The topic of marketing as a source of a “better world” is gaining rising importance in academia and practice. It represents an opportunity to move towards the development of a more prosperous, fair, and equitable society. Nevertheless, questions remain about how organizations could comprehensively form and nurture marketing for good. In this paper, we display a critical review of the most widely accepted theoretical approaches related to better marketing for a better world (BMBW) to seek new research perspectives. We contribute to extending prior literature by presenting its main criticalities, articulating them around three clusters of shortcomings in view of how recent literature is evolving. Based on this analysis, we then recommend avenues for future research and associated research questions to stimulate and advance further scholarly investigations.
Scholars and practitioners often ask: “Can marketing help the world to be better?” Ideally, the answer would be “Absolutely, yes!” Being at the front of all market exchanges, guided by parties looking to solve needs efficiently and effectively, and empowered by recent technological progress, marketing has the power to improve lives and benefit the world at large (Chandy et al., 2021; Marino et al., 2020; Sheth et al., 2011).
The idea of marketing as a way for a better world is not new (Drucker, 1969). Several marketing scholars endorse the idea that the primary purpose of marketing is to drive positive changes in the world and society (Chandy et al., 2021). This perspective supports that marketing has the potential to shift routinized dynamics both within and outside the organization to strive toward achieving a better place to work and live in. Frequently used as an umbrella term, better marketing for a better world (BMBW) encompasses the belief that marketing activities may have a positive impact beyond organizational frontiers, and, in the long run, they enhance the welfare of the world’s stakeholders and institutions, such as businesses, customers, and the society at large (Chandy et al., 2021). In this conception, for instance, by emphasizing the long-lasting nature of high-end products, consumers are more likely to overcome product durability neglect and buy fewer but better high-end products (Sun et al., 2021). Similarly, prior research found that to overcome consumer resistance to sustainability interventions, companies and governments should not target individual behaviors but social practice changes (Gonzalez-Arcos et al., 2021).
Today’s world is striving for a better application of marketing approaches. The purpose of this article is to critically review the most widely accepted approaches to BMBW and seek new research perspectives. Drawing on the main weaknesses or criticalities presenting in existing studies, this article contributes to identifying the shortcomings as the basis for future research on this topic. Notably, it provides associated future research agenda questions aimed at stimulating the reconceptualization of the marketing research domains and other related research disciplines. We anticipate that this refinement will strengthen the research focus on incorporating BMBW techniques into all research domains of marketing.
In addition to the theoretical implications, this article also provides implications for practice. Understanding BMBW and findings ways to enhance marketing for good would help organizations building a more sustainable business, which is crucial for their success in current times. This review may help organizations and policymakers develop strategies that generate real value for customers, thus contributing to the achievement of a more prosperous, fair, and sustainable society.