Research Topics & Ideas: Marketing

50+ Marketing Research Topic Ideas To Fast-Track Your Project

Marketing and advertising-based research topics

Finding and choosing a strong research topic is the critical first step when it comes to crafting a high-quality dissertation, thesis or research project. If you’ve landed on this post, chances are you’re looking for a marketing-related research topic, but aren’t sure where to start. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

Here, we’ll explore a variety of marketing-related research ideas and topic thought-starters, covering both traditional marketing (offline media) and digital marketing (including social media marketing, content marketing and the like). We’ll also look at actual dissertations and theses from marketing students to give you a view of what a well-defined research topic looks like.

NB – This is just the start…

The topic ideation and evaluation process has multiple steps. In this post, we’ll kickstart the process by sharing some research topic ideas within the marketing domain. This is the starting point, but to develop a well-defined research topic, you’ll need to identify a clear and convincing research gap, along with a well-justified plan of action to fill that gap.

If you’re new to the oftentimes perplexing world of research, or if this is your first time undertaking a formal academic research project, be sure to check out our free dissertation mini-course. In it, we cover the process of writing a dissertation or thesis from start to end. Be sure to also sign up for our free webinar that explores how to find a high-quality research topic. 

How To Find A Research Topic

Before we look at specific research ideas and topics, it’s useful to first understand what the topic ideation process entails and how to go about finding and refining viable topic ideas. In the video below, we cover exactly that. So, if you’re a first-time researcher, be sure to watch this tutorial before jumping into the collection of marketing research topics we present below. 

Now that you’ve got a big-picture view of the topic ideation process, we can dive into a few research ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Please note that these research topic ideas are intentionally broad and generic, so you will need to refine them a fair deal using the techniques we discussed in the video above.

To make life a little easier for you, we’ve grouped the topic ideas based on two main categories – traditional marketing and digital/online marketing. For the latter, we’ve divided it up into a few subcategories, including social media marketing, content marketing and search marketing. That said, there is naturally some overlap between topics, so keep this in mind.

Research Ideas: Traditional Marketing

  1. The effectiveness of different types of direct mail campaigns (e.g., postcards, catalogues, brochures)
  2. The use of traditional marketing in creating and nurturing customer loyalty and retention.
  3. The impact of demographic targeting on traditional marketing performance
  4. The effectiveness of different types of sales promotion (e.g., discounts, coupons, contests)
  5. The use of celebrity endorsements in traditional marketing campaigns
  6. The impact of outdoor advertising on brand awareness and recall
  7. Measuring the ROI of traditional marketing efforts
  8. The effectiveness of different traditional media channels (e.g., television, radio, print) in driving engagement and conversions
  9. The use of public relations in traditional marketing campaigns
  10. The role of event marketing in building brand awareness and engagement
Webinar - How to find a research topic

Research Ideas: Digital/Online Marketing

Social media marketing

  1. The use of artificial intelligence in social media marketing
  2. The impact of social media on public relations and media relations
  3. The role of social media in crisis communication and reputation management
  4. The influence of social media on brand loyalty and customer retention
  5. The use of social media for market research and consumer insights
  6. The impact of social media on consumer buying behaviour
  7. The role of social media in global and multicultural marketing
  8. The relationship between social media engagement and website traffic
  9. The effectiveness of influencer marketing on social media platforms
  10. The effectiveness of paid vs organic social media advertising

Content marketing

  1. The use of micro-moments and intent-based marketing in creating personalized content experiences
  2. The impact of personalization on content marketing performance
  3. The role of SEO in content marketing strategy
  4. The use of social media influencers in content marketing campaigns
  5. The effectiveness of different distribution channels (e.g., email, social media, search engines) for different types of content
  6. The use of user-generated content in building brand trust and engagement
  7. Measuring the ROI of content marketing efforts
  8. The use of AI and machine learning in content creation and distribution
  9. The use of interactive and immersive content formats (e.g., virtual reality, augmented reality) in marketing
  10. The effectiveness of different content formats (e.g., blog posts, videos, infographics) in driving engagement and conversions

Search engine marketing

  1. The effectiveness of different ad formats (e.g., text ads, shopping ads, video ads) in SEM
  2. The impact of search engine algorithm updates on SEM performance – who are the winners and losers?
  3. The use of AI and machine learning in SEM strategy and bid optimization
  4. The use of voice search and its impact on SEM
  5. The role of local SEO in driving brick-and-mortar sales
  6. The impact of mobile optimization on SEM performance and conversion rates
  7. Measuring the ROI of SEM campaigns: which approaches are best?
  8. The effectiveness of different types of keywords and search queries in driving traffic and conversions
  9. The use of remarketing and retargeting in SEM campaigns
  10. The role of schema markup and structured data in improving SEM performance

Email marketing

  1. The use of AI and machine learning in email marketing, such as personalized content and dynamic segmentation
  2. The effectiveness of different subject line strategies in driving open and click-through rates
  3. The use of A/B testing and multivariate testing in improving email marketing performance
  4. The impact of personalization on email marketing performance
  5. The use of email marketing in creating and nurturing customer loyalty and retention
  6. The use of automation and triggered emails in increasing engagement and conversion
  7. The impact of GDPR and other data privacy regulations on email marketing
  8. The role of mobile optimization in email marketing
  9. Measuring the ROI of email marketing campaigns
  10. The effectiveness of different email formats (e.g., text-based, HTML, interactive) in driving engagement

Marketing-Related Dissertations & Theses

While the ideas we’ve presented above are a decent starting point for finding marketing-related research topic, they are fairly generic and non-specific. So, it helps to look at actual dissertations and theses to see how this all comes together.

Below, we’ve included a selection of research projects from various marketing-related degree programs to help refine your thinking. These are actual dissertations and theses, written as part of Master’s and PhD-level programs, so they can provide some useful insight as to what a research topic looks like in practice.

  • The Influences of Brand Personality, Culture, and Social Media on Iconic Brand Preferences (Whelan, 2021)
  • Customer Success and the Transformation of Customer Relationships (Raines, 2022)
  • The Effects of Online Incentivized Reviews on Organic Review Ratings (Jeong, 2020)
  • Are You For Real? The Consumption-Driven Self-Authentication Process And Its Effects On Perceived Brand Authenticity (Kuchmaner, 2020)
  • You Are What You Eat: How Food Texture And Packaging Influence Consumer Well-Being (Ning, 2020)
  • Social Dialogic Listening: Connecting Marketing Activity To Strategy (Collins, 2020)
  • Millennials’ Attitudes Towards Influencer Marketing And Purchase Intentions (Yu, 2019)
  • Cannibalization between Two Mercedes-Benz Models and Consumer Behavior (Ma, 2020)
  • Selling and Buying Aspects of Used Products That Are Brand Anthropomorphized (Kim, 2019)
  • Global Identity: Conceptualization, Measurement, And Implications For Marketing Strategy (Yoruk, 2022)
  • The Intersection of Organizational Frontline Marketing and a High-Tech World (Krotz, 2021)
  • The Unexplored Impacts of Communication Elements in Marketing (Trinh, 2022)
  • Founder Social Identity As A Predictor Of Customer And Competitor Orientation In Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises (Rutherford, 2021)

Looking at these titles, you can probably pick up that the research topics here are far more specific and narrowly-focused, compared to the generic ones presented earlier. This is an important thing to keep in mind as you develop your own research topic. That is to say, to create a top-notch research topic, you must be precise and target a specific context with specific variables of interest. In other words, you need to identify a clear, well-justified research gap.

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