A broad and multifaceted discipline, marketing offers a variety of fields for study and investigation. In the case of dissertation research, the study of marketing also includes a number of emerging fields, each a unique possibility to study a phenomenon as it develops and shapes the course of marketing.
As the ethical behaviour of companies is increasingly scrutinised by consumers and the media, potentially changing consumer behaviour, the study of corporate ethics has become a major concern in marketing. A number of options exist within the field of marketing ethics, from assessing how informative different labelling strategies like "fair trade" are, evaluating the success of different campaigns intended to portray a company as socially responsible, or following the consumer behaviour of customers who claim to be socially conscience. A dissertation in this area could either take the form of a case study, like the public relations efforts of a specific company after a consumer boycott, or a more theoretical paper about the ethical implications of a specific marketing strategy.
Marketing and New Technology
As communication and information technology change rapidly, marketing has had to keep up with new online, mobile and social network technologies that have changed the way people communicate and receive information about products and services. The most effective ways to market on these platforms or what exactly these technologies mean for marketing, however, are far from sure or determined. A number of areas offer dissertation topics, such as the effectiveness of social media as compared to traditional word-of-mouth, how does mobile marketing become viral or how can firms prepare their products for an online market.
Bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) marketing, refers to marketing efforts that target low-income consumers. While these consumers have relatively little purchasing power as individuals, the needs of the global poor represent a huge market demand as a whole. Of course, the market needs of the global poor differ greatly from the needs and consumer behaviour of the more affluent communities usually targeted by mainstream marketing. Research into BOP marketing, therefore, from the kinds of products the poor need, to how to reach low-income consumers, is an important emerging field in marketing.
Marketing Across Cultures
In an increasingly globalised world, marketers have increasingly been forced to examine how different marketing messages perform in different cultural markets. A message that resonates with the cultural values and desires of a consumer in New York, for instance, is unlikely to have the same effect on a consumer in Sri Lanka. A popular topic in marketing, cross-cultural marketing examines these differences and provides ample case studies for a dissertation.