Better marketing for a better world

New initiative by leading schools calls for marketing impact beyond financial performance

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Better Marketing for a Better World (BMBW) is a new initiative by leading schools calling for marketing to be applied to achieve more than financial performance – to improve lives, sustain livelihoods, strengthen societies and benefit the world at large.

In a Special Issue of the Journal of Marketing on Better Marketing for a Better World, published recently, the initiative’s founding members – London Business School Professor Rajesh Chandy and colleagues Gita V. Johar, Christine Moorman, and John Robert – call for an examination of marketing’s impact beyond a company’s bottom line and focus from scholars on how marketing can contribute to a better world.

It invites marketing scholars to participate in its research agenda, offering three initiatives to create an active and dynamic BMBW research community to create an active and dynamic body of BMBW research community: a monthly series of online BMBW Workshops; training to impart knowledge and tools, and the creation of a data repository.

This Special Issue of the Journal of Marketing on Better Marketing for a Better World, published in early May, served to launch the BMBW initiative. The article examined the impact of marketing beyond a company’s bottom line, with a declared ambition, through the BMBW initiative, to enhance the welfare of a more universal and inclusive body of stakeholders and institutions. The editors suggest that too often, researchers’ assumptions about BMBW research act as barriers that prevent them from pursuing BMBW research. Given this background, the editors offer recommendations on how these barriers might be overcome, individually and institutionally.

BMBW calls for a renewed focus by marketing scholars on how marketing can contribute to a better world and argues that scholars should examine the impact of marketing on outcomes beyond just what is good for the financial performance of firms.

Professor Chandy says: “This Special Issue and the BMBW initiative represents a breakthrough in the academic study of marketing, bringing scholarly scrutiny to the impact of marketing on the world around us. And they point to the wealth of possibilities for further study of how better marketing can help create a better world.”

The Journal of Marketing Special Issue: 'Better Marketing for a Better World', was discussed by the editors in a webinar on 12 May 2021.

The editors suggested marketing scholars and practitioners look at pressing social issues and ask themselves two simple questions:

  • Does this topic belong in marketing?
  • How could you frame this topic as a marketing question?

From these questions, other questions need further consideration: Why is the outcome important to marketing? Does marketing exacerbate the problem? Does marketing have the potential to provide a solution to or an explanation for the problem?

The editors concluded their discussion with the following thought:

"If we cannot transcend our own scholarly tribes and explore beyond the familiar, then it will be a failure of ambition on our part. If we cannot demonstrate to the next generation of scholars that better world outcomes are central to our field, then it would be our failure to inspire. If we cannot marshal the power of ideas and facts to speak with the powerless and to speak truth to power, it would not just be a failure of imagination. It would be a tragedy and a dereliction of our duty as scholars. We can do more. We can do better … for a better world."

BMBW was formed by London Business School’s Professor Rajesh Chandy; Gita V. Johar, Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business Marketing, Columbia Business School; Christine Moorman, the T. Austin Finch, Sr. Professor of Marketing at Duke University, and Professor John Roberts, of the University of NSW. LBS’s Wheeler Institute for Business and Development, of which Professor Chandy is the Tony and Maureen Wheeler Chair in Entrepreneurship & Academic Director, is BMBW’s principal partner.

More from BMBW

Upcoming webinars:

  • BMBW Special Issue: 'Health and Well-being'. Register.
  • BMBW Special Issue: 'Prosocial giving'. Register.

The BMBW hopes more professionals will become members of its initiative. You can complete the membership form. Membership in the initiative provides a way for you to stay in contact with others interested in this area, and to share ideas, updates, and inspiration. There are no subscription fees; the BMBW will also not share your details with other members or third parties without your permission.

If you have any questions, please contact the BMBW team.