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Unboxing Marketing CREATING VALUE FOR CONSUMERS, FIRMS, AND SOCIETY

BENJAMIN HARTMANN

JACOB OSTBERG

ANDERS PARMENT

CECILIA SOLÉR


Copying prohibited All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The papers and inks used in this product are eco-friendly.

Art. No 40832 ISBN 978-91-44-13750-6 First edition 1:1 Š Authors and Studentlitteratur 2020 studentlitteratur.se Studentlitteratur AB, Lund Design: Jesper SjÜstrand/Metamorf Design Group Layout: Catharina Grahn/ProduGrafia Cover design: Jens Martin/Signalera Cover illustration: Jesse Wild/Guitarist Magazine/Future via Getty Images; picture of authors: Anders Andersson Printed by Dimograf, Poland 2020


CONTENTS

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INTRODUCTION   9 Unboxing marketing’s next top model  11 From traditional marketing toward cultural marketing  16 The purpose of this book  21 Problematizing marketing (or, the road to hell is paved with good intentions …)  23 Problematizing a book about marketing 27 The logic of the book 28

Part I  Unboxing Society

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GLOBALIZATION  33 Introduction 34 Globalization and its driving forces  36 Globalization and cultures  37 Global convergence of culture? Homogenization or heterogenization? 39 Global convergence of strategy? Standardization or adaptation 44 Global value chains  47 Marketing communications on global markets  48 Marketing strategy adaption at the base of the pyramid  52 Movement of people: emigration and immigration  54 Concluding comments: Always and never truly global  56


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SUSTAINABILIZATION  57 Introduction 59 Sustainable development and marketing  59 Sustainability marketing challenges  61 Circular economy  71 Sustainable branding  72 Concluding comments: Sustainable marketing – your future!  76

POLARIZATION   79 Introduction 80 Marketing in a polarized world  82 Class, work and income  84 Gender 87 Geographical location – polarization between metropolitan and rural areas  89 Ethnicity and religion  92 Ageism 94 Fragmentization of marketing and other communications – we’re living in separate worlds  97 Concluding comments: The inter­related­ness between polarizing aspects  99

Part II  Unboxing the Credo of Marketing

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MAKING MARKETS  103 Introduction 105 The good and bad of marketization: Can we get enough Christmas? 106 Forms of marketization  112 Market making in practice  123 Conclusion: market making in a nutshell  128

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MARKETING VALUE  131 Introduction 132 The relationship between marketing and value 133 What is value?  135 Who defines value?  142 Re-thinking the value chain  147 Value and pricing 156 Valuable conclusion  162

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CONSUMER CULTURE AND THE LANGUAGE OF CONSUMPTION   165 Introduction 167 Bringing symbols to the table  169 Why consumption matters  173 How consumption is filled with meaning 177 From product meanings to consumer image  179 Consumer happiness and stress  182 Concluding comments: Consumption für alle!  183

Part III  Unboxing Marketing Strategy

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THE RISE AND FALL (?) OF THE 4PS  187 Introduction 188 Historicizing the 4Ps  189 The 4Ps framework in contemporary market landscapes  195 4Ps and value  198 Concluding comments – 4Ps in transition  202

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MARKETING RESEARCH  203 Introduction 205 Problematizing marketing research 209 Big data  215 Developing quality consumer insights through culturally-informed research 222 Market-driven or market-driving?  224 The marketing research toolbox  227 Concluding comments: Research is da shit!  239


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MARKETING IN THE DIGITAL ERA  241 Introduction 243 Grassroots movements  246 The Big Five: Capitalizing on an idea  260 Algorithmic consumer cultures  263 Concluding comments: It’s just marketing! 265

Image sources  277 References  279 Index  295

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Epilogue  267 Marketing unboxed – now what?  268 Making things better – but how?  269 Why change doesn’t come easy  272 We have given you the tools, now use them!  274


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INTRODUCTION

R E AD T H I S B O O K and become an intergalactic superhero ninja Kung-Fu Master of Marketing! If you are picking up this book it probably means that you have taken at least one basic course in marketing. That also means that you are familiar with the basic tenets of marketing, such as the idea that a successful market offering needs a USP, or a “unique selling point.” The USP of this book is that it will prepare you for a successful career as a marketer at a time when marketing is a highly contested topic. Our approach to this aim is that we want you to become a critical marketer, a marketer who understands the power of marketing, but most importantly also the various responsibilities that come hand in hand with that power. Perhaps, you might remember how Spiderman’s uncle Ben Parker tells Spidey that “with great power comes great responsibility”? In fact, this is a statement that appears throughout history, from the Bible to the French revolution, from Winston Churchill and Roosevelt to those Spiderman movies. The expression means that we should use our (special) abilities for the good of others, and not simply for ourselves. With a selfish and self-centered Spiderman, Batman and Batgirl, Superman and Supergirl and Wonder Woman, Master Yoda and Luke Skywalker, Erin Brockovich, and Hermione Granger, who use their abilities only for the good of themselves, there would not be much left of a story to tell in the movies and books. Of course, marketers are not superheroes, but they should in fact be more like those superheroes who use their abilities for the good of everyone, customers, firms, and society included. Therefore, we strongly believe that you can only be successful as a marketer if you are a critical marketer, a marketer who understands his or her responsibilities. In this book, we will teach you what is scientifically evident and the latest theoretical developments in the field of

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marketing to help you become a marketer who can create value for customers, firms, and society. This is an important part of contemporary marketing, which according to us is not only the most interesting, creative and fun occupation you can imagine, but it is also subject to heavy criticism as one of the main causes behind climate change, growing economic injustice and poverty and reduced mental well-being. Just to name a few. Some of this critique is indeed justified and we will come back to that in the Marketing and Societal Challenges part of this book. But how does it come that marketing in some social settings is among the worst professions you could belong to, consistently ranked very low in Gallup’s annual honesty in professions survey (Gallup, 2018)? We, the authors of this book, see things differently. Marketing is important and fun for your customers, your firm, and for society. And we are far from alone. The question is how to make marketing a useful, creative and meaningful part of your work life, regardless of whether you are a marketer or belong to the ever-growing group of people that is expected to do marketing although that has earlier not been a natural part of your profession. While soccer players, television personalities, and politicians somehow have been part-time marketers, deliberately communicating their personal brand for a very long time, a whole range of other professions more recently were transformed into part-time marketers. School principals, medical doctors, car mechanics, priests, tennis coaches, union chairs, musicians, everybody running child leisure activities – a very competitive field in many social settings – and many others are expected to promote what they are doing to a broader, and at times well-defined, audience. The scope of marketing has gotten broader, and competition tougher. There is little evidence this development will reverse soon, but it may – we will certainly provide some thoughts on that over the next 100 pages or so, but at this point it is important to understand that marketing is not something that is done in marketing departments only, but marketing has become a pervasive phenomenon in society. While making marketing a part of your work life, whatever your work life is, we hope you want to use your marketing skills to make this world a more sustainable place to live. It goes without saying that today all firms engage in sustainable marketing and CSR activities. All listed companies invest heavily in sustainability engagements and it is our conviction that the business community will take the lead toward sustainable production and consumption of tomorrow. Thus, the competences


provided by this book will be valuable for your future career – not least since it has been widely reported and understood that far from all companies live up to their sustainability claims. This book provides you with the latest marketing discussions, concepts and tools that equip you with the analytical marketing skills needed for marketing work. So, how will this book help you become a successful marketer? Let us cut right to the chase and unbox marketing’s next top model.

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Unboxing marketing’s next top model A popular genre of YouTube videos are unboxing videos, whereby people exhibit how they open brand-new consumer goods, literally taking a new product out of the box while commenting both on the packaging itself and the contents of the box. In this section we are going to perform a sort of unboxing ourselves, namely an unboxing of the contents and the form of this book. Most introductory textbooks introduce a model of marketing that displays and explains how marketing works as a process. We like models, because they are simplified projections and summaries of reality. They offer a quick overview over important topics and aspects and help the student of marketing to navigate all the learning. However, the way in which most introductory marketing textbooks and their models reduce complexity and describe complex issues in understandable terms is actually a serious problem. While an oversimplification makes sense to introduce a complex issue carefully to the reader, it is this very oversimplification that is problematic at the same time because it gives a false sense of reality, and, perhaps most importantly, a false sense of manageability. Although the respectful amount of knowledge marketers acquire by reading introductory textbooks, taking introductory course modules and practice as marketers will help them get a more nuanced view of the subject area, we are happy to announce that we think we have got a couple of things that we want you to think about and address on your journey as marketer. This includes, of course, our quest to find marketing’s next top model which we will present later below. The initial impression of a typical introductory marketing management textbook is that it is a big book; heavy, filled with lots of text, both explaining marketing theories and giving examples of real-life marketing, theoretical models and photographs of real-life marketing activities. These books thus 1  In t r o duc t i o n   |   11


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give the impression that while marketing is a dense and complicated subject, reading this book will give you a thorough introduction of everything you need to know. While the contents between different books might vary a little bit, they all basically share a common organization. Not only are they big, the introductory textbooks, but they are also expensive, with nice color photographs, complicated graphs in multiple colors, extra material, cases, mini cases, editors’ cuts, and many other features created by the authors and their editorial teams. Writing nice things about company practices makes it easier for students to digest the content, and companies more willing to provide nice pictures. As you will see, we wanted to do things a bit differently. If one were to simplify the portrayal of marketing management in traditional marketing management textbooks, it could be described as something like this (see Figure 1.1 for reference). Marketing management is often thought to be an input–output process that begins with scanning the environment and doing marketing research. For example, the U.S. is getting more protectionist and is raising toll barriers for cars from outside the U.S. – marketing research sheds light on consumers’ willingness to pay for exotic, foreign cars. Price premiums may go up as they become rarer when the tolls increase prices. Marketing management is not a bad tool for finding correlations between things like willingness to pay and price premium. Then, this marketing research data and analysis serves as input to marketing managerial decision making, designing appropriate marketing actions, and of course not to forget, the marketing magic, or the creative blitz, buzz, and extravaganza that is so essential in looking good as a brand and marketer and helping consumers to like and adore a brand, product, idea, or person. The result of this, then, is the output, which is often framed alongside the marketing mix, typically in the form of the 4Ps. That is, in a traditional and oversimplified way, any brand or product can be distilled and described, perhaps even managed, alongside Product (and its attributes), Promotion (or value communication), Place (where and how it can and should be bought), and Price (how much money can be squeezed out of customers). There are also versions of this P approach, like the 7Ps, and 30Rs, but they remain essentially input–output process models in which each box describes a somewhat distinctive action or element of what overall can be called marketing management.


Marketing Management Marketing INPUT

Marketing decisions, actions, magic

Marketing OUTPUT

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FIGURE 1.1  A typical marketing top model portraying an oversimplified projection of marketing management.

This top model of marketing is quite a good model. We are not criticizing this process and the idea of input–output models; neither do we criticize the 4P model of marketing. If you are a salesperson with few other desires than winning the salesperson of the year award and getting the opportunity to enjoy an abundance of money, clothing, frequent flyer points, and upgraded hotel rooms, you should be totally fine with marketing management, it may give you what you want, or at least close to it, if you work hard. But if you want something that goes beyond what you can see and measure, an intellectual endeavor that makes you think bold and daring about what you want for our planet, our community, and the next generation customers, please consider joining a journey with a rich content. What we do in this book is to go beyond, expand, go deeper, complexify, problematize, escalate, enrich, and intensify these boxes offered by the typical marketing top model depicted above in two critical ways: First, we look outside these boxes and show you how the context within which marketing is performed matters deeply. Purchase processes, consumer decision making, and smart segmentation are not as easy to conceptualize as is indicated in the introductory marketing textbooks. There are societal trends (like digitization), important cultural debates (for example, the #metoo debate or how we can act and be more sustainable in a culture that is predominantly revolving around consumption), and changing institutional landscapes (think Brexit) that all interact with marketing activities and shape the context within which marketing activities are performed. What this means is that there cannot be one perfect modelling of marketing activities that can be applied across contexts. There is no algorithm of marketing that works all the time everywhere. There is no “If This Then That” for marketing, like the popular app (https://ifttt.com/). Instead, there are many factors, forces, and circumstances that need to be taken into consideration to make marketing work and yield

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the desired results. In our casting for marketing’s next top model, the typical marketing top model does not look so good anymore, because it does not take any of these considerations and complexities into account. Suddenly, a rival top model candidate enters the stage and presents itself to the jury (Figure 1.2).

Context

Marketing decisions, actions, magic

Marketing OUTPUT

FIGURE 1.2  An untypical and not-so-beautiful marketing top model portraying some c­ omplexity of marketing management.

This new top model candidate portrays the complexity of marketing management and how its parts interact with each other and with the context. Almost everything is related to everything. That seems odd at first, but it makes sense if you think about it. For example, if a new marketing decision is taken, such as changing the brand name, this will often require a different marketing input, or marketing research activities, and also likely shape the marketing output. On the other hand, this marketing decision was probably taken on the basis of already existing marketing input and output. Both output and input have initiated this decision. Add on top the interaction with the context, and the new rival top model candidate displays more arrows than boxes. And there are more arrows to add. Also, the context is simply stated as “context”, but it would have to be specified further to add more insights. What part of the context is acting specifically on what part of marketing and which arrow? How is Brexit 14  |   1  In t r o duc t i o n

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Marketing INPUT


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influencing arrow 12B, but not arrow 13A? We should also further specify the marketing boxes, here still simplified as input, action, and output. What if we were to add all the different activities of marketers when it comes to input, possible decisions, and possible outputs? For example, how is the context of an increasing nostalgia in turbulent societies (Davies, 1979) acting on consumers’ desire for heritage brands, and how is this shaping the need for marketing research on consumers’ nostalgia which then possibly leads to product redesign (like Coca-Cola has been making their cans and bottles look more “retro”) or even new product development, and how will this in turn shape brand loyalty and brand experience in a context in which competitors are also increasingly playing the nostalgia-retro game? It would certainly be possible to display the exact arrow. But it would not make sense. Even if the exact arrow was there, you would still not know a thing more about what to do. The model would fail equally bad as its predecessor, the oversimplified typical marketing top model. So, what can we make out of this? Knowing that you have probably come across a relatively decent marketing top model before, we have decided to end this series of marketing’s next top model at this point. This season of marketing’s next top model ends prematurely. Just like that. It is called off. Without warning. We are sorry, but there will not be a grand finale of this season and consequently, there will be no winner of marketing’s next top model 2020. All potential next top model candidates can go home. The stage lights are simply turned off and all coaches can now go back to self-marketing on Instagram. All coaches? No, not really. We will stay. We stay because we want to share why we think that there is no need for marketing’s next top model at all. What this little exercise has taught us is that a model can be helpful, but it can also be somewhat of a curse. A model will always fail because it is by definition a simplification. If we add more specification, and more, and more, and evermore, it will not be a model anymore but an algorithm. These algorithms do not exist. Marketers must build their own judgment, use thinking tools, work with complex circumstances, and take difficult decisions in conditions of great uncertainty. Once we acknowledge that, the need for a model that guides a marketer’s actions disappears. If you think about it, the idea that a marketing manager of any well-known big or small brand actually sits at his or her desk and consults a simplified input-­ action-output model, a more complicated input-action-output model, or any other model is quite absurd. 1  In t r o duc t i o n   |   15


Marketing Management Marketing INPUT

Marketing decisions, actions, magic

Marketing OUTPUT

Context

Marketing decisions, actions, magic

Marketing OUTPUT

FIGURE 1.3  A surprising end to this season of marketing’s next top model.

We believe that much more can be gained by providing you with important issues, theories, concepts, and tools to build your own judgment, use these thinking tools in a helpful way to prepare you to understand and work with complex circumstances, so that you will be more prepared to take difficult decisions in conditions of great uncertainty. So, let us embark on a journey without a traditional model, which allows us to go into detail, appreciate and understand complexity, and help prepare you to become a better marketer.

From traditional marketing toward cultural marketing Now that we have left the traditional box model, it is time to explain how we will approach marketing in this book and why we have chosen this particular approach. We will do that by taking us, as consumers, as a starting point (the 16  |   1  In t r o duc t i o n

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Marketing INPUT


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At Times Square, the epicenter of Manhattan, many attempt to communicate at the same time.

good thing is that we are consumers and marketers, so we can switch sides and understand both perspectives) and show you the benefits of moving from a traditional marketing approach toward a cultural marketing approach. In doing this we will take the example of advertising, which is one important tool in the marketer’s toolbox. As consumers, we are bombarded by thousands of commercial messages every day. There is simply no way to avoid being exposed to advertising, and even if we do not necessarily buy the items that are advertised, advertising serves several other important functions, which we may not always be consciously aware of. One of the more important functions of advertising is that it provides us with a blueprint of how to live “the good life.” Amongst other things, it provides us with images of how e.g., “real” women and “real” men, “real” teenagers and “real” adults, “real” parents and “real” kids, “real” Swedes and “real” Mexicans should be. Often, advertisements present us with repeated exposure to representations that are stereotypical, and these stereotypes give us an implicit assumption of how different categories of people really are. In particular, we would argue that the different and often opposite ways that different categories of people are represented might, over 1  In t r o duc t i o n   |   17


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time, appear natural and self-evident. Whilst we might be able to critically reflect on an individual advertisement, analyze it, and discuss its implicit values and unrealistic portrayals, the sheer mass of commercial messages has a way of breaking through the barriers of even the most critically conscious consumers. Consequently, advertising portrayals insinuate their way into our collective cultural consciousness, even our individual psyches, normalizing certain traits associated with different categories and impacting upon how we frame and define differences between different human beings in contemporary consumer culture. Advertisements may reflect, sustain, challenge or even subvert the predominant cultural values of a society. They are myth carriers in our culture, and they may draw on symbolic codes and metaphors to serve up ancient narratives, but often in new and exciting ways. They hold up a mirror to society, reflecting the beliefs and values of it, or they challenge and subvert the norms of society, in order to catch the attention of an intended market. Cultural values are conveyed in advertisements through the language and imagery used in them, and such texts communicate with us at a profound, emotional level, drawing on deep-rooted cultural meanings that are embedded in our shared cultural consciousness and experiences, namely the myths, taboos, rituals, and customs that surround us. And what surrounds us will differ vastly depending on a number of circumstances, not least whether one grows up in a metropolitan or a rural area. Since advertising serves these important social and cultural functions, embedded in various cultural contexts, marketing professionals can benefit from developing a greater awareness of the significance of these more macro dimensions in the marketplace, and how they reflect and indeed impact on both advertising and the consumer behavior they seek to reflect and influence. Insights into the historical, social, and cultural constructions of different categorizations of consumers can be used in order to either uphold the status-quo by employing traditional stereotypes in advertising campaigns, if one believes this to be the best way to appeal to a target market. We will call this the complacent strategy. Both traditional (laissez-faire) and cultural (playful) approaches in advertising may employ this complacent strategy. Alternatively, managers might use the power vested in the advertising industry to create a more nuanced and complex view of different categories of consumers, by either adopting a traditional approach (critiquing institutions) or a cultural approach


Traditional approach

Laissezfaire

Critiquing institutions

Complacent strategy

Subversive strategy Destabilizing ideologies

Playful

Cultural approach

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FIGURE 1.4  Differences between the traditional and the cultural approach (Stevens & Ostberg, 2011).

(destabilizing ideologies), in order to better reflect the realities of different categories of consumers in the contemporary marketplace, or even to strive to change perceptions and make us think about what we take for granted in our marketing practices. We refer to this as the subversive strategy. We illustrate these two axes in Figure 1.4. In traditional marketing, consumer culture exists “out there” and is more or less seen as a pre-existing structure in which the company finds itself operating. Marketing intelligence, i.e., identifying and exploring macro environmental forces, will help the company mapping what is out there. At each point in time, and in each location, it is up to the marketing department to conjure up an attractive marketing offer suited to a particular target market. Most marketing management textbooks stress the importance of marketing research and robust marketing information systems (see, for example, any edition of Philip Kotler’s Principles of Marketing or John Fahy and David Jobber’s Foundations of Marketing). Successful marketing management is thus said to be contingent upon a sophisticated understanding of what happens in the company’s micro and macro environment. Whilst we do not deny that this type of knowledge is important, we want to challenge the sharp distinction made between the company and the rest of the world. We particularly want to challenge the assumption that consumer culture exists independently of individual companies. One reason for drawing attention to this is that such 1  In t r o duc t i o n   |   19


a view does not place any responsibility on companies for shaping consumer culture. More specifically, it does not place any responsibility on companies in terms of how stereotypical depictions of different categories of consumers in advertising may serve to reinforce traditional views of what constitutes these very categories. Instead, we want to introduce a more nuanced approach to marketing and advertising. Such a view recognizes that companies are engaged in actively co-producing consumer culture and the norms and values associated with it. A cultural approach to marketing thus places much more weight, and hence responsibility, on marketing managers’ capacity to shape consumer culture. Rather than viewing consumer culture as existing “out there” as a separate entity, a cultural approach recognizes that company activities, such as advertising, play a part in shaping consumer culture. What we hope to offer are new approaches for understanding advertising, and especially to critically look at portrayals of different categories of consumers. 20  |   1  In t r o duc t i o n

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How do you sell highly priced Niagara Falls tickets for an overloaded boat to tourists? Both a traditional and a cultural approach could help.


TABLE 1.1  Differences between traditional and cultural marketing approaches. Traditional marketing approach

Cultural marketing approach

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Consumer culture “Pre-existing” as an entity separate Companies and consumer culture from companies exist in a co-constitutive relationship Role of marketers

Marketing activities do not play a significant role in shaping consumer culture

Marketing activities are ­co-responsible for creating consumer culture

Responsibility of marketers

None – they merely react to marketing conditions

Considerable – portrayals of idealized gender stereotypes in advertising impinge on consumer culture

Why should a company care about these issues, one might ask? Will it lead to higher revenue in the short run, or even in the long run? We are not making such promises. Instead, we would like to draw comparisons with the burgeoning management phenomenon of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) whereby businesses are conducted along socially and ethically responsible lines, or with other words, even the dirtiest business model could be labeled “sustainable.” One could argue that CSR and sustainable business models are the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision making, and indeed the societal marketing concept, which emerged already in the 1970s, draws attention to citizens rather than consumers. Companies aspiring to contribute not only to their own short-term profits and customer satisfaction but also to long-term profits and public interest and welfare should, we argue, behave responsibly in terms of how different categories of consumers are portrayed in their marketing campaigns, as this is not only an important strategic decision but also an important ethical decision.

The purpose of this book From the cultural marketing perspective, we strongly believe that marketing can be a positive force for moving society in a positive direction. On a global scale, most societies are organized around more or less free markets, where the preferences of consumers dictate what will be produced and, consequently, what the earth’s limited resources will be used for. Marketers, that is, those people and nowadays also machines that work with understanding, shaping, and catering to consumer preferences, thus have an exceptionally important 1  In t r o duc t i o n   |   21


• Problematizes and enriches marketing as it is taught in introductory courses.

• Provides you with analytical marketing skills informed by current marketing research.

• On this basis gives suggestions about how marketing practices can be used to shape society in a more positive way.

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role to play in dictating the direction that society will take. We believe that currently too few marketers take this role seriously, and instead resort to giving ludicrous promises of how great life will be in the short term if we only buy a couple of more things we certainly do not get happier from buying (quite the opposite in many ways). The better alternative is marketing work that proves that the art and skill of marketing is beautiful because it delivers benefits and joy to consumers and provides value for firms, society, the environment, and producers. This leads us to the second point, which is this: in order to establish marketing as an important function laden with responsibility – not just for the company that one is working for and its business performance, but for society as a whole – marketing needs to be conceptualized in a more comprehensive way where the actions within the company constantly happen in a dialectical, co-constitutive relationship with the rest of society. In order to grasp this interrelationship between marketing and the rest of the world we need to contextualize marketing and give you, as future marketers, better tools to understand the society in which you will be working; and which you will be shaping as a marketer be it intentionally or unintentionally. The co-constitution could take various forms, e.g., initiatives taken and run among companies in an industry, consumers refusing to buy from companies that don’t live up to it, or politicians and authorities forcing companies to follow certain rules when making decisions. All in all, the purpose of this book is to: contextualize, problematize, and deepen your marketing skills with the aim of increasing your analytical marketing skills. Thus, this book adds to your prior marketing knowledge as it:


Problematizing marketing (or, the road to hell is paved with good intentions …) Given this purpose, in this section we will take a closer look at the discipline of marketing and the various layers of marketing, the ideology of marketing, and problematize a book about marketing that makes claims such as we do in this book.

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THE LAYERS OF MARKETING Marketing as a discipline has an uneasy position somewhere in-between a properly academic theoretical subject and a business practice. In many instances one can perhaps say that marketing is essentially a discipline that uses science, rather than a science itself. Grasping the essence of marketing is complicated by the fact that the discipline both studies markets in its role as an academic subject and at the same time creates, or at least transforms, markets in its role as a business practice (cf. Kjellberg & Helgesson, 2007). According to Gilles Marion (2006, p. 247), marketing can be construed as having three layers: 1 it is a practice: all actions and deeds conducted by marketing practitioners or professionals close to them (segmenting a market, targeting prospects, positioning products); 2 it is a branch of knowledge: the codified principles and tools (segmentation, marketing mix, product life cycle . . .) used by marketers; and 3 it is an ideology: the enduring beliefs and collective representations (perspectives, frame of reference, viewpoints) shared by marketers. Layer 1 existed long before layer 2; ever since the first marketplaces arose many thousand years ago sellers have attempted to make their offerings more attractive than those offered by other sellers. It was not until the turn of the last century, however, that these practices began to be systematized and shaped in such a way that they became part of the curriculum at business schools and universities across the world. Layer 3, the ideological level, on the other hand, is not something that is usually considered when discussing marketing. Instead the current state of marketing is considered, to the extent that one

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reflects on the matter at all, to be very much a natural state of things, which is the very point of the concept of ideology. The basic ideas of marketing are thus discussed in the same obvious way as if they would have been undisputed natural science phenomenon, such as the law of gravity. Certainly, the subject’s academic status has been continuously discussed for over a half-century (see for example Brown, 1996; Converse, 1945; Taylor, 1963), VALUE but discussions of that kind hardlyAND arise in basic classroom CREATING FOR CONSUMERS, FIRMS, SOCIETY contexts. We are not going to dwell on the subject for too long here, but want to briefly expose andmarketing discuss some of the ideological underpinnings of marketing How can create value for consumers, firms, and society? are the major societal trends thatyou, shape contemporary in orderWhat to contextualize the subject and sensitize the readers and future marketing? How and layers why has marketing become so influential marketers, to some additional of marketing. consumption now defines our entire culture? How can marMostthat of the time when we encounter discussions about marketing, espeketing practices contribute to shape society in a more positive cially at basic levels but in most cases it is not different at advanced academic way? These are examples questions that are the discussed and levels, the subject is introduced in aof manner that presents basic assumpanswered in this book. tions as completely neutral and unproblematic. For example, the goal of marketing isUnboxing presented as being problematizes about creating value, and themarketing consumption Marketing and enriches as itof is taught in introductory courses.leads To do authors amongst use the more goods that provide value therefore to this, morethe well-being metaphor unboxing, which consumers. That allofsounds hunky dory.means to unwrap marketing like was delivered in a closed box created bythe traditional The it American Marketing Association provides followingmarketing definition textbooks. of marketing:

The book builds on the latest scientific research to first unbox

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, some of the major forces affecting society and marketing today, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for such as globalization, sustainabilization, and polarization. Then customers, clients, partners, and society at large. the unboxing moves on to how markets are made and remade, the (https://marketing-dictionary.org/m/marketing/#cite_note-1)

role that value plays, and how contemporary consumer culture operates. Finally, the areas of marketing strategy, marketing It is worth noting that marketing, according to this definition, is about creatresearch, and marketing in the digital era are unboxed.

ing, communicating and delivering value, where value is conceptualized as something positive. A version of this definition can be found in virtually all marketing books at the undergraduate level (including this one, apparently). This definition was approved by the American Marketing Association in 2013. Over the years, the definition has evolved from having initially been about “satisfying needs” – for example “marketing is about satisfying the needs of the customers in the best possible way” – to delivering value. In addition, when the core of marketing is accounted for the definition is typically tweaked to make it even more pointed, although it is basically the same things that are Art.nr 40832 included, which is aptly expressed by Stephen Brown (2004, p. 61): 24  |   1  In t r o duc t i o n

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