Empirical Generalisation in Marketing

Mark Uncles and Malcolm Wright recently published an editorial called the empirical generalisation in marketing. It explains what empirical generalisations are all about and why they are so important to marketing.

"An empirical generalisation is a relationship between two or more variables that has been observed across a range of conditions. By knowing that an observed relationship holds under a range of conditions (and that it does not hold underother conditions) it is possible to use knowledge of the relationship for practical purposes, such as making routine predictions and stating principles. It is also possible to start to theorise why the relationship occurs, and why it holds under some conditions and not others, thereby moving from empirical description to theory-building. The importance of this form of knowledge for marketing is examined. Practical measures are suggested to encourage the search for empirical generalisations."

The importance of empirical generalisations (EG) to marketing:
1.) They are the basic form of marketing knowledge. Example is that of Double Jeopardy where it states that competing brands vary little in terms of average frequencies of purchase compared to substantial differences in the size of their customer base. Other EG examples can be found in the Introduction to the special issue - empirical generalizations in marketing by Bass, F and Wind J, 1995.
2.) EGs are the building blocks for more complex knowledge of marketing. NBD-Dirichlet model (earlier - predictablity of purchases for a brand and category) and the Generalised Bass model (earlier - diffusion of innovation ) are all built upon earlier marketing models and observations.
3.) EG have utility: Marketing managers can use the knowledge of Double Jeopardy where they know sales growth comes from more penetration (more customers) than from increasing purchase frequency of current customers. Loyalty programs need to expand customer if they are to succeed.
4.) EG are guard against other marketing falsehoods and unsubstantial claims to knowledge. It allows the marketing manager to know the truth (generalised) and myth (falsehoods) of marketing.

To see the complete editorial, please click here.
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