Marketing can help with social inequality

During one of the classes for a course that I participated a few months ago, there was a discussion about marketing field not exerting enough influence on government policies. This has made me to start thinking about how marketing can exert more influence especially on governmental development policies.

Competition is needed to boost efficiency, innovation, and quality of offerings. Without competition, firms will have no incentives to improve their offerings. There is no doubt that there is need for competition, but the nature of competition matters a lot. The nature of competition in a society determines how well distributed the development of that society will be. Unfortunately, the nature of competition that is currently going on in most parts of the world impedes the objectives of development policies.

Marketing as a field has contributed to knowledge on competition. The current marketing thought on competition is that competition is based on comparative advantage in resources. Whoever has “superior” resources has competitive advantage for success. This describes the reality of things as they are now. It gives an answer to why the richest one percent of the world population owns twice as much as the ninety percent of the world’s population at the bottom of the world’s wealth pyramid.

If marketing wants to become reckoned with in development policies discussions, then marketing field must develop a new basis for competition that focuses on how competition can be done to ensure social equity, and not just describing the reality of competition as it is today. This should be done without jeopardizing the benefits (innovation, efficiency, and quality offerings) that the current marketing thought on competition offers our society. Striking the delicate balance in this area is very crucial. By doing this, marketing will tend to important issues that pertain to development policies.

The contribution by marketing field facilitates prosperity of firms, but it does not imply that the prosperity is fairly distributed to support the objectives of development policies. It is important to note here that I do not think it is possible to achieve a perfectly equal world, but I do think it can be better than what we have today. The vast knowledge in both micro and macro marketing should be used to inform development policies. Marketing research can put more emphasis on the link between marketing activities of a firm and development outcomes in addition to outcomes for firm’s prosperity.

Is there a link between the different types of marketing resources that firms possess comparative advantage for and development metrics performance? For instance, if a certain type of pricing strategy provides a comparative advantage for firms, what is the impact of such a pricing strategy on development performance metrics? If a certain type of marketing communication provides comparative advantage for firms, what is the impact of such marketing communication on development performance metrics? Questions such as these wander through my mind in the attempt to figure out how marketing can exert more influence on development policies.

Wuraola Falana


Wuraola Falana is a doctoral student at the Department of Marketing, Hanken School of Economics. The central theme in her doctoral dissertation research is consumer perceptions of brand innovativeness.


  1. Hunt, S.D. & Morgan, R.M. (1995). The Comparative Advantage Theory of Competition. Journal of Marketing, vol 59, pp. 1-15.

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