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Marketing and society

Explore our work in marketing and society, an area of expertise within our Marketing research area


Our marketing and society research looks at macro trends influencing consumer decision making such as sustainability, pollution and health, and the relationship between marketing and society. 

We explore key managerial and policy challenges related to the contemporary growth in marketing activity, particularly in relation to the digital economy. Issues we explore include managing negative consumer behaviour, consumer privacy and public policy, shifts in demographics and how marketing can generate positive behavioural and social change.

We explore how business can reach new markets in new ways through the growth in digital platforms, such as websites, which can be accessed from anywhere, across any device and can open up completely new customer bases. Through well-thought out websites, online market giants like Amazon have completely transformed the way people shop online.

As new digital platforms and business models reach a global scale, marketers and policy makers need a solid understanding of the changing interface between marketing and society. Marketing has been perceived historically as solely concerned with maximising revenues, but now it plays a much broader role in society, from communicating health risks and raising awareness of conditions, to addressing and preventing societal issues like fake news.

Our research can help policy makers understand these complex social phenomena and develop marketing strategies to address them. Our research has already achieved impact by using social marketing to help tackle India's breast cancer crisis.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Managing the impact of growing tourist numbers

As the world economy grows, the number of international tourists has boomed, accompanied by stories of poor tourist behaviour. Our research looks at behaviours and provides practical steps for tourism authorities and companies to mitigate the impact of negative tourist behaviour. 

  • Commercial opportunities and policy implications for older consumers' growing use of social media

The majority of countries, rich and poor, are experiencing a demographic shift where populations are rapidly ageing. With economic power shifting to older consumers, it is increasingly important that businesses understand how and why elderly customers make their purchases. However, our perspectives of older customers are often driven by outdated stereotypes of the elderly – particularly in relation to technology. This research investigates the opportunities for businesses to develop a nuanced view of older consumers and considers important implications for policy makers to avoid digital exclusion as more products and services go online

  • Managing the privacy risks of customer data

Online data collection is transforming the ability of marketers to use and collect data to understand customers and better target products and services. Consumers are also increasingly concerned about personal privacy and demand greater regulation.

We have helped companies such as Tesco, professional associations like Market Research Society, the Royal Statistical Society, and the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association, and the UK Cabinet Office, to respond to emerging issues around privacy in the digital economy.

Discover our areas of expertise

Marketing and society is an area of expertise in the Marketing research area. Explore the other areas below.

Interested in a PhD in Marketing?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our Marketing postgraduate research degrees page.

 

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