Assessing Performance Outcomes in Marketing

Constantine S. Katsikeas, Neil A. Morgan, Leonidas C. Leonidou, and G. Tomas M. Hult
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Key Takeaways

Significant problems exist with the conceptualization and operationalization of marketing activities' performance outcomes.

This studies identifies performance areas in which empirical knowledge of marketing's impact is limited or absent.

This study provides actionable guidelines for researchers and a roadmap for improving research practice.

Article Snapshots: Executive Summaries from the Journal of Marketing

An assessment of performance outcome measures in marketing reveals significant problems with how such outcomes are conceptualized and operationalized and performance areas in which empirical knowledge of marketing's impact is limited.


A key precursor to accurately diagnosing the value firms' marketing creates is conceptualizing and operationalizing appropriate ways to assess performance outcomes. Yet there has been little conceptual development and no systematic examination of how researchers should conceptualize and measure the performance outcomes associated with firms' marketing. This deficiency has limited knowledge development because researchers have lacked a well-defined, theoretically anchored framework for developing valid measures of the performance outcomes that may be associated with firms' marketing activities.

  • LISTEN: Coauthors Tomas Hult and Neil Morgan discuss why it was important to conduct an assessment of performance outcomes in marketing; the inclusion of a “theory-based performance evaluation framework” to guide companies and researchers; and some of the core guidelines forcompanies and researchers.


We develop a theory-based performance evaluation framework, considering  theoretical rationale, conceptual approach to the treatment of performance, aspects of performance, referents, and time horizon, and examine the assessment of such outcomes in 998 empirical studies published in the top 15 marketing journals during the 1981–2014 period. We developed and used a coding protocol specifying the information to be extracted from each article The coding of each article was conducted by two coders and particular attention given to ensuring consistency and reliability in the process.


The Marketing-Performance Outcome Chain and Exemplar Measures


The results reveal a large number of different performance outcome measures used in prior empirical research that may only be weakly related to one another, making it difficult to synthesize findings across studies. In addition, we identify significant problems in how performance outcomes in marketing are commonly conceptualized and operationalized. The findings also reveal several theoretically and managerially important performance areas in which empirical knowledge of marketing's impact is limited or absent.


Llittle is known about various aspects of marketing's performance outcomes (e.g.,  growth, brand equity, CLV), providing fruitful research opportunities. The marketing–performance outcome chain we develop offers important new operational performance "mechanism" insights for researchers in other disciplines (e.g., strategic management, international business) focused on understanding organizational performance. Actionable guidelines for researchers are provided for improving research practice, enabling the synthesis of future findings on the performance outcomes of marketing across studies.

Questions for the Classroom

  • Discuss the key components of the marketing-performance outcome chain, how these may be connected to each other, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of the various types of performance outcome measures.
  • What are the main problems that have been identified in the assessment of marketing performance outcome measures used in empirical studies?
  • What are the guidelines for researchers in an effort to improve research practice in the marketing field and how can these guidelines be applied to marketing and other disciplines (e.g., management, strategy, operations, economics, finance)?​

Full Article
Constantine S. Katsikeas, Neil A. Morgan, Leonidas C. Leonidou, and G. Tomas M. Hult (2015), "Assessing Performance Outcomes in Marketing," Journal of Marketing, 80(2), 1-20​.

Constantine S. Katsikeas is Arnold Ziff Endowed Research Chair in Marketing & International Management, Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds (e-mail:

Neil A. Morgan is PetSmart, Inc. Distinguished Professor in Marketing Chair and Professor of Marketing, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (e-mail:

Leonidas C. Leonidou is Professor of Marketing, School of Economics and Management, University of Cyprus (

G. Tomas M. Hult is Byington Endowed Chair and Professor, International Business Director, International Business Center (MSU-CIBER), The Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University (e-mail:

Author Bio:

Constantine S. Katsikeas, Neil A. Morgan, Leonidas C. Leonidou, and G. Tomas M. Hult
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