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Positioning and relating: Market boundaries and the slippery identity of the marketing object

Finch, J.H. and Geiger, Susi (2010) Positioning and relating: Market boundaries and the slippery identity of the marketing object. Marketing Theory, 10 (3). pp. 237-251. ISSN 1470-5931

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Abstract

We propose a novel perspective on positioning by dentifying goods and services first as market objects and then as marketing objects. As part of their normal marketing activities marketers position market objects and thereby provide means for other market actors to evaluate differences and similarities across an array of goods and services. Hence, marketers help disentangle goods and services in a market space, so formatting them as market objects. At the same time, marketers tend to make references to cultural and material dimensions in the worlds of producing and consuming goods and services, thereby re-entangling these market objects in the worlds beyond the market and re-formatting them as marketing objects. Drawing on an actor-network theoretical lens, we develop our argument to show that positioning refers to many 'others'; producers and consumers as well as those objects which the market and its calculating frame ignore. We extend our reference beyond market objects through the marketing object to those others, which necessarily are poorly defined, and which suggest complex, contentious and rich alternatives to a market's frames of calculation.