Doctoral student writing

Defining and evaluating 'Marketing Character'

  • School: Nottingham Business School
  • Starting: 2018
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Self-funded


The association between offensive marketing, defensive marketing and marketing personality has been developed over a series of recent journal articles and conference papers – Armannsdottir, Pich and Woodall (2014); Woodall (2004); Woodall (2007); Woodall (2012); and Woodall and Swailes (2009). In each instance, both literal and marketing perspectives on the terms ‘offensive’ and defensive’ are combined to provide a critical perspective on the marketing domain. These articles/papers suggest that many marketers are inclined to practice in ‘offensive’ rather than ‘defensive’ ways, despite this largely normalised ‘offensive’ approach resulting in reputational damage to the profession

Conventionally, when issues of this nature are explored within the academic literature, concepts relating to ethics and/or morality are used as the central theoretical domain for associated enquiry. The articles/papers listed further above, however, suggest that there may be other psycho-social elements at work, and in Woodall (2012) it was hypothesised that an ‘offensive’ inclination may be related more to a juxtaposition of what was termed 'calling and character'; where ‘calling' relates to a specific, idealised and stereotypical model of the marketers role, and 'character' suggests this holds an attraction for a particular personality type. More recent work (Armannsdottir, Pich and Woodall, 2014) has drawn on social identity theory and the notion of occupational aesthetics to further explore the nature of, and motivation for, this attraction.

We wish to expand this sphere of study further by undertaking empirical research amongst practicing marketers, firstly by modelling what might be termed ‘marketing personality’ (or, perhaps more correctly, ‘marketing character’) and, secondly, by studying how this phenomenon might be represented within the relevant community of practice. Unlike consumer behaviour, for which there is an extensive/established body of knowledge, marketer behaviour and its impact on the nature and effectiveness of customer engagement is a relatively under-explored area, and a further element of this project will be to help map out, too, the theoretical domain for the ‘marketer behaviour’ concept.


Armannsdottir, G., Pich, C. and Woodall T. (2014). Projection and personality: a provisional study of aspiring marketers, Proceedings of the UK Academy of Marketing Conference, Bournemouth University, 7-10 July 2014.
Woodall, T. (2004). Why marketers don't market: rethinking offensive and defensive archetypes. Journal of Marketing Management, 20(5-6), 559-576.
Woodall, T. (2007). New marketing, improved marketing, apocryphal marketing: Is one marketing concept enough?. European Journal of Marketing, 41(11/12), 1284-1296.
Woodall, T. (2012). Driven to excess? Linking calling, character and the (mis) behaviour of marketers. Marketing Theory, 12(2), 173-191.
Woodall, T., & Swailes, S. (2009). Conceptualising and measuring defensive marketing orientation (DMO): some inaugural thoughts on assessing marketing's place in ‘society's doghouse’. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 17(5), 345-364.


Dr Tony Woodall

Entry qualifications

An applicant for admission to read for a PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. A research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) must be submitted as part of the application.

For more information please visit the NTU Doctoral School – Research Degrees webpages.

How to apply

How to apply

Applications are accepted all year round.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

This is a self-funded PhD opportunity.

Guidance and support

Further information on guidance and support can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Tony Woodall