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Will Mitchell





According to James Paul Gee, Discourses are “saying (writing)-doing-being-valuing-

believing combinations” that are “ways of being in the world,” demonstrating tools necessary for

helping people make meaning and get things done (citation). He purposefully capitalizes the

letter “D” to differentiate from discourse, which denotes everyday communication. According to

Gee, every individual is a member of a Discourse community—some that they are even born

into. These communities are simply groups of people who are united in their involvement in a

topic or in their shared possession of an idea, whether that be in the form of knowledge, goals, or

basic values. Their connection lies in their communication about their subject matter. Discourses

are used “to do something, to make meaning,” and to “mediate meaningful activities” (citation).

Within them are a plethora of unwritten rules regarding conduct and communication, as

intercommunication is defining characteristic of any Discourse community. Unique, specific

lexis and various platforms and methods of communication are fundamental to these groups and

their operation. The Business Marketing field works as an example of a discourse community

with distinctive and particular communication forms that are utilized by its members to facilitate

growth and development. Through my research of the Business Marketing Discourse, the

importance of transforming and utilizing language to spread knowledge, learn new tools, or

garner feedback emerge as a fundamental facet of their Discourse community.

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Business Marketing, or business-to-business marketing, is a marketing practice utilized

by both individuals and larger organizations that can be utilized to explore communication in

Discourse communities. It occurs whenever a business markets its goods to another organization

of business. These products or services exchanged could be utilized in manufacturing, to help run

the business, or quickly resold by the consumer. Marketing can also take place over a variety of

platforms and is not limited to specific trade or merchandise; for example, advertising is a form

of marketing utilized by businesses that is employed by a variety of different sellers and is seen

on a variety of platforms, from Facebook ads to highway billboards. In general, Business

Marketing differs from other forms of business because of its emphasis on personal, direct

relationships between businesses. Individuals within the organization often act on behalf of the

needs of the organization of a whole, illustrating the necessity of good communication and

language both inside and outside affiliates of the Discourse.

My interests in Business marketing first manifested through my familial ties to the field; I

have many close family members who majored in business in college and now have careers in

the Business Marketing field. Their study and profession of the field established their

membership in the Business Marketing discourse, and from helping out around their offices and

with work tasks, I developed an interest in both the field as a whole, and how individuals

contribute to the expansion and discussion of the subject. From this introduction, I made a point

of choosing classes in college that would give me more insight into the discipline. I found the

interaction between businesses and their influence on various aspects of society to be interesting.

I wanted to find out how members of the Business Marketing discourse communicate and work

together to accomplish goals and grow their field.

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To begin this investigation, I started by outlining questions that would further my

knowledge of the field and understanding of how it operates. I wanted to create questions that,

when answered, gave the most concrete information regarding subgenres and their

communication in the business community. I intended to ask these questions to a member of the

Business Marketing field, and fill in the blanks with research. These questions ranged from what

made them get involved with the field to the different languages they had to employ when

communicating between students, colleagues, and external peers. A pattern of language and its

importance stood out as a common theme amongst my inquiries. I wanted to explore the various

languages within the Business Marketing discourse and understand their differences and how

those differences benefit the discourse as a whole.

My first dive into understanding the purposeful styles and forms of communication in the

field came from my interview with professor Kopp. As a self-proclaimed marketing academic,

Professor Kopp has been apart of the scholarly discourse community of business marketing in

Arkansas for over thirty-nine years. To begin the interview, I asked him to first tell me how he

came to be involved with the field, he said that he “took some courses in marketing as a master-

student as part of [his] MBA program and [he] had also taken economics,” where his interests in

business and finance grew (Kopp). I then asked how he communicates with other individuals in

his field. He told me that between his colleagues, he primarily talks through emails and has

occasional phone calls. His students, however, he gives lectures to or has written communication

in the form of handouts and assignments. “I’m primarily a teacher educator,” he continued, “but

a big part of my job is to do research that could be published in academic journals” (Kopp).

These academic journals serve as an example of the overlap in communication that can exist in

Discourses; they act as communication with both the broader Business Marketing Discourse
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community to share his findings, and as a conversation between closer colleagues to get

feedback on his methods and arguments. His published journals were important to our discussion

about communication, as he had to be clear in the writing and publishing of the academic

journals geared toward the public because he still had to communicate to people that were not

marketing scholars or technically inclined. Near the close of the interview, I asked how his

communication may have transformed or changed since becoming involved with the discourse.

He spoke about how he began to use new platforms to better communicate with other members:

“I began to use social media communications more because I communicate with people in other

countries and that’s faster than email, and some countries don’t have access to computers”


Professor Kopps interview gave me more topics to research and understand regarding

communication in his Discourse. Due to the nature of Business Marketing, communication is

especially important; there are so many subcommittees of business (such as management,

finance, marketing, or accounting) that require communication to grow and advance, as well as

the broader communities in different areas of the world, that each subgroup has to be able to

communicate their information and data clearly. This was touched on by Kopp, and introduces

an important aspect to communication within the Discourse: lexicon.

There are specific lexis that marketers must learn and utilize to quickly and efficiently

communicate amongst peers and scholars. It is a requirement to learn acronyms and basic

abbreviations when sharing data amongst peers and scholars. Without learning the specific

vocabulary of the field, one would struggle to not only understand what was being shared, but

take much longer explaining and writing out topics and ideas that could otherwise be quickly

summarized. I conducted research on common lexicon for the Business Marketing field. One
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commonly used term is an HTML code. This refers to “the lines of code that an affiliate places

on their web page(s) for linking to the merchant's site. This HTML code contains the unique

identifier that identifies the traffic as coming from the Affiliate's web site” (Affiliate Wiz). CPA

is another term that means cost per action, referring to the amount of a cost for a conversion

(Affiliate Wiz). Another term, click-through, is the action that occurs when a user clicks on a

link and continues on to the seller’s website (Affiliate Wiz). Finally, co-branding is a term that

delineates a “situation where affiliates are able include their own logo and branding on the pages

to which they send visitors through affiliate links” (Affiliate Wiz). Since these terms are not

common knowledge and would not be understood out of context, they illustrate the importance

of being well versed in the lexicon of a Discourse to be able to participate in discussion and

communication. In addition, this illustrates the different languages one must possess in their

involvement with the Business Management discourse; one would not be able to use these same

terms when teaching a beginner class on the topic.

Professor Kopp also introduced the idea of sharing his research, which acts as another

important aspect of communication in business marketing. As he stated in the interview, his

journals garnered feedback from his colleagues regarding his research surrounding various topics

in the field. This feedback is important, because researchers need to know what people think

about their ideas, how to improve them, and how to be more effective in both their

communication and in the execution of their studies. This also highlights the changes in

communication styles between subgenres of the Discourse. While with his colleagues, he

communicates and shares his findings in search of feedback to be more effective, he has different

intentions when communicating and sharing with his students, as he hopes to simply impart

knowledge and broaden their understanding of the field. With peers he communicates with on
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social media platforms and online, he switches gears in communication and instead hopes to

learn from them and garner information he can implement in his own studies and work. Finally,

though Professor Kobb himself did not discuss his involvement with this side of business

marketing, were he to also share his findings through advertisements to consumers, this would

illustrate another communication language he would employ.

Finally, Professor Kobb touched on a final aspect of communication in Business

Marketing. He talked about how in his meetings and group interactions with his colleagues, he

finds that is less of a conversation where each individual contributes and shares, but more so one

person sharing their ideas while others listen and take notes, trying to understand the strategy of

the speaker and possibly implement it themselves. This illustrates the various roles one could

take in communication in Professor Kobb’s Discourse. These roles are important because each

member wants to get the most out of the discussion and not waste time. It goes against our

commonsense ideas of what communication should be, as he pointedly contrasts the discussions

in his discourse from the typical conversations other discourses might have in their meetings and


From my interview with Professor Kobb and further research on Business Marketing, it is

clear that the field and its members adopt specific communication styles and habits to best fit the

goals and priorities of the group. The focus of all their expression choices and forms of

communication seem to be on clarity and efficiency, as members wants to spread their

knowledge to various groups and individuals in the fastest and clearest way possible. The

intricate ways members of the Discourse go about this and master their communication forms

only furthers my interest in the field and appreciation for those devoted to the continued

advanced of marketing in society.