Macro-Social Marketing and Gun Violence in America

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Traditionally marketing has focused on how to change individual’s behavior in order to buy a product. What media strategies can increase sales, and how to associate values with products? With the advent of the social marketing fields, analysis focused on how conventional marketing tools could be used to change behavior to improve one’s well being and address social problems. While there is a wealth of literature that looks at how government agencies can utilize marketing tools to effect individuals engaged in certain behavior, there has been little research on how NGO’s utilize the same tools to alter behavior and invoke policy changes.

Researchers and Authors Aimee Dinnin Huff, Michelle Barnhart, Brandon McAlexander, and Jim McAlexander perform a pertinent expansion of this field by  looking at how American Gun Violence Prevention groups (GVPGS) act as macro-social marketers.

They recently published in article in the Journal of Macromarketing entitled, “Addressing the Wicked Problem of American Gun Violence: Consumer Interest Groups as Macro-social Marketers,” which is free to read for a limited time. The abstract for the article is below:

Building on work on social and macro-social marketing, we provide an empirical account of ways in which American gun violence prevention groups (GVPGs) act as macro-social marketers as they address the wicked problem of gun violence, which they define as deaths and injuries with firearms. We find that, as a collective, GVPGs attempt to change the culture related to guns by targeting up-, mid-, and downstream agents. We contribute to theory by (1) expanding the concept of macro- social marketing beyond government entities to include consumer interest groups and collectives; (2) introducing internal marketing as a macro-social marketing tool critical for macro-social marketers dependent largely on volunteers; (3) elucidating ways that macro-social marketers can accomplish upstream changes indirectly, by encouraging consumers and citizens to influence policy makers; and (4) revealing marketing tactics that can be leveraged across up-, mid-, downstream, and internal efforts.

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