The Marketing of Ideas and Social Issues

The Marketing of Ideas and Social Issues

The Marketing of Ideas and Social Issues

The Marketing of Ideas and Social Issues


Every idea gained is a hundred years of slavery remitted.

—Richard Jefferies, The Story of My Heart

A marketing transaction is one in which some product offering is exchanged for a payment. But ideas are also offerings and are exchanged in marketlike transactions; the dissemination of ideas is a marketing process.

Picture a retail shop with all sorts of merchandise on display—cans of tuna fish on the shelves, floor samples of furniture, cameras neatly arranged in showcases, or attractive garments hanging on racks. Before arriving at the shop, these goods were designed, manufactured, packaged, wholesaled, delivered, and priced. At various times information about them was communicated to prospective buyers. In short, these products were produced and marketed. The marketing process culminates in physical transfer of the item from retailer to ultimate user.

In another kind of retail establishment the product offering consists of one or more services. These are provided, performed, or rendered by the marketer for the benefit of, or directly to, the customer.

In this book the reader is asked to consider yet a third category of transactions, different from the exchange of physical goods or rendered services. In these exchanges the offering is an idea or a social issue or a cause—a concept. Concepts are conceived, initiated, sponsored, advocated, promulgated, disseminated, and adopted by methods that resemble the marketing process. Products in this category are intangible and abstract. For that reason it is not always easy to imagine them as marketable or as ever being marketed.

This book's mission is to assist the reader in stretching his or her imagination to the point where abstract products are seen in essentially the same light as conventional products. One important aim is that advocates of societally beneficial ideas and issues will find new and increased efficacy in their efforts to educate their chosen publics-their target audiences. If adopting a marketing . . .

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