Keeping Pace: Business-To-Business Marketers And Emerging Technologies In The Consumer Electronics Industry Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 22, 2019
  • Rottinghaus, Adam
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • In Keeping Pace, I argue that in the consumer electronics industry, the marketing and consumption of goods and services between businesses creates the pace of emergence and obsolescence of consumer electronics. To date, critical scholars of consumerism and technology have argued that the pace is determined by planned obsolescence. Scholars describe planned obsolescence as a combination of products designed to reduce the intervals between acts of consumption, and retail advertising that stimulates consumer’s desire for “new” products. I suggest that critical scholars of consumer culture have over emphasized retail relationships as the locus of power and politics and ignored the importance of business-to-business marketing. B2B marketers create an industry-wide pace of emerging commodities by coordinating the flow of materials, components, and services necessary to incessantly produce “new” consumer electronics with short lifespans. Over five chapters, I use critical discourse analysis to analyze three forms of empirical data: interviews with B2B marketing professionals, archival media texts, and ethnographic observations at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. I examine widely studied aspects of consumerism—brands, exhibitions, big data, and identity politics—in terms of B2B marketing and marketing work culture. Along with this reexamination, I take the stance that marketing is more than merely the promotion of goods and services; marketing is constitutive of market relationships. Taken collectively, the chapters present B2B marketers in humanistic terms that emphasize the tensions, contradictions, and complexities of the work they do behind the scenes in reproducing consumer culture on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, I find that B2B marketing is a site—in addition to consumer demand and corporate social responsibility—where political and social interventions into markets can occur.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Packer, Jeremy
  • Grossberg, Lawrence
  • Palm, Michael
  • Davidson, Cathy
  • Sharma, Sarah
  • Mumby, Dennis
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

This work has no parents.