History of marketing in India

Authored by: Hari Sreekumar , Rohit Varman

The Routledge Companion to Marketing History

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415714181
eBook ISBN: 9781315882857
Adobe ISBN: 9781134688685

10.4324/9781315882857.ch21

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Abstract

Contemporary concepts and practices of marketing, and the ideologies which impel these, originate from the social and economic contexts of the West, particularly the United States and Europe (Ellis et al., 2011; Eckhardt et al., 2013). As a consequence of this Western dominance, the marketing discipline became permeated with values such as individualism and rationalism (Ellis et al., 2011). The Eurocentrism of much of marketing theory has resulted in knowledge pertinent to contexts such as India being overlooked (Varman and Saha, 2009; Varman and Sreekumar, 2015). In an early paper that appeared in the Journal of Marketing, Westfall and Boyd, Jr. (1960) suggested that marketing practices in India were not sufficiently ‘developed’, and called for a ‘modernization’ of marketing in India. In response to such criticism, marketing academics in India adopted theories and practices of marketing from the West, especially the US. Not surprisingly, these theories and practices were often far removed from the realities of the Indian economy and consumers (Varman et al., 2011). This is particularly ironic because India, like many other parts of the world, has a rich history of markets and marketing. There is clearly a need to bridge this gap in our knowledge and understanding about the rest of the world. This chapter on history of marketing in India addresses this lacuna in the discipline.

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