Purpose: – The main aim of this paper is to stimulate more relevant and critical ideas about marketing and the wider management field by exploring the actual and potential contribution of metaphor to marketing theory and practice. The subsequent connections made can help contribute towards understanding and coping with the theory/practice gap. Design/methodology/approach: – To date, the majority of metaphor application has tended to be literal and surface-level rather than theoretically grounded. This paper interrogates the literature surrounding metaphor in marketing and management fields, while also examining the contribution of other areas such as art. The paper constructs and debates the conceptual notion of the marketer as an artist.
Findings: – Incorporation of theoretically grounded metaphors into marketing theory can help develop a form of marketing which is capable of dealing with ambiguity, chaotic market conditions, creative thinking and practice. Originality/value: – Adoption of a metaphorical approach to marketing research helps to instil a critical and creative ethos in the research process. Marketers are concerned with identification and exploitation of opportunities. Metaphor assists in the process by enhancing visualisation of these future directions. We live out our lives to a large degree through the making of metaphorical connections. We should therefore embrace more qualitative, creative associations in marketing theory, as well as practice.
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