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Measures of marketing success



Publishing details

Centre for Marketing Working Paper

Authors / Editors

Ambler T;Kokkinaki F

Publication Year



Success depends on which criteria are selected and performance benchmarks are adopted. A mismatch of the meaning of success, as perceived by researcher and the firms researched, renders research less relevant and possibly, where the firm's resources are not directed at the goals selected by the researcher, misleading. This paper is concerned with the dependent variables used for business or marketing success, not its drivers, in seven leading journals. 11.5% of the articles (30% in the Journal of Marketing) considered success in any form. Sales (22% of articles with any success criteria) and market share (17%) prove to be the most frequently used measures, followed by profit contribution and brand preference/purchase intent (11% each). Researchers used the firms' competitors as benchmarks in 76% of those articles, with achievement of the firm's own objectives (plan or prior year) in only 11.5%. Fewer than 10% (20% in Journal of Marketing) attempted to reconcile the researchers' opinions, of what constituted success, with their respondents'. These findings are contrasted with performance measurement considerations from the literature. Researchers are not being judgmental, i.e. defining what should constitute success. Nevertheless, if they are concerned with relevance, they should be thoughtful in their selection of marketing performance objectives, i.e. the outcomes they seek to explain. A checklist of dependent variable considerations is provided.

Publication Research Centre

Centre for Marketing

Series Number



Centre for Marketing Working Paper

Available on ECCH


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