Skip to Content Skip to Footer

Non-Exhaustive Set of Potential Research Directions for Journal of Marketing Special Issue: Better Marketing for a Better World

Christine Moorman

1. Driving consumer and societal welfare

Welfare can be understood from an economic, psychological, or social perspective and can be a product of individual and collective consumer behaviors as well as consumers’ interactions with firms. How do marketing activities influence the livelihood, functioning, and sustainability of the important human systems that are critical for consumer and community welfare? How do consumers, policy makers, and other stakeholders determine and pursue better outcomes, for example, by improving self-efficacy, framing, education, or other strategies? How and under what conditions can marketing do well by doing good in the areas of consumer and social welfare? Examples include marketing to create improved environmental and societal outcomes, marketing to improve livelihoods, and marketing in a manner that is mindful of customers’ well-being. How can charitable donations, recycling, and other positive consumer behaviors be encouraged? How can firms create value by simultaneously making consumers better off? What are the long- term consequences for firms that focus on extracting short-term consumer surplus? How do marketing leaders foster organizational capabilities or cultures that drive positive consumer welfare? How should policies change as governments seek to balance the needs of firms and the needs of customers? How can marketing play a role in the development of free markets and robust democratic systems? How can regulations be fostered to ensure that marketing activities do not harm consumers and other stakeholders?

2. Managing human capital for better marketing and sales

Human capital—as manifested in the knowledge, abilities, experience, judgment, and connections of individuals—is crucial to the impact of marketing and sales. Improved human capital among consumers, employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs can mean better outcomes for themselves as well as those with whom they interact. What is the best way to develop and leverage human capital for the most fulfilling interactions among marketers and customers? What environmental, organizational, and business factors influence improvements in human capital for better marketing and sales? The field needs a better understanding of this “people” side of marketing, and we welcome original insights on this topic.

3. Connecting for good: mobile, digital, social

The explosion of new ways of reaching and interacting with customers holds enormous opportunities for marketing. However, the area is rife with controversy, with limited research to guide consumers, marketers, and policy. How can marketers use these new tools individually or collectively to improve the lives of customers, employees, and societies more generally? How can digital marketing and social media platforms be employed to benefit these same entities? How can privacy concerns with location-based marketing be overcome? How can marketing principles be used to ensure a vibrant democracy with a well-informed citizenry? How can the generation and spread of fake news be curtailed both in terms of supply as well as consumer demand? How can big data help marketers do well?

4. Innovating for good: impact, sustainability, and scale

Innovation is an important source of progress for nations and firms. It can save lives, save time, promote happiness, and extend our interactions in the marketplace in important ways. Managing innovation requires balancing risk and reward and developing new capabilities for creating and leveraging new products, services, and ideas in new markets. How do innovations affect consumers, companies, or societies? How can policy be used as a tool for stimulating innovation? What organizational approaches are most effective in guiding the most important innovations for society? What marketing knowledge and skills prepare marketers to be better innovators to do good for society? How can innovations solve market failures? Novel insights on the drivers of innovation, the role of innovation among understudied populations, and the impact of innovation on consumers, firms, and society are especially welcome.

5. Improving health and well being

The world has seen great progress in improving food, health, and nutrition in the last few decades. Yet rising obesity and increasing morbidity are challenges in many parts of the world, and many millions in the world still suffer from poor health and inadequate nutrition. The supply side of marketing practice is a dominant force affecting health and wellness. Firms have the opportunity to improve human life by promoting better health and well-being outcomes. The institutional structures and market activities that give rise to food, health, and nutrition activities are also important. Healthcare consumes the largest share of many individual and organizational budgets, but too little is known regarding the development of health markets for a better world. We welcome insights on ways in which marketing affects health and well-being: potential topics could include debates on the value and ethics of marketing activities, the need for and effectiveness of public policy to stimulate consumer or marketer activities, and ways to make health markets work more effectively.

6. Marketing among the underprivileged

We know very little about the role and nature of marketing among disadvantaged individuals and groups. What is the impact of better marketing on the lives of these individuals and their communities? How can actions by marketers in large firms improve the lives of those living in difficult circumstances or at the bottom-of-the-pyramid? What is the impact of marketing on vulnerable populations? Many among the poor eke out a living as marketers. Whether as roadside hawkers or as micro-entrepreneurs in their own communities, or as producers of goods and services, these marketers share the preoccupations of their much wealthier counterparts to create better commercial opportunities for their products and services. How does better marketing improve their livelihoods and the lives of those in their communities?

7. Metrics for making marketing matter

Calls for metrics abound in the discipline. As tools of evaluation and accountability, marketing metrics have taken their position in the pantheon of effective marketing. How can marketing decision makers approach, measure, and manage better marketing for a better world? How can marketing metrics be designed to help firms do good while doing well? What are the appropriate metrics for marketing among non-commercial entities such as NGOs, charities, and governments?

Christine Moorman is T. Austin Finch Sr. Professor of Business Administration, Duke University, USA, and Founder and Director, The CMO Survey.