The marketing matrix

Hastings, Gerard (2012). The marketing matrix. Journal of Social Marketing, 2(3) pp. 222–226.




Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to question the role of corporate marketing in society and suggest ways of combating it.

Design/methodology/approach – The problems are urgent and the style is polemical.

Findings – Marketing is as old as human civilisation; it enables us to engage in the type of mutually beneficial exchange that makes cooperation possible. However, in the hands of the corporate sector, marketing is turning us into spoilt, consumption-obsessed children who are simultaneously wrecking our bodies, psyches and planet. The fiduciary duty of the corporation, which demands a single-minded focus on shareholder value, turns concepts such as consumer sovereignty, customer service and relationship marketing into corrosive myths that seduce us into quiescence, whilst furnishing big business with unprecedented power. Corporate social responsibility, meanwhile, is just a means of currying favour with our political leaders and further extending corporate power.

Practical implications – Critical analysis is vital: if we do not want to become the apologists for corporate capitalism we have to research, write and teach about its failings as well as social marketing's potential to do good. We should also present solutions. As individuals we have enormous internal strength; collectively we have, and can again, change the world. Indeed marketing itself is a function of humankind's capacity to cooperate to overcome difficulties and long predates its co-option by corporations. In the hands of social marketers this potential force for good is being codified and deployed. If these talents and strengths can be combined with serious moves to contain the corporate sector, it is possible to rethink our economic and social priorities.

Originality/value – The paper urges social marketers to take heed of and address marketing's failures if our discipline is to be taken seriously in debates about health, welfare and sustainability.

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