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. This Special Issue of the Journal of Marketing seeks to bring together wide-ranging research to assess, illuminate, and debate whether, when, and how marketing contributes to a better world.
The focus of this Special Issue on a “better world” emphasizes the impact of marketing beyond just what is good for the financial performance of firms—it emphasizes marketing’s role in the welfare of the world’s other stakeholders and institutions. Topics covered in the Special Issue can range from analyses of “win-win” approaches that contribute to a better world while also improving firm outcomes to critical assessments of the dark side of marketing.
“Better marketing” includes a wide variety of approaches, activities, and systems. It is not restricted solely to the actions of marketing managers within commercial firms. Studies that involve marketing by organizations or individuals for whom profit is not a primary motive (e.g., NGOs, governments, activists, or charitable organizations) are welcome. A key condition is that submissions must address marketing ideas, activities, or systems and their connection to a better world.
Research questions for the Special Issue could include:
- Do marketing activities (e.g., the marketing mix, marketing training, leadership, partnership/channel management, controls and incentives, or customer-focused cultures) contribute to a better world? Where, when, how, or why do they do so?
- Under what conditions might marketing lead to worse outcomes for some or all stakeholders? How can policy, regulation, or activism-based initiatives improve marketing’s contribution in this regard?
- How can marketing approaches that already generate positive outcomes be made more efficient and/or effective? Conversely, how can the negative outcomes of some marketing approaches be reduced?
- When and how does marketing foster positive versus negative externalities and how can negative externalities be ameliorated?
- How can firms, governments, non-profits, NGOs, and other societal stakeholders work to create win-win situations that benefit commercial as well as non-commercial stakeholders?
- What marketing technologies and practices can be used to nudge consumers, managers, markets, communities, and societies to contribute to a better world?
These topics offer a guide to research that would be a good fit for the Special Issue. Other interpretations, research questions, and approaches are welcome. The Special Issue Editors are happy to address questions from authors about topic fit.
Diversity in disciplinary and methodological approaches is welcome, as are new interpretations of what better marketing for a better world means and how it occurs. Scholars from marketing and allied disciplines are invited to submit, as are interdisciplinary teams of scholars. Papers that challenge the premise of better marketing for a better world are also welcome.
While the Editors welcome research on a diverse range of phenomena, stakeholders, and methodological approaches, they expect all papers to focus on marketing activities. Both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome, but the emphasis should be on developing and/or testing falsifiable arguments. Pure advocacy-focused papers are not suitable for this issue.
Michael Ahearne • Jonah Berger • Jonathan Berman • Pradeep Chintagunta • Darren Dahl • Markus Giesler • Rebecca Hamilton • Ajay Kohli • Cait Lamberton• John Lynch • Vikas Mittal • Andrea Morales • Koen Pauwels • Linda Price • Roland Rust • JB Steenkamp • Vanitha Swaminathan
The rationale for the Special Issue is threefold. First, despite important inroads by scholars with transformative views of consumer and service research, we still know too little about the role of marketing in improving the world in which we live. An overriding emphasis on business performance can blind scholars, managers, policy makers, and other decision makers to the many important ways in which marketing can drive positive change or generate negative consequences. Unless we broaden the set of outcomes we study, marketing scholars risk becoming detached from many of the most important challenges facing the world today.
Second, marketing is rich and multifaceted, yet academic research tends to examine a relatively narrow set of activities, institutions, and processes. By emphasizing a fresh set of phenomena for study, this Special Issue encourages scholarship that broadens the scope of research in marketing.
Third, winds of change in technology, regulation, demographics, and marketing practices offer new opportunities for impact, including among populations not often studied in academic research in marketing. New technologies are connecting ideas, resources, individuals, firms, societies, and markets in unprecedented ways. People around the world are living longer, healthier lives and experiencing entirely new consumption patterns, and marketers are far from incidental to these changes. Yet the world continues to face many vexing challenges—including poverty, inequity, illiteracy, insecurity, disease, pollution, and human trafficking to name a few. Marketing practitioners and academics now have many new opportunities to contribute solutions to these challenges. This Special Issue is designed to stimulate scholarship regarding the role that marketing can play in understanding and resolving these problems.
Process and Timetable
All papers submitted to the Special Issue will go through the regular Journal of Marketing review process, headed by the four Editors of the Special Issue. All manuscripts should be submitted online at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ama_jm. The submission deadline on June 1, 2019.
The Editors hosted special sessions at the 2018 Summer AMA and ACR conferences in which leading scholars discussed what research in their areas would look like if they adopted a “Better Marketing for a Better World” perspective. Learn about the ideas they shared and download their presentation files by visiting this page.
Click here for more details on a non-exhaustive set of potential research directions for the Special Issue.
Marketing has much to contribute to the world. This Special Issue seeks to illuminate whether existing marketing approaches are being applied to their maximum potential, whether turbulent environments call for new approaches to doing good, whether any harm that marketing creates can be more effectively minimized, and whether there are areas where marketing could have a bigger contribution to a better world. This Call for Papers is an invitation to all members of the community to consider these issues and submit a paper to the Special Issue.
Upcoming conference events for the Special Issue
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Special Issue Editors
Christine Moorman is the Editor in Chief for the Journal of Marketing and the T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Business Administration at The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. Christine’s research examines the nature and effects of learning and knowledge utilization by consumers, managers, organizations, and financial markets. She has studied these effects in the context of innovation, marketing alliances and networks, and public policy. Christine has published her research in all of the major journals in marketing (and numerous management journals), where it has been honoured with numerous best paper awards and nominations. She has served as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Research and the Journal of Marketing and as an ERB member for the Journal of Consumer Research and Marketing Science. Christine is the founder and managing director of The CMO Survey and author of Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value, awarded the 2011 Berry Book prize for the best book in the field of marketing. Christine was named the AMA-Irwin-McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator in 2018, a Fellow of the American Marketing Association in 2017, and she won the 2012 Paul D. Converse Award, the 2008 Mahajan Award for Career Contributions to Marketing Strategy, and the 2008 Distinguished Marketing Educator for the Academy of Marketing Science. She has served as an Academic Trustee for the Marketing Science Institute, as a member of the Board of Directors of the AMA, Chair of the Marketing Strategy Special Interest Group for the AMA, and as Director of Public Policy for ACR. Christine’s complete profile can be found here.
Rajesh Chandy is Professor and the Tony and Maureen Wheeler Chair in Entrepreneurship and at London Business School where he is also the Academic Director of the Wheeler Institute for Business and Development. Rajesh’s current research lies at the intersection of business, innovation, entrepreneurship, and development. His recent projects have covered the impact of business skills among micro-entrepreneurs in South Africa, novel financing approaches in Ghana, property rights in slums in Egypt, innovation among farmers in India, highways and private education expenditures in India, and using big data for development outcomes. Chandy is an Area Editor for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation area at Management Science, and is a member of the advisory board of the Journal of Marketing. Chandy’s research and publications have received several awards, including the Mahajan Award for Lifetime Contributions to Marketing Strategy Research, the ISMS Practice Prize for research that contributes most to the practice of marketing, the Journal of Marketing Harold Maynard Award for contributions to marketing theory and thought. He has also received the AMA Early Career Award for contributions to marketing strategy research, and has been named an MSI Young Scholar. During 2006-2008, Chandy served as a member of the US Secretary of Commerce Advisory Committee on Measuring Innovation in the 21st Century Economy and in 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy. Rajesh’s complete profile can be found here.
Gita V. Johar
Gita V. Johar is the Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business at Columbia Business School and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She received her PhD from the NYU Stern School of Business in 1993 and her MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 1985. Gita has been on the faculty at Columbia Business School since 1992. She served as the school’s Faculty Director for Online Initiatives from 2014-2017, Senior Vice Dean (Dean of Faculty) from 2011 to 2014, and inaugural Vice Dean for Research from 2010-2011. She is the Faculty Chair of the Steering Committee for the Columbia University Global Center in Mumbai. She also served as co-editor of the Journal of Consumer Research from July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017. Gita studies consumer information processing, identity, persuasion and self-regulation as they are applied to branding and advertising. She is passionate about designing interventions for a better world and is currently working on projects related to preventing the spread of fake news as well as research on motivating sustainable consumer behaviors such as sharing one’s possessions. Gita is recognized as an expert on consumer behavior and has served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research and the International Journal of Research in Marketing; she is current an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing. Gita’s complete profile can be found here.
John Roberts is the Scientia Professor of Marketing at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. His research interests include marketing strategy, branding, and decision making. John is a recipient of the American Marketing Association’s John Howard Award, its William O’Dell Award, and its Advanced Research Techniques Forum Best Paper Award. He has been a finalist in the Society for Marketing Science John Little Award for the top marketing science paper three times and the Gary Lilien Best Marketing Practice Award three times. In 2018, he was awarded the Society’s Buck Weaver Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Theory and Practice of Marketing Science. John sits on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Forecasting, Marketing Science, International Journal of Research in Marketing, and other journals. He is winner of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Marketing Distinguished Researcher and Distinguished Educator Awards. John has been a Professor or Visiting Professor at the London Business School, Australian National University, Stanford University, M.I.T., University of Hamburg and HKUST. John’s complete profile can be found here.