IMCA Research seminar - Robert Cluley, Nottingham University Business School: Working in marketing analytics: a labour process perspective

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 01.12.2022 / 12:30 - 14:00

Room 354

Robert Cluley will present: Working in marketing analytics: a labour process perspective


Do marketers work? Labour process theory, a foundational perspective in work sociology, tells us that the contradictions of capitalism not only appear at the level of economies and societies but also in people’s everyday working lives. To work, in other words, means entering a labour process in which the interests and motivations of capital and workers face off against each other. In this paper, I use the insights of labour process theory to explore the micro politics of marketing analytics. Drawing on ethnographic data at a FTSE 100 subsidiary, I detail how marketing analytics is organized to shift control from marketers to managers - at the expense of deep insight into consumers. Seeking to control the labour process of marketing analytics, managers automate and coordinate marketing work in a way that treats both marketing workers and consumers as ‘general and undifferentiated’ inputs.  The ultimate contradiction of marketing analytics, I conclude, is that as it is organized in a predictable and profitable way, it loses sight of the very use value it offers.

Robert Cluley is an associate professor in Organization Studies at the University of Nottingham. His current research interests focus on the adoption, use and disposal of technology in organizations. His work has been published in leading journals including Marketing Theory, Organization Studies and Organization.