33rd EMAC Conference, Murcia 2004
May 18 – 21, 2004
This year's EMAC Conference took place from the 18th – 21st of May 2004 in Murcia, Spain. It was organized by José L. Munuera from the Marketing Department of the University of Murcia. The EMAC President Lutz Hildebrandt expressed in his welcome speech the initial reluctance that the conference takes place that near to the seaside of the Mediterranean Sea. But in fact the conference was that remarkable and possibly the seaside was far enough from the Convention Center, where the conference was held, that we had an interesting and inspiring conference.
“Worldwide Marketing?” was the theme of this years EMAC Conference. It was chosen because of the expansion of the European Union with 10 new members the month of this conference in May 2004. This is an enlargement in terms of scope and diversity and has many implications for the market, the competition, the customers and therefore the marketing discipline. Associated with this conference theme a scholarship for papers from new members of EU was introduced. Six papers; two from Cyprus, one from Estonia and three from Hungary, were presented at the conference. The one I attended (Töröcsik, M./Szucus, K.: Tempo-based Lifestyle segmentation) was remarkably innovative and qualitatively very good.
Immediately prior to the Conference from Sunday until Tuesday, the 17th Colloquium for doctoral students in marketing took place. It was organized by the EIASM and the EMAC in collaboration with the Marketing Department of the University of Murcia (Spain) and aims at providing outstanding doctoral students in marketing an opportunity to discuss their dissertation research with other doctoral students and leading academics in the field of marketing.
The Conference was organized in 20 different tracks: 1) Brand Management, 2) Consumer Behaviour, 3) Modelling, 4) Marketing Communications, 5) Distribution Channels and Retailing, 6) Relationship Marketing, 7) Marketing Research, 8) Services Marketing, 9) Marketing Strategy, 10) International Marketing, 11) Sales and Sales Management, 12) New Product Development, 13) Marketing and Innovations, 14) Marketing Management, 15) New Technologies and E-Marketing, 16) Social Responsibility and Ethics, 17) Marketing Education and Non-Profit Marketing, 18) Marketing and Forecasting, 19) Business Marketing and 20) Cross-cultural Issues in Marketing. A number of 860 papers have been sent in from which 761 papers accomplished the EMAC guidelines and therefore went through the double blind review process. In total a number of 445 reviewers decided to accept 371 papers, which is an overall acceptance rate of 48%.
With 108 papers the Consumer Behaviour track was by far the track with most papers sent in, but a slightly below average acceptance rate (49 accepted out of 108, acceptance rate 45%). Besides the Consumer Behaviour track the Brand Management track (33 accepted out of 58, acceptance rate of 56%) and the Service Marketing track (33 accepted out of 65, acceptance rate of 51%) achieved the most attention. Although the total number of papers was quite low, according to the acceptance rate the track with the best papers or the best chances to get accepted was the Business Marketing track (14 accepted out of 22, acceptance rate of 64%) and the Marketing Management track (12 accepted out of 19, acceptance rate of 63%).
Less attention could be observed concerning the tracks Marketing and Forecasting (2 accepted out of 5, acceptance rate of 40%); Sales and Sales Management (8 accepted out of 16, acceptance rate of 59%); New Product Development (7 accepted out of 18, acceptance rate of 39%); Marketing Education and Non-Profit Marketing (6 accepted out of 19, acceptance rate of 32%) and Marketing Management (12 accepted out of 19, acceptance rate of 63%). This leads to the question of the causes for this relative little attention. A small number of papers can either be a signal for a decreasing or increasing attention and therefore an early position in lifecycle (introduction or growth) of a research topic or a position at a decline phase. Furthermore especially the little number of papers concerning the Marketing Management track is remarkable, as it shows the growing fragmentation and specialization of the marketing discipline.
This fragmentation leads to sometimes very specific research questions. As a young researcher in the marketing discipline coming together with a lot of experienced marketing researchers I have missed papers overlooking the discipline, reasoning about their development, questioning and provoking it and therefore providing a bird's-eye view on the marketing research area. Comparing it to conferences in the field of service marketing it can be considered that plenary sessions which merely occupy on reflecting the field and giving future perspectives of new and hot research topics are common. Attending these conferences I perceived the opportunity to take note of the opinion of experienced researchers to topics alike as a great enrichment.
Remarkable in my opinion was the fact that sessions concerning market orientation in combination with learning orientation and knowledge management as well as in conjunction with capabilities and the marketing assets received that much attention by the participants that the conference organizers kept carrying additional chairs into the room and still some listeners had to stand. In the context of marketing assets and capabilities a cooperative research project to “Marketing assets, capabilities and competitive positioning” is noteworthy. It is carried out by 16 different researchers from 13 different mainly European countries. A core questionnaire, which was developed in an initial study, is provided to the researcher in each country and it is supplemented by idiosyncratic questions of local relevance. This cooperative research project has so far lead to a data set of over 5500 questionnaires. Further work is planned in Brazil, Germany, Taiwan and Korea. In addition to that researchers from Italy have shown interest in the session. That four of the 16 researchers are former EMAC presidents shows how important and well functioning the EMAC network is.
After a the reception and the get together on Tuesday evening the 371 papers were presented starting on Wednesday morning at 9.00. Wednesday and Thursday had each 4 sequential sessions and up to 10 parallel sessions. The conference presentations ended on Friday with a lunch. Wednesday evening we enjoyed the conference dinner, which took place in the magnificent old casino (built in 1847 and extended after 1902) in Murcia. Although we already asked ourselves how this amazing location and evening could be exceeded, we spend the Gala diner at a finca near Murcia, enjoying a wonderful view, a firework and at least the diner followed by some dancing.
Concluding to the conference I refer to the foreword of the proceedings in which José L. Munuera as organizer states that EMAC Conferences have always been recognized as excellent forums for both networking and learning. He hoped that this year’s conference in Murcia will not be an exception to that. In my opinion we can congratulate and thank him and the organizers once again, that this years EMAC has certainly not been an exception!
Therefore we are looking forward to the next EMAC conference “Rejuvenating marketing: contamination, innovation, integration” which will be hosted by the Università Bocconi – Milan, Italy from the 24th to the 27th of May 2005.
Dr. Sabine Moeller
The Otto Beisheim Endowed Chair of Marketing
WHU – Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management