Are you struggling to find a captivating marketing dissertation topic in 2024? You’re not alone. Having supervised hundreds of students as part of my academic career, every year I publish a guide to help students find a good marketing dissertation topic that is not only relevant but also exciting as it derives from things marketing practitioners and scholars are looking to find out more about. 

This guide equips you with actionable strategies and powerful resources to land the perfect topic and ace your dissertation.

Uncover Cutting-Edge Research Priorities:

  • Marketing Science Institute (MSI) Research Priorities: Every three years the MSI publishes their research priorities outlining key themes like customer value, omnichannel promotion, and marketing agility. The latest version of these research priorities is the 2022-2024 report that identifies research questions experts deem crucial, fueling your investigation. (Link included)

Leverage the Power of Literature Reviews:

  • Spot Research Gaps: Explore comprehensive literature reviews in top journals. For marketing, I suggest looking at journals such as the Journal of MarketingPsychology & Marketing,   Journal of Interactive Marketing. Ideally, you want to focus on literature reviews that were published in the last 3 years. Most of these reviews will contain research gaps and/or research questions at the end of the review. Some reviews are even more explicit and mention areas for future research. 

Tap into the Expertise of Calls for Papers:

  • 3 & 4 Journals:** Target highly-ranked marketing journals like the Journal of Marketing. Explore their calls for papers and conferences for research questions proposed by leading experts.
  • Facebook Group: Join “Marketing Calls for Papers” on Facebook for a continuous stream of relevant research opportunities.

Beyond the Topic: Crafting a Stellar Dissertation:

  • Embrace Theoretical Contribution: Go beyond merely describing phenomena. Frame your study within a theoretical lens, demonstrating your engagement with existing theories and highlighting your unique contribution. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, read my What is a theory? post. 
  • Contextual vs. Theoretical Gaps: While exploring new contexts (e.g., TikTok research, or spatial computing) is valuable, prioritize identifying a theoretical gap for a impactful contribution.
  • Pursue Your Passion: Consider a context relevant to your future career aspirations, be it fintech or fashion marketing. Integrate this element into your dissertation for added significance.


  • Start Now: Don’t wait! The sooner you begin, the more time you have for thorough research and a polished dissertation.
  • Publish for Impact: Don’t let your research gather dust. Aim for publication in academic journals to amplify your findings and showcase your expertise.
  • Focus on Completion: A finished dissertation is a victory. Strive for excellence, but don’t get paralyzed by perfectionism.

With these insights and resources, you’re well-equipped to embark on your marketing dissertation journey. Remember, a captivating topic is just the starting point. Embrace the research process, refine your ideas, and aim for a dissertation that not only meets academic standards but also makes a meaningful contribution to the field.

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