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Macromarketing is an interdisciplinary field that studies marketing and how societies make business decisions. It focuses on overall consumer behavior, market regulation, and social responsibility. By comparison, "micromarketing" deals with how firms decide what to make, how to market it, and how much to price it.[1] Topics include the tragedy of the commons, subliminal advertising, and environmental sustainability.


The term "macromarketing" was first used in 1962 by Robert Bartels in The Development of Marketing Thought, in which he "forecast future marketing developments, such as increasing conceptualization, more comparative study, more interdisciplinary research, and a 'new concept of macro-marketing'".[2] Fifteen years later, he and Jenkins published their seminal 1977 article in the Journal of Marketing, where they wrote:[3]

Macromarketing has meant the marketing process in its entirety, and the aggregate mechanism of institutions performing it. It has meant systems and groups of micro institutions, such as channels, conglomerates, industries, and associations, in contrast to their individual component units. More recently, it has meant the social context of micromarketing, its role in the national economy, and its application to the marketing of noneconomic goods.

The article won the Journal of Marketing's Harold H. Maynard Award for its "contribution to marketing thought and theory".[4]

The Macromarketing Society, "an international group of scholars" that studies "matters related to the varied interactions among markets, marketing, and society", was founded in the 1970s. In 1976, Charles Slater organized the first Macro-Marketing Seminar at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which was followed by subsequent seminars from 1977 to 1979. In 1978, the Macro-Marketing Editorial Advisory Board was formed to come up with a policy for the Journal of Macromarketing. On August 9, 1979, the Advisory Board met again in Boulder, Colorado, and the Macromarketing Society came to be.[5]


Macromarketing models are normative constructs, and the discipline that reflects society's value judgments and takes a stance on "how the general marketing process should be conducted in the best interests of society".[3] Some scholars argued that "improving our knowledge of marketing" was a sort of "social process of resource mobilization that, among other things, focuses on an understanding of processes of social learning, adoption, and innovation".[6] In fact, some scholars worried that it was falling out of the spotlight, perhaps because the field was seen as "the conscience of marketing practice", which was less appealing in an academia that values "objectivity and scientific enquiry".[7] macromarketing focused on

Components of marketing thought[3]
Data Theory Normative models Implementation
Micromarketing Data of the firm Theory of the firm Plans for the firm (e.g., pro forma budgets) Firm management, administration, control
Macromarketing Overall data of the marketing system Marketing theory Social values, goals, programs Public regulation, assistance, programs


Macromarketing may be a fairly recent term, but the ideas and interests that it comprises have existed as long as human history. For example, History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides, the Magna Carta, and The Travels of Marco Polo are works that embody macromarketing themes. Macromarketing practice moreover is perhaps as old as society itself. Societies emerged for the welfare of the group; the need for specialization and then exchanges of items produced by specialists surely was evident early on. Greater specialization and support for it begat trade, and eventually markets—which linked many systems in any given society, from production to consumption—were an efficient mechanism to sustain a society, which, fundamentally is a series of institutions and systems agreed upon by the members of the group. For example, even ancient markets like the agora in Athens or a bazaar in Mesopotamia would have been built on systemic organization and coordination, bringing people together.[8]

Modern macromarketing literature on contemporary society may discuss topics like subliminal advertising, environmentally friendly packaging, and transgender consumers. Articles in the Journal of Macromarketing were about marketing ethics,[9] how American muslims use social media to connect with verified halal markets,[10] destination marketing and place branding in gastronomy,[11] and how U.S. nonprofits are addressing the "wicked problem" of gun violence through macro-social marketing.Aimee Dinnin Huff; Michelle Barnhart; Brandon McAlexander; Jim McAlexander (December 2017). "Addressing the Wicked Problem of American Gun Violence: Consumer Interest Groups as Macro-social Marketers". Journal of Macromarketing. 37 (4): 393–408. doi:10.1177/0276146717715744. </ref>

The Macromarketing Society[edit]

The Macromarketing Society has held an Annual Macromarketing Conference since 1976 and has published the quarterly Journal of Macromarketing since 1981. It also liaises with organizations, governments, universities, and nonprofits that share an interest in macromarketing.[12]

The Society is based on five pillars that "deeply matter" and affect everyone around the world:[12]


  1. ^ Mello, James (10 September 2014). "Micro Marketing VS Macro Marketing – Understanding the Differences". Product2Market. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  2. ^ Robert Bartels (1962). The Development of Marketing Thought. Richard D. Irwin. p. 218. 
  3. ^ a b c Robert Bartels; Roger L. Jenkins (October 1977). "Macromarketing" (PDF). Journal of Marketing. 41 (4): 17–20. doi:10.2307/1250229. 
  4. ^ Eric H. Shaw; Robert D. Tamilia (December 2001). "Robert Bartels and the History of Marketing Thought". Journal of Macromarketing. 21 (2): 156–163. doi:10.1177/0276146701212006. 
  5. ^ Hunt, Shelby D. (2011). "On the Founding of the Journal of Macromarketing" (PDF). Journal of Macromarketing. 31 (2): 199–214. doi:10.1177/0276146710383283. 
  6. ^ Robert V. Kozinets; Andrea Hemetsberger; Hope Jensen Schau (December 2008). "The Wisdom of Consumer Crowds: Collective Innovation in the Age of Networked Marketing". Journal of Macromarketing. 28 (4): 339–354. doi:10.1177/0276146708325382. 
  7. ^ Roger A. Layton; Sanford Grossbart (December 2006). "Macromarketing: Past, Present, and Possible Future" (PDF). Journal of Macromarketing. 26 (2): 193–213. doi:10.1177/0276146706294026. 
  8. ^ John McMillan (2002). Reinventing the Bazaar: A Natural History of Markets. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-05021-1. 
  9. ^ Shelby D. Hunt (June 1986). Scott Vitell, ed. "A General Theory of Marketing Ethics" (PDF). Journal of Macromarketing. 6 (1): 5–16. doi:10.1177/027614678600600103. 
  10. ^ Yusniza Kamarulzaman; Ann Veeck; Alhassan G. Mumuni; Mushtaq Luqmani; Zahir A. Quraeshi (December 2016). "Religion, Markets, and Digital Media: Seeking Halal Food in the U.S." Journal of Macromarketing. 36 (3): 400–411. doi:10.1177/0276146715622243. 
  11. ^ Søren Askegaard; Dannie Kjeldgaard (June 2007). "Here, There, and Everywhere: Place Branding and Gastronomical Globalization in a Macromarketing Perspective" (PDF). Journal of Macromarketing. 27 (2): 138–147. doi:10.1177/0276146707300068. 
  12. ^ a b Clifford Shultz II. "President's Welcome". The Macromarketing Society. Retrieved 8 February 2018.