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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A One of a Kind Scholar and a Macromarketer

Image result for Robert F luschWhat is the Market? Is it a physical space where people come to buy and sell goods and services? Is it an economic force that pushes businesses to compete? Or is it a social space where our mental models of society interact with strangers?

Macromarketer Robert F. Lusch worked from this third perspective, analyzing the market from a holistic approach and included various analyses from other social sciences. He was a prolific author with a long list of publications, who received various awards and honorary appointments. While his colleagues mourn his passing, they  reflect on his humble and confident personality, and his unique approach of combining Marketing and Ethics.

Mark Peterson recently published an article in the Journal of Macromarketing entitled “Robert F. Lusch –One of a Kind Scholar and a Macromarketer,” which is free to read for a limited time. The abstract for this article is below:

Robert FLusch spoke in a plenary session at the 2015 Macromarketing Conference in Chicago and shared four ideas he felt will have importance to macromarketing scholars in the future. His essay “The Long Macro View” follows. In it, he highlights humans’ innate propensity for 1) engaging in exchange, 2) creating technology, 3) encountering choices with unseen costs, and 4) developing institutions to coordinate interactions with each other. Four macromarketers offer their own comments on this essay: 1) Gene R. Laczniak (who also organized the set of commentaries on “The Long Macro View”), 2) Olga Kravets, 3) Clifford J. Shultz, II, and 4) Roger A. Layton. These commentaries were authored and edited shortly before Bob Lusch passed away.

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Photo of Robert F. Lusch attributed to the University of Arizona.