Michael J Baker

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Emeritus Professor of Marketing. Marketing and the ‘social good’. Aim: To persuade people that ‘marketing’ is an Academic discipline and a professional practice with an emphasis on the . social good. ID: 170485 Download Presentation

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Michael J Baker




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Michael J BakerEmeritus Professor of Marketing

Marketing and the ‘social good’

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Aim: To persuade people that ‘marketing’ is an Academic discipline and a professional practice with an emphasis on the social good

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The ‘social good’ may be defined as the elimination of poverty and the improvement of human welfare

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Marketing is both a philosophy of business and a professional function/practice

Like other professional practices it is also a‘synthetic’ discipline

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Synthesis: “the process or result of building upseparate elements especially ideas, into aconnected whole, especially into a theory or system” (Concise Oxford Dictionary)

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Marketing is concerned with the behaviour of people and organisations (demand) interacting with other people and organisations (supply) pursuing their self-interest to their mutual benefit

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“Consumption is the sole end and purpose of production”Adam Smith (1776) – the “father” of free markets and modern economics

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Honest producers have always striven to deliver customer satisfaction based on understanding their needs and behaviour

BUT, in the 19th. Century neo-classical economists, driven by ‘physics envy’, adopted an abstract notion of ‘rational’ behaviour to overcome the difficulty of predicting real world ‘reasonable’ behaviour

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In hindsight marketing paid too much attention to individuals and instant gratification

In the 1960s the negative effects of the emphasis on economic growth and materialism gave rise toconsumerism

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International recognition of the need for concerted action was prompted by the Brundtland Report (1987). Its Key Recommendations were:Reviving growthChanging the quality of growthMeeting essential needs for jobs, food, energy, water and sanitationEnsuring a sustainable level of populationConserving and enhancing the resource baseReorienting technology and managing risk, andMerging environment and economics in decision making

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Effectively, Brundtland took up Shumacher’schallenge “Small is beautiful” with its theme“Economics as if people Mattered”

Simultaneously (1987), Lutz and Lux publishedHumanistic Economics that challenged mainstream Economics, with its emphasis on quantification to the neglect of qualitative factors that influence human behaviour, and proposed the notion of the ‘dual-self’

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Put simply, the dual-self recognises that basic physiological needs are moderated by social and psychological factors identified in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, viz:Higher Self Growth Needs Lower Self Deficiency NeedsSelf-actualisation Ego-aggrandisementTruth seeking Self-interest seekingReasonable Rational (economic)Principled behaviour Instrumental behaviourAltruism and love SelfishnessObjective SubjectiveTranspersonal Personal (individual)‘Some Basic Characteristics of the Dual-self’ (Lutz and Lux Table 1.1, page 17)

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The Prisoners DilemmaandThe Golden Rule

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Social responsibility - ‘Nil nocere’Beneficence vs MaleficenceEnlightened vs Selfish self-interestFreedom vs Regulation

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Populist view – ‘Business is to blame’

In reality, we are ALL to blame and need to take more responsibility for our behaviour

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While public policy has a role to play I believe that ‘business’, and especially marketing, have a greater potential to change behaviour for the social good

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Commercially, marketing has been very effective in increasing efficiency and productivity by means of :Market researchNew product development and InnovationEffective communicationsEfficient distributionThe creation of Time, Place and Possession utility

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The sub-field of Social Marketing has shown how the techniques and practices used by commercial Marketers can be used to encourage and shape behavioural change

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The barriers are not insubstantial:Inertia and resistance to change – I know what I like and I like what I knowImplementation often frustrated by the misguided advocacy and interventions of minority and unrepresentative special interest groups

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To progress we must:Stimulate the interests of the silent minorityDevelop a circular economyPromote citizenship over materialismTreat all stakeholders equitablyEnable the re-distribution of wealthEncourage and reinforce self-helpPromote the view that “Social business is Good Business”

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