Essential Scholarly Exchange

Abstract Who killed the intellectual creativity of the ANZMAC papers? In a world of academic thought espousing academic freedom, intellectual endeavour and the pursuit of new academic thought, the ANZMAC conference paper lies dying from near terminal wounds. Was there a murder? An accident? Or have old age and clogged reviewing arteries finally taken their toll? In 200 words, this dramatic summary of the Essential Scholarly Exchange attempts the best of academic practice and the worst of advertising excess. As the only printed item you'll read before the conference, this abstract must inform (the paper is critical of the ANZMAC process), persuade (Please come to my session) and summarise the paper (Marketing theory used. Paper lengths criticised). At best, the abstract attempts to convey the plot of essential scholarly exchange in less words than a film review. At worst, it's 200 words summarising the criticism that struggled to stay inside the perversely arbitrary page restriction. The paper covers issues of the impact of 5 page long papers on marketing in single line space, and within 2.5 centimetre boundaries. Proposals for reforming the ANZMAC paper process will be suggested, and the word length exceed just before the paper gets to the interesting part.

Introduction In a world of publish or perish, this paper may give the author the notoriety of publishing and perishing in the same movement. The paper's nature is serious, the content important and the style sarcastic, academic and whimsical. The arguments raised debate the unspoken and agreed assumptions tied to the paper length and submission requirements for papers at ANZMAC. In challenging these decisions, the author accepts the risks associated with such criticism, but feels the discourse is needed to "keep the system honest" (to paraphrase the Democrats), and to at least speak some of the unspoken assumptions out loud.

ANZMAC: The Intellectual Playground or Serious Philosophers Club? The annual Australian and New Zealand Marketing shindig has usually been the highpoint of the marketing academic's calendar. It caps off the conference season, and for many marketers (particularly those from my school), it represents a chance to catch up with colleagues (not seen since last ANZMAC), and finish the academic year in style, comfort and intellectual pursuit. With our teaching behind us (sparing those summer semester classes), and five months of preparation from submission to presentation, ANZMAC has been a highlight of the marketing conference circuit. I don't think you understand the seriousness of the situation, Mr Bond Marketing is an intensely serious discipline. This is why we have an intensely serious conference which does not permit the use of clever titles, plays on words, and exactly the same techniques we teach in advertising. If Rust and Oliver (1994) complained about lifeless advertising, they should be spared the lifeless promotion of ANZMAC articles. To quote the ANZMAC guidelines… "Authors should provide a title which comprises as few words as possible, in order to convey the academic focus of the paper clearly. Authors should not attempt to create a “clever” title, such as a “play on words”, or use other irrelevant or trivial words in the

title. The ANZMAC conference is essentially a scholarly exchange." (ANZMAC 2002) Trivial words are a pursuit for some academic writers, namely those who happen to hold established positions, post essays to El-Mar, or seek publication in the European Journal of Marketing's special editions on post-modernism. Holbrook (1997) argued that we "have greater lessons to learn from our cats than from LISREL manuals or from our copies of the marketing principles textbooks’’, yet the ethology of a cat would scarcely be described as serious paper despite having been cited by Arias and Acebron (2001). Sports sponsorship authors Amis, Slack and Berret (1999) quote "We sell insulation which is a boring product, so we try to communicate with our market place with some warmth and wit and charm.". May it be that LISREL is a boring product, and communicating with clever titles and plays on words are our methods of warmth, wit and charm? Admittedly, Huang (1998) did argue the point of humour in advertising wasn't always effective, and is not always appropriate for every market. True, and in marketing conferences, not everyone possesses a desire for sharp wit and fanciful wordplay as a title for their session. Although, culturally, there may even be a need to embrace the use of humour and word play as part of the Celtic tradition of marketing. Aherne (2000) argues the case of William Yeats as a culturally specific marketer, who features heavily in the Celtic marketing discourse. For Aherne, Celtic marketing contained an important instruction in that… "Consumers are won and their hearts are captured, not by supine abnegation or slavish adulation, but by quick wit, good humour, tall tale telling, laid-back banter, down-toearth ribaldry and happy-go-lucky flirtatiousness. This make-em-laugh model, admittedly, is contrary to the modern marketing mindset, which can only be described as a contemporary manifestation of courtly love". Whilst ANZMAC may not be the ground for courting and love, it certain can be argued that the Celtic marketer's desire for a clever play of words in their title and abstract is a cultural heritage to be supported, and not denied to these traditional Celtic marketers. It also happens to be that marketers understand the need for the headline of a sales pitch to catch the eye and mind of the reader, to drive them to the body (abstract) of the pitch. Driven to Abstraction: 200 words of a sales pitch for my session "Authors should note that the abstract is the only printed text the delegates will see. The full content of conference papers will appear in a conference CD-ROM given to all delegates as part of their conference pack, and available for commercial sale to the general public" "Authors should give very careful thought to the writing of their abstract. It should not list section headings from the main paper - rather, it should summarise the entire paper, including the findings and conclusions. The abstract should be no longer than 200 words." (ANZMAC 2002) The author wishes to convey the concern of many marketing academics when they argue that substance should dominate over style in the pursuit of academic work. However, with 200 words and less, and with an average reading speed (taken from college students) of around 250-300 words a minute, there is scarcely time to hold the reader. From title to abstract, the average academic audience member will take less than a minute (and probably closer to 30 seconds) to decide whether to attend the presentation, or read the paper (Virginia Tech, 2002). The concern for ANZMAC executives is not whether the abstract is simply a summary of headings, but whether it forms a sales pitch for the author's presentation. The abstract to this paper was written with one eye on the word count, and another on filling the room for the

session. Of course, every author at ANZMAC is simply concerned with promoting the best practice of marketing (which is why every reader should have attended my session), and the abstract is the best method to gain that audience. That, and the fact that we can have longer PowerPoint presentations than we do conference papers indicates that substance is most easily delivered by bullet point form.

Intellectual Anorexia: Shrinking the Paper Length ANZMAC's intellectual weight loss regime apparently began in 1999, when paper lengths dropped from the relatively open length of approximately 4000 to 6000 words (as evidence by the conference proceedings on the ANZMAC.org website), to a reduced length closer to 3000 to 5000. By 2000, the policy of the ANZMAC submission had formalised the reduction of the paper length to 5 pages, and effectively locked the current word length into place. The decline is illustrated in Table 1 (there goes 7 lines of text) Table 1. ANZMAC Page Lengths ANZMAC Date Length 2002 5 pages 2001 5 pages 2000 5 pages 1999 7-8 pages 1998 12 -16 pages (This table excludes the period prior to ANZMAC's formation (ANZMA & ANZMEC)) Comparative Standards: World's Best Paper Lengths How then does ANZMAC's short page length compare against world practice? It seems reasonable to assume that ANZMAC's requirements would be comparable those of collegiate groups and similar conferences in the international arena. The comparison is illustrated in a space consuming table that just cost this paper another 70 words. Table 2. Paper Lengths and Breadth (Another 5 lines gone) Conference Pages Words Font Size ANZMAC 5 ~2500 12pt Times New Roman EMAC 6 ~2500 12pt Times New Roman ANZAM 10 ~7000 11pt Times New Roman Academy of 15-20 4000-6000 12pt Times New Roman Marketing ACR 20 6000 words 12pt Times New Roman Macromarketing 20 6000 words 12pt Times New Roman

Spacing Single Single Single Double Double Double

With the exception of EMAC, the established word length for an international conference appears to hover at the top end of 6000 words. ANZMAC's anorexia is highlighted by comparison to the size of the largest conference, Advances in Consumer Research (ACR), which still produces fully printed conference proceedings. In effect, ANZMAC is the smallest of the marketing academic conferences on offer. It also presents a cause for concern for marketing academics - the major academic think tank of Australian marketing only offers half to a third of the room for intellectual endeavour found at international conferences (or even a local event held in the days following ANZMAC)

To further complicate the matter, strict formatting requirements of double carriage returns before a major heading, and single carriage return after it certainly discourages the use of more than two sections. A loss of six lines in five page document is a serious waste of nearly 80 words, or a reasonably sized table. Perhaps this is the intention - to create single idea papers that rely on long flowing essay style delivery, rather than the heading-subheading style taught to our students.

Pragmatism in the Age of Government Funding In an age where careers are made and lost over what amounts to academic bounty hunting (publishing and not perishing), it would be naïve to believe that a conference such as ANZMAC is not a target of those Australian academics wishing a fast DEST point (or two). To qualify as a DEST conference, the papers must be peer reviewed by a body of reviewers which was independent of the conference editorial board. With ANZMAC 2000 producing 288 papers, and ANZMAC 2001 producing 268 papers, it can be safely assumed the organising committee needs to find reviewers for the 270 odd conference papers. It can also be safely assumed, that there aren't 269 reviewers available for each paper, either through multiple submissions from the same author teams, or by the nature of academia being an exceptionally busy profession. The author admits to submitting multiple conference papers, and is aware of the pressure on conference organisers to either restrict multiple submission, or limit the reviewer workload. In order to combat the pressures on the review system, conference organisers are faced with a range of alternatives - such as capping the number of submissions, reducing the overall length of papers, or confining themselves to a quota structure. With 20 different streams, it is no longer feasible to even begin to coordinate a team of academics to see every paper being presented (there are more streams than members of my department). With the pressures of the quantity of research, and the volume of academics, something had to give way. Unfortunately, to this author, it appears that I have returned to find not only the baby and the bath water missing, but someone appears to have thrown the bath away for good measure as well. The quality standards of the papers submitted to ANZMAC have no choice but to suffer at the hands of the reduced paper length. Even the use of a word count would decrease the pressure on the author - the decision to use a table to illustrate data is not to be taken lightly. The review of comparative conference paper lengths in tabular form hurt the space quota badly. Even my choice of referencing has been limited to the volume I can afford to spend on citing other's opinions and justifying my work. Admittedly, the reference list is a separate page, but the pressure to create space to report results will have to come at the expense of literature reviews.

Conclusions, Recommendations and Trivial Words in the Title This paper is doomed. The author freely admits that a five page treatise criticising the Call for Papers and Submission details is a sub optimal way to get a conference paper accepted or published. That said, the complaint is not with the ANZMAC executive, but with the mechanisms of our own intellectual diet regime. The marketing calorie count is down, the papers are thinner not leaner, and the dizzying heights of intellectual debate have been replaced by a vertigo from low academic blood sugar levels. We run the risk of starving the very organisation we seem to be trying to save. But as the author has often taught students - if

you want to make a complaint, be prepared to make a suggestion. And in conclusion, three suggestions come to the fore: First, expand the length of the paper to a word length, and not a page length. Page lengths make sense in the context of a finite printed volume, where pages equal dollars, and dollars equal trees. The environment is no longer in fear of the verbal outpouring of a range of marketing scholars all the time ANZMAC continues with the production of the conference proceedings CD. Particularly since the 2001 CD consisted of a total of 21.1mb, indicating that an additional 31 conference proceedings could be published to the same disk. Each author could produce approximately 150 pages for their paper, and still have room for the conference timetable. Second, stream the papers by size or length. Academics who are satisfied with their work at the 5 page mark can continue to receive the same DEST points for their paper, and would be expected to receive and review a paper of equal length. Those authors (myself included) who wished to 'upsize' to 6-10 pages also have the option to submit a large paper of equal merit. In return for the extra legroom will be the responsibility for reviewing a longer work (or perhaps 2 smaller works). All that would be needed is a simple process of tagging conference submission with "Regular" or "Large" Third, excessive verbiage under the heading 'food for thought' is preferable to starving. ANZMAC stands alone in the market place of academic thought as a proving ground for young academics, a meeting place for industry veterans, and a hotbed of new marketing thought. As an academic environment, it has the seriousness and the rigour of necessary for a credible academic industry conference. However, without allowing the authors presenting to go into any significant depth in their written thought, it risks undermining that credibility. A whimsical slogan on a journal title, and a quirky play on words in an abstract is the sign of a marketing industry. We teach creativity to our students in marketing communications projects, we critique advertising messages on their capacity to deliver short, sharp and memorable messages. Then we write titles of academic focus in as few words as possible. Set a challenge for the submitters - the best conference title in 25 words or less. If you can win a car from packet of cornflakes, surely marketing conferences are the ideal place to demonstrate that type of short, sharp marketing communications skill? In the end, marketing academia will continue, this conference paper will sit on a CD, and the academic world will continue to publish (lest we perish), review papers and once yearly gather under the banner of ANZMAC. It represents a criticism of the arbitrary limits placed on the propagation of new ideas, and a system that allows undergraduate assignments to have a greater word length than the professional works of the lecturers. The purpose of the paper was little more than to produce five pages of commentary on the requirements of five page articles, and for that, it may yet earn the author a DEST point - assuming it does not exceed the page limit and be automatically excluded. Final Thoughts For the sake of brevity, these have not been discussed (Krisjanous, 2001; Buber, 2000; Dann 2000; Fausnaugh and Lye, 2000; Pollard, Pitt, Ewing and Bruwer, 2000) "The maximum length of Competitive Papers is five pages (inclusive of all figures, tables, technical appendices, etc.), plus the pages required to list the references."

References Aherne, A. (2000) " Chronicles of the Celtic Marketing Circle, Part I: The Paradise Parchment" Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 18,6/7 400-413

Amis, J., Slack, T. and Berrett, T: (1999) “Sport sponsorship as distinctive competence”, European Journal of Marketing, 33, Issue 34, 14-25.

ANZMAC (2002) " ANZMAC 2002 Electronic Submission Requirements" , http://www.deakin.edu.au/anzmac/submission.htm

Arias, J. and Acebron, L. (2001). " Postmodern approaches in business-to-business marketing and marketing research" Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing,16 (1) 7-20.

Buber, R.(2000) " Model Building on Internal Marketing. An Exploratory Study By GABEK" ANZMAC Conference Proceedings, 143-147

Dann, S. (2000) " Green Eggs and Market Plans: Learning Marketing from Dr Seuss" ANZMAC Conference Proceedings, 230-235.

Fausnaugh, C. and Lye, A. (2000) " Trust Emergence in Business to Business Relationships", ANZMAC Conference Proceedings, 230-235.

Holbrook, M. (1997), ``Feline consumption. Ethography, felologies and unobtrusive participation in the life of a cat'', European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 31 No. 3/4, pp. 214-33.

Huang, M (1998) "Exploring a new typology of advertising appeals: basic, versus social, emotional advertising in a global setting." International Journal of Advertising, 17(2) p145169

Krisjanous, J, (2001) " The E-Health Consumer and the Impact on Consumer-Health Provider Relationships" ANZMAC Conference Proceedings

Pollard, L., Pitt, L., Ewing, M. and Bruwer, J. (2000) " An Evaluation Of Australian Online Sports Betting Sites Using Correspondence Analysis" ANZMAC Conference Proceedings, 990-994.

Rust, R.T. and Oliver, R.W. (1994), “Notes and comments: the death of advertising”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 23 No. 4, December, pp. 71-7.

Virginia Tech (2002) "Suggestions for improving reading speed" http://www.ucc.vt.edu/stdysk/suggest.html

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