Marketing gets a lot of criticism. Those of us who teach marketing know that good marketing can contribute to a better world. Meeting customers’ needs and wants can help people. That “bright side” of marketing motivates a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of Marketing, which, in its call for papers, notes: “Marketing has the power to improve lives, sustain livelihoods, strengthen societies, and benefit the world at large. At the same time, marketing can have a dark side—it has the power to hurt consumers, employees, communities, markets, institutions, and the environment that surrounds us.” Often our students come into our marketing classes thinking about the “dark side.”
Inspired by the Journal of Marketing call for papers, a wide range of reading, and my own optimism about what marketing (and more generally business) can do, I am today starting the first of a series of posts that will be tagged #M4BW (Marketing for a Better World). These posts will highlight brands and businesses that have used marketing to create profits–and made the world a better place. To give you a background, I direct you to a TED Talk by Michael Porter (below). I have shared this with my students to stimulate a discussion about how marketing might contribute to a better world. It provides a nice supplement to our Chapter 1 coverage of value, triple bottom line, ethics, and social responsibility.