Where is creativity in consumer research? Reflecting on creativity in academic marketing research.

Where is creativity in consumer research? Reflecting on creativity in academic marketing research.

By Dr Ben Voyer, Associate Professor at ESCP Business School

When I decided to become an academic and seriously started thinking about doctoral studies, almost 10 years ago, I thought research was the most creative exercise one could do. After all, isn’t it about generating new knowledge, going beyond what is already known? Having spent some years in the marketing industry, where I felt my daily job as a marketer was sometimes very constrained, and not really creative after all, I thought I would find infinite creativity in academic research.

Incidentally, I am currently in Vancouver, where the Association for Consumer Research conference – the largest northern-American conference dedicated to consumer research – is about to start. Conferences like ACR are always a great occasion for meeting colleagues from all around the world, and see the latest trends in marketing and consumer research.

Yet, academic conferences are not the creativity forums that they should be. I am often struck by how technical academic research has become these days. Contributions are increasingly small, because anything that goes beyond the mere addition of a variable to a model hardly gets past the peer-review process. Most importantly, many research projects seem disconnected from marketing reality.

Don’t get me wrong; I am one of the firsts to be victim of research conformism! By suggesting that research should be bolder, original and more applied, I am first in the line of my criticisms. I think consumer research and marketing need a fresh influx of creativity, exploring topics that have not been explored before, and trying to reach new knowledge with innovative methods.

Maybe we should introduce a journal dedicated to ‘creativity marketing’ or ‘new ideas in Marketing’? Could that be something for the CMC maybe?

Useful links:

MSc in Marketing & Creativity
Creative London Summer Course