Applying Marketing Muscle to Social Issues

Posted On April 8, 2013 by Meiling Arounnarath
Categories The Pulse, Top Stories

Thirty-six doctoral students and junior faculty from around the world recently gathered at Georgia State’s Buckhead Center for the 5th Biennial Marketing and Public Policy Workshop and Doctoral Seminar – a four-day event at which emerging scholars received guidance on how to apply their marketing expertise to the greater social good.

“As a nation, we are over-consuming in areas that affect our long-term welfare. We have high rates of obesity and personal debt, including alarming levels of student loans. Our appetite for new, bigger and better is creating real environmental issues,” said host organizer Pam Ellen, who is an associate professor in Robinson’s Department of Marketing.

“At the same time,” she continued, “we have regions with shortages of access to health care, nutritional food sources and – with extended droughts – sufficient water. There is no shortage of problems but there is a shortage of rigorous marketing research that can help to resolve these issues. Our workshop is designed to encourage and equip junior scholars to do just that.”

The topics at each workshop vary, but the emphasis is always on how the discipline can respond to pressing concerns, such as enhancing financial and health literacy, reducing consumption of water and electricity, and contributing to social entrepreneurship initiatives to improve the quality of life in impoverished communities here and overseas.

Participants learn expectations for rigorous research in marketing, policy, and consumers and society; develop and present their ideas; and cultivate friendships and working relationships. Networking is a key feature of the workshop, given that these scholars are in such a specialized field there are only pockets of them around the world.

“Some people are under the impression that business school and businesses only serve stockholders, but we also serve stakeholders, which include consumers and society-at-large,” Ellen said. “We want to give these doctoral students and junior faculty the tools to make an impact in the world.”