Journal of Marketing.<br><br> Harald van Heerde is Research Professor of Marketing and MSA Charitable Trust Chair in Marketing at Massey University and a coeditor designate.<br><br> C. Page Moreau is the John R. Nevin Professor of Marketing and Executive Director of the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a coeditor designate.<br><br> Robert W. Palmatier is Professor of Marketing and John C. Narver Chair of Business Administration at the University of Washington and a coeditor designate.