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Humanistic Marketing is a response to the currently growing mega-trend call for rethinking marketing. The book organizes current thinking around the problems of marketing theory and practice as well as solutions and ways forward, providing a diverse exploration of the position of marketing in the face of challenges for societal transformation.





Marketing practice and scholarship are facing unprecedented challenges. The unsustainability of resource use, the increasing inequity of the market, and the continuous decline in societal trust pose a threat to business and ‘marketing as usual’. Capitalism is at a crossroads and scholars, practitioners and policy makers are being called to rethink their purpose and assumptions in light of major societal and environmental changes (Pirson & Lawrence, 2009). As current marketing thinking is based on the exchange paradigm it is largely informed by economics. Therefore it draws substantively from neo-classical theories of human beings. Accordingly, a human is a materialistic utility maxi-mizer that values individual benefit over group and societal benefit. A ‘homo economicus’ engages with others only in a transactional manner to fulfil his or her stable and predictable interests. He/she is amoral, values short-term gratification, and often acts opportunistically to further personal gain. Business strategy and marketing organization are largely based on these limited and limiting assumptions and, in turn, are blamed for creating negative externalities. This can be seen in unhealthy consumption patterns such as smoking or overeating, or an increasingly consumer ist and materialist society that cherishes the “What I have “more than the “Who I am “and “What I do”, resulting in widespread instances of depression.
Michael Baker, Richard J. Varey

What’s Wrong with Marketing in Theory and in Practice?


1. Where Marketing Causes Trouble

In its broadest sense, marketing is ‘what people do when they want to provide something to, or get something from, someone else’ (Levy, 1978, p. 14). Marketing is typically considered successful if (and only if) the parties involved consider the exchange of this ‘something’ of ‘posi. tive value’ (Bagozzi, 1974). In pursuit of mutually beneficial exchanges, marketing no longer provides consumers only with everyday necessities and amenities — such as nutrition, shelter, sanitation, or transport — but also plays an increasing role in supporting consumers’ identity construc. tion and expression.
Verena E. Stoeckl, Marius K. Luedicke

2. Re-affirming the Prevailing Order?

Various commentaries on consumption have been around for millennia, during which time it has waxed and waned, but never disappeared. It appears in texts from ancient Athens, the Roman philosophers, the Christian church, the Romantic poets, and today from a myriad of marketing scholars (Rudmin & Kilbourne, 1996). Within this domain, the role of consumption as expressive behaviour has also been devel. oping. Among the factors studied have been measurement (Richins, 2004), the individual consequences of consumption (Rindfleisch et al., 1997), identity formation (Holt, 1997; Micken & Roberts, 1999), envi. ronmental consequences (Kilbourne et al., 2002; Prothero et al., 2011), and global consequences (Kilbourne, 2004). This breadth of topics suggests that the field has transcended the traditional micro-marketing approach to consumption. However, most research today still examines consumption as it is currently practiced and does not normally extend to the genesis of such practices.
Pierre McDonagh, William E. Kilbourne, Andrea Prothero

3. What Is Critical Marketing Studies? Reading Macro, Social, and Critical Marketing Studies

Recently, a variety of research approaches have come together under the banner of Critical Marketing Studies. The purpose of this chapter is to briefly review this orientation, differentiating it from mainstream macromarketing and social marketing. Schematically, we can say that macromarketing and social marketing are evangelical about the further extension of markets, marketing theories and concepts to ever wider spheres of the social world (Böhm & Brei, 2008; Moor, 2011). Out of the two, macromarketing is closest in orientation to Critical Marketing. Social marketing is more questionable and I offer a cautionary evalua. tion of ‘critical social marketing’.
Mark Tadajewski

4. Rehumanizing Marketing (and Consumer Behaviour)

Why should we care about the words used in marketing and consumer behaviour? Surely, as modern disciplines, the words and phrases accu. rately reflect that which we study and that interests us, and our termi. nology doesn’t blind us to important issues or have the potential to upset or alienate people?
Ben Wooliscroft

5. Wants vs. Needs: On the Philosophical Bases of Humanistic Marketing

The present demand for Humanistic Marketing, as going beyond and synthesizing previous concepts of integrity marketing and sustainability marketing, may be representative for the current state of management theory at large. Why do scholars aim to distinguish some forms of marketing as ‘humanistic’ (or, by inclusion, as integrity or sustainability oriented)? Can marketing-as-usual no longer service human interests adequately? For, although conventional marketing clearly fulfils its instrumental function of nudging people toward consumption, doubt has arisen as to its merits. While business tools are ordinarily appreciated in proportion to their (increasing) functionality, marketing-as-usual, instead, appears to lose approval when meeting its professed goals.
Claus Dierksmeier

6. Marketing for Mortality? The Scottish Case and the Humankind Index

Place marketing strategies are becoming increasingly sophisticated with city branding in particular developing as an important sub field within this literature (Kotler et al., 2002). City branding campaigns often highlight consumption opportunities which may be seen as a means of promoting recovering from the identity crisis caused by de-industrialization. Indeed, Miles (2010) suggests that the consuming city has become central to urban life to the extent that policy-makers and urban planners focus on consumption at the expense of anything else.
Kathy Hamilton, Katherine Trebeck

7. Criminal Marketing: An Inhuman Side of Business

As a general concept and term we use criminal marketing in this chapter. Its definition is incomplete and fuzzy and we see it as tentative. The reason is simple: to define crime, organized crime, corruption, viola. tion of ethical and social standards, and so on is extremely compli. cated. According to the legal profession a criminal is a person who has been found guilty of a crime after trial. The criminologist’s definition is wider, including cases when a person is not prosecuted and sentenced, often because of legal technicalities and ignorance of the police and courts. This means that official crime statistics are highly unreliable; the unknown — the dark figure — is considerable. Criminologists go further and include deviant and socially unacceptable conduct that can cause serious harm to society thus adding an ethical dimension. The ordinary citizen relates more readily to the criminologist definition (Walsh & Ellis, 2007; White & Hab ibis, 2005). Here we will focus on corruption and organized crime.
Nils Bagelius, Evert Gummesson

8. Can Society Nurture Humanistic Marketing?

We are all guilty. For unethical business practices, increasing environ. mental crises, overconsumption, market misbehaviours, social injus. tice, falling rate of satisfaction with life, institutionalization of fraud, declining morality in society, and many other imperfections, we are all guilty. We are guilty because we have developed too much hope and faith in markets — ‘the idols of our own creation’ (Wallis, 2010) — and market rules. Markets, which once upon a time cultivated the seeds of hope, prosperity, happiness, peace, and harmony in human society, have now become the breeding grounds for despair, difficulties, agonies, anxieties, and conflicts. Markets, which used to bring people together in society, have now become battlefields where people stand in opposition and anxiously blame one another for the imperfections of their habitat, ‘the market’. In this battleground, angry voices are heard from all corners. Everybody in the field is simultaneously a plaintiff, a defendant, and a judge.
Aliakbar Jafari

9. How Is Humanistic Marketing Possible?

For me, the question in this volume on ‘Humanistic Marketing’ is whether and how marketing can become humanistic and what the results of this transformation might be if it can occur. Clearly, in the minds of the contributors of this volume, marketing as we know and practice it today has unsatisfactory characteristics and outcomes, and I should begin by saying that I agree with this point of view. My purpose in this chapter will be to explore some of the reasons that underlie the unsatisfactory nature of marketing. Hopefully, these explorations will provide us with insights as to what may be required for a substantive transformation.
A. Fuat Firat

Marketing as a Force for Good


10. Fusing Back the Human, Radically

For nearly three centuries of the industrial, modern, scientific era, our lives and existence — our lifeworlds — to use the term from European philosophical tradition (Husserl, 1913; Merleau-Ponty, 1962) — have been split sharply into roles: consumer, worker, saver, investor, voter, resident, spouse, parent, child, sibling, partner, neighbour, ‘friend’ (including the new use of this term for cyber-connections), etc. Some of these roles have been receiving boosted valourization in the era of advanced capitalism, especially those of ‘consumer’ and ‘investor’. Let me illustrate this increasingly high valour ization of the consumer role via some contemporary examples.
Nikhilesh Dholakia

11. Translating Anthropological Consumption Theories into Humanistic Marketing Practices

Marketing has many uses. In the business-to-business sector, firms use marketing to attract other firms as clients. In the government sector, agencies use marketing to serve marginalized stakeholders. In the non-profit sector, advocates use marketing to promote social causes. However, the most ardent, creative, and visible users of marketing are for-profit corporations in the business-to-consumer sector (e.g., Nestle, PepsiCo, P&G, Unilever, and Walmart). The extensive use of marketing in this sector to generate quick profits, without concern for long-term consumer welfare, has sullied the profession’s reputation.
Ahir Gopaldas

12. Well-being Marketing as Humanistic Marketing

Well-being marketing refers to the business mechanism that plans, prices, promotes, and distributes consumer goods for the purpose of enhancing customer well-being (i.e., marketing beneficence) while preserving the well-being of all other stakeholders (i.e., marketing non-maleficence). As such, well-being marketing has two dimensions: marketing beneficence and marketing non-maleficence. Marketing beneficence refers to marketing decisions (e.g. market selection, product strategy, price strategy, distribu. tion strategy, and promotion strategy) designed to enhance customer well-being. Conversely, marketing non-maleficence alludes to marketing decisions designed to preserve the well-being of other stakeholders . other than customers (e.g., employees, stockholders, distributors, suppliers, local community, and the environment).
Grace B. Yu, Dong-Jin Lee, M. Joseph Sirgy

13. Constructive Engagement, Macromarketing, and Humanistic Marketing

The two most recent definitions of marketing, as posited by thoughtful members of the AMA in 2004 and 2007, have generated considerable discussion about the nature, scope and foci of marketing. The 2004 definition was not fully embraced by the AMA membership, nor has it been uniformly adopted by other marketing organizations and associa. tions around the world, where some of the most compelling marketing activity now unfolds; hence the 2007 revised definition.
Clifford J. Shultz, Stanley J. Shapiro

14. Wisdom as Excellence in Commitment to the Humanistic Marketing Practice Paradigm

The dominant marketing practices of the modern age are barely human. istic (Sheth & Sisodia, 2006; Varey, 2010a). It appears that marketing practices are driven towards inciting individual egos to serve their own transient desires while being indifferent to commonly shared and shaped scapes (i.e. domains of life, spheres of collective value crea. tion). In this sense, marketing atomizes egos and snatches them away from their embedded “nurseries “(Daly et al., 1994). Marketing appeals to individuals to maximize their own utilities and maintain indiffer. ence to shared utilities. Considering that shared and common spheres are fundamental to our becoming actualized human beings, we can in fact talk about the tragedy of commons across the whole humanistic spectrum: natural resources, societal relationships, morality, ethics, and generational evolution. All such shared spheres need some kind of input on the part of human beings in order to be kept sound and sustainable. Orthodox mainstream marketing activities exploit these shared “treasures “but fail to replenish them. Moreover, traditional marketing, guided by neo-classical assumptions, constantly erodes these shared spheres of humanity. Misguided assumptions lead to anti. human practices: the deteriorating natural environment affects our bodies; crippled social relationships impair our spirits; whereas our common intergenerational existence (our being), mutated through myopic temporal decisions, has reduced our ability to survive.
Djavlonbek Kadirov, Richard J. Varey

15. Power to the People: An Essay on Branding and Global Democracy

The world is moving in two opposite and mutually incompatible direc. tions at one and the same time as if it was divided into two parallel universes: more prosperity for more people and yet even more poverty for even more people; the ideas of democracy literally catching fire as I write during the Arab Spring but also gruesome tyrannies and radical religious groups spreading dread and fear through terror and torture. Prominent political theorists have described each of these movements.
Thomas Boysen Anker

16. Responsible Advertising for Sustainable Development: The Case of French Responsible Agencies

The values and principles of advertising and those of sustainable devel. opment are in many respects contradictory to each other. Indeed, the advertising industry, and in particular commercial advertising, was created as the major tool of the capitalist system in the late 19th and early part of the 20th century in order to boost consumption and growth. This process — which is problematic with the currently fast developing notion of sustainable consumption — is a subset of sustain. able development that has been discussed by a number of authors in the macro marketing literature (Dolan, 2002; Kilbourne et al., 1997; Kilbourne, 2004; Kilbourne, 1995; Schaefer & Crane, 2005; Heiskanen & Pantzar, 1997; Peattie & Crane, 2005; Varey, 2010; Varey, 2011). For a few decades now a large body of literature has critically assessed one of the main ideological functions of advertising: the creation of meaning for commodities in a capitalist economy (Baudrillard, 1968, 1970; Cathelat & Cadet, 1976; Featherstone, 2007; Lash & Urry, 1994; Leiss et al., 2005; McCracken, 1986; Sherry, 1987; Shudson, 1993; Wernick, 1991; Williamson, 1978). These studies note that advertising, as a tool of the ideology of consumption, transforms the purely mate. rial function of commodities into a symbolic world of ideological and cultural meanings, which are attached to these commodities.
Fabrice Desmarais, Sauveur Fernandez, Jean-Marc Gancille

17. Sustainable Marketing through the Natural Step

In recent years the ecological and humanitarian reasons for businesses to become environmentally and socially sustainable have become clearer than ever. With less fanfare, the business rationale for sustainable prac. tices has also begun to clarify. Many marketing companies, including some of the world’s largest and most successful (e.g., Walmart, Nike, and Interface Carpets), have undertaken the serious task of becoming more environmentally neutral and more socially responsible. In moving to more sustainable models, these companies have not compromised their economic futures. On the contrary, they are helping to usher in a new business paradigm that will ensure their economic viability in a world of increasingly scarce natural resources and rapidly growing consumer markets.
Diane M. Martin, John W. Schouten

18. Social Networks and Marketing Happiness? The Potential Role of Marketing in an Electronic World

In this world of increasing electronic connectivity we are often amazed at the widespread popularity of social networks, instant email connec. tions, and almost universal personal cell phone ownership. Today it seems that if you don’t have a social media presence there is something wrong with you! The ‘selling’ side of business demands an Internet pres. ence. Retail businesses face unheard-of competition from on-line sellers, such as Amazon, resulting in an ever decreasing number of ‘bricks ‘n’ mortar’ retail shops. The ability to electronically connect to each other has become so popular because we, as people, have a great desire to be connected to each other. In fact, the science of happiness is very clear in listing ‘relationships’ as the foremost determinate of happiness. So we embrace every opportunity to connect with an underlying hope of becoming happier.
Ed Vos, Richard J. Varey

19. Social Business — Everybody’s Business

An invitation to contribute a chapter to an edited collection is always welcome as an opportunity to promote one’s own perspective and inter. ests. However, in doing so, it is important that one does not stray too far from the Editors’ intention and the theme that they wish to address and illuminate. In common with many other ideas that enjoy widespread currency, ‘humanism’ is a complex concept covered by a wide variety of definitions and explanations, from which it follows that one would be well advised to ask the Editor which is their preferred approach when preparing one’s own offering. As editor, Richard Varey indicated that, ulti. mately, any perspective and point of view would emerge from a synthesis of the materials submitted. However, for the purposes of my own contri. bution he suggested that ‘my “Well-being Marketing “operates on human. istic principles, primarily dignity and human flourishing. Business is the careful use of resources to accomplish a better quality of life for all — by fulfilling basic needs — that is rewarded with profit for effective and effi. cient provisioning within limits’. In advocating what I refer to as Social Business I will attempt to follow these guidelines and in this chapter seek to identify some of the distinctive features of social business, why it is important, and current thinking about its effective implementation.
Michael J. Baker

Closing Commentary: Towards Humanistic Marketing?

A reading of the diverse chapters of this book produces a’ stock-taking’ bricolage or mosaic of thinking that challenges assumptions that have guided marketing for a hundred years. And this is certainly not a linear logical flow from the clear-cut question What is humanistic marketing?’ to a simple singular resolution in a universal definition. Marketing as if humans matter is founded on, and operates with, civic values beyond efficiency — humane values such as: justice, fairness, dignity, well-being, freedom and equality. Taking the necessarily highly selective body of work presented here as a whole, we envision a humanistic approach that centres on preserving human dignity and moving away from the treatment of people as mere consumers and sources of revenue to recog. nizing and identifying with the richness of people as flourishing citi. zens. The core purpose of Humanistic Marketing is increasing authentic well-being (rather than materialistic partial wealth) sustainably for stakeholders, now and in future generations. Such a human-centred economy preserves dignity and increases citizen well-being well beyond the limits of consumption value.
Richard J. Varey, Michael Pirson


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