Outside-In Marketing


Theory and Practice, Special issue of Industrial Marketing Management; Deadline 31 May 2020


Call for Papers

Theory and Practice of Outside-in Marketing

Deadline for submission: May 31, 2020

Industrial Marketing Management announces the call for papers for a special issue on theory and practice of outside-in marketing.

Overview and Purpose of the special issue

“We are at the very point in time when a 400-year old age is dying and another is struggling to be born, a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced (Dee Hock, Founder & CEO—Visa).” The complexity, velocity and dynamism of technological and market changes present numerous challenge to our dominant view on firm theory and competitive advantage. Thus, researchers have called for new perspectives in the theory of the firm and competitive advantage. In recent years, outside-in thinking has gained significant traction in marketing and other disciplines (Day 1994, 2011; Day and Moorman, 2010; Gulati, 2013; Moorman and Day, 2016; Mu, 2015; Mu et al. 2018; Saeed et al. 2015). An outside-in view assumes that superior performance might lie outside of firm boundaries (Day, 2011) and opens pathways for understanding how different participants inside and outside the firm interact and create value (Mu, 2015). In practice, outside-in thinking gains incredible attention in management consulting, executive training, and a lot of web buzz if we google search outside-in. Experts in practice have published books to advocate outside-in thinking and outside-in marketing (e.g., Mathewson and Moran, 2016; Mathewson et al. 2010; Manning et al. 2012). CEOs also advocate the power of outside-in thinking. For example, former GE CEO Jack Welch proclaimed “Outside-in is a powerful idea.”

In the past three decades, scholars have taken an inside-out perspective in analyzing firm performance, predominantly through the resource-based view of the firm (e.g., Barney, 2001). This stream of work emphasizes the role of firm resources as the basis for competitive advantage and performance superiority. However, possession of resources does not guarantee creation of sustainable competitive advantage (Priem & Butler 2001). While the dynamic capability perspective overcomes the limitations of the resource-based view by emphasizing the capabilities of resource acquisition and deployment (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000), it suffers from an implicit myopia in that these capabilities are organizational routines (Day, 2011).

The outside-in approach stands in sharp contrast with the inside-out mindset, which focuses on using existing firm resources and competencies to achieve competitive advantages. The growing gap between firm theory, management practice and dynamic changes in technology and marketplace is unquestionably costing firms profitability now and competitiveness in the future (Day, 2011; Mu, 2015). Scholars thus have called for the development of an outside-in perspective to analyze firm capability, resource deployment and performance advantage in an increasingly open and complex market environment (Day 1994, 2011; Day and Moorman, 2010; Moorman and Day, 2016; Mu, 2015, Mu et al. 2018). Against this backdrop, this special issue calls for empirical and conceptual papers, which will explore and analyze the theory and practice of outside-in thinking and marketing in firm behavior and competitive advantage. More specifically, this special issue welcomes scholars from multiple disciplines and backgrounds to conceptualize and develop theoretical and empirical work on outside-in thinking and outside-in marketing. It encourages the development of frameworks that, naturally, push the discovery process towards interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research agendas.?The objective of this special issue is to encourage and facilitate dialogue among these, otherwise disconnected, research communities and to dwell on the emerging issues that the onset of the outside-in thinking stimulates.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The theoretical foundation of outside-in marketing and outside-in thinking
  • The technological foundation of outside-in marketing and outside-in thinking
  • Outside-in marketing and content marketing
  • Outside-in marketing and big data analytics
  • Outside-in marketing and inside-out marketing
  • Outside-in marketing and competitive advantage
  • Outside-in marketing, consumer journey, and customer engagement
  • Outside-in marketing and social networks
  • Outside-in marketing and branding in traditional media and social media
  • Leadership, cultural transformation, and outside-in marketing
  • Employee behavior and outside-in marketing
  • Outside-in marketing and digital transformation
  • Outside-in marketing, machine learning, mixed reality, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing
  • Partner-linking, market-sensing, and outside-in marketing
  • Customer experience, marketing learning, branding strategy, marketing strategic choices, competition moves, product life cycle, online and offline business models, and outside-in marketing
  • Process innovation, quality improvement, cost reduction, adaptation and anticipation, resource acquisition, knowledge creation and transfer, production cost control, and outside-in marketing
  • Velocity, complexity, fragmentation or dynamism of the market, and outside-in marketing
  • New product development and outside-in marketing

We invite and encourage marketing researchers to contribute to this special issue –independent of research tradition or community – and to participate in moving and advancing outside-in thinking and marketing and to lift the gaze beyond the known comfort zone. As scholars of marketing and practitioners, we face the challenge to develop understandings of what is to come by utilizing theories, approaches and methodologies of yesterday on contemporary phenomena. To be successful in this endeavor and to ensure relevance and significance we perhaps need to challenge ourselves to do a makeover. We have to elaborate and propose new frameworks, concepts, theories and perhaps assumptions in order to be at the forefront in many years to come and beyond.

Manuscripts should comply with the scope, standards, format and editorial policy of the Industrial Marketing Management. All papers must be submitted through the official IMM submission system. When you get to the step in the process that asks you for the type of paper, select?SI:?Theory and Practice of Outside-in Marketing. All papers will be reviewed through a double-blind peer review process. In preparation of their manuscripts, authors are asked to follow the Author Guidelines closely. A guide for authors, sample articles and other relevant information for submitting papers are available at:


Please address all questions to the guest editor(s):


Barney, J. B. (2001). Is the resource-based theory a useful perspective for strategic management research? Yes". Academy of Management Review, 26(1), 41–56.

Day, G. S. & Moorman, C. (2010). Strategy from the Outside-In: Profiting from Customer Value. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Day, G. S. (1994). The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(October), 37 – 52.

Day, G. S. (2011). Closing the marketing capabilities gap. Journal of Marketing, 75(July), 183 – 195.

Gulati, R. (2013). From inside-out to outside in thinking, HBS professor in Economic Times Corporate Dossier of 10 May 2013

Eisenhardt, K. M., & Martin, J. A. (2000). Dynamic capabilities: what are they? Strategic management journal, 21 (10-11), 1105 – 1121.

Manning, H., Bodine, K., & Bernoff, J., (2012). Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business (1st Edition): New Harvest. https://www.amazon.com/Outside-Putting-Customers-Center-Business/dp/1491514221

Mathewson,?J., & Moran, M., (2016). Outside-In Marketing: Using Big Data to Guide your Content Marketing:?IBM Press.

Mathewson,?J.,?Donatone,?F., Fishel, C. (2010). Audience, Relevance, and Search: Targeting Web Audiences with Relevant Content: IBM Press.

Moorman, C., & Day, G. S. (2016). Organizing for marketing excellence. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), 6-35.

Mu, J. (2015). Marketing capability, organizational adaptation and new product development performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 49, 151–166.

Mu, J., Bao, K., Sekhon, T., Qi, J., & Love, E. (2018). Outside-in marketing capability and firm performance, Industrial Marketing Management, in press.

Priem, R. L., & Butler, J. E. (2001). Is the resource-based view a useful perspective for strategic management research? Academy of Management Review, 26, 22 – 40.

Saeed, S., Yousafzai, S., Paladino, A., & De Luca, L. M. (2015). Inside-out and outside-in orientations: A meta-analysis of orientation’s effects on innovation and firm performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 47(4), 121–133.