Supervisor: Professor Stan Maklan


It is not too exaggerated to suggest that almost every major change in marketing practice over the past 15-20 years has been promoted by changes in Information Technology (IT): CRM, marketing automation, social media, analytics, mobile marketing, multichannel marketing.

The counterpart to this exists in the Information Systems (IS) world.  Over the same period, IS has moved from a focus on administration and supply chain efficiency to enabling new business strategies enabled by information and improving customer experience - even in the most traditional of sectors.  A Gartner analyst predicted that by 2017 Marketing Directors will outspend IS Directors on IT.

Whilst we have no empirical basis to comment on this extraordinary claim, it is clear that the IS and Marketing management will be working very closely together to ensure that firms benefit from these investments.  IS benefit realisation in marketing applications requires more study.  I conducted a review of publications on the impact of CRM investment upon firms' performance and found that neither managers nor academics can really quantify the benefits, this despite recently celebrating the 30th anniversary of the term CRM!  If in 30 years we are still arguing about this application of technology to market, how helpful will be to managers in providing guidance for massive investments being readied in big data and social media?

Possible Areas of Research

I see possibilities to contribute to knowledge at descriptive, normative and predictive levels.

  • Descriptive:  There is a clear need to understand the different roles Marketing functions play in the design, implementation and governance of IT led marketing change.  How do firms realise benefits?
  • Normative:  How should the Marketing function work with IS and customers to ensure their organisations realise the benefits of investments in IT led marketing change?  Is there best practice?
  • Predictive:  What elements or dimensions of Marketing practice, leadership, IS collaboration explain or predict performance improvements.

Suggested Reading

Understanding the complementary assets and role of management in IT led marketing change, in the context of CRM, is explored in these articles:

Maklan, S., Knox, S. & Peppard, J., 2011.  Why CRM Fails - and How to Fix it.  MIT Sloan Management Review, 52,(4), pp.77-85
Maklan, S. & Knox, S., 2009.  Dynamic Capabilities: the Missing Link in CRM Investments.  European Journal of Marketing, 43(11/12), pp.1392-1410

The concept of IS benefits realisation was developed at Cranfield School of Management:

Peppard, J., Ward, J. & Daniel, E., 2007.  Managing the Realisation of Business Benefits from IT Investments.  MIS Quarterly Executive, 6(1), pp.1-17.


Professor Stan Maklan, Tel: +44 (0)1234 751122