How Macro is Macromarketing?

1 minute read

Marketing systems, argued to be at the core of thinking about macromarketing, are rarely contextualised within the capitalist frame in which they appear. Correspondingly, influential political economists who analysed the mechanisms of capitalist endeavour–such as Karl Marx,–are often excluded from macromarketing literature reviews despite the seminality of their research.

In that sense, whilst macromarketing’s macro-dimensions typically entails exploring the aggregated effect of marketing upon society as a whole, the bigger picture still–the functioning of capitalism as a historically contingent and therefore temporary arrangement which shapes macromarketing systems as significantly more than just systems of exchange and (occasionally) profit and, as inherently unstable and grounded on active contradictions–is arguably less explored.

The question I therefore want to put to members here is; is macromarketing sufficiently macro?

If what I am saying is true, then Macromarketing will suffer from a de-politicised and de-contextualised starting point which declines to consider either the temporality of markets (instead considering systems of exchange as based on universal instincts which can be seen even in “primitive” contexts), the idea that markets are structured in order to reproduce class, and also (relatedly) the apparent western-centric/imperialistic basis to analysis.

When such matters are raised, a typical response is to lampoon the questioner of being overly radical and naive in terms of the inherent preference of the current status quo (which assumes a subjective starting point of accessing privilege, albeit with the good intention of wishing to spread privilege but without a theory of class, this must always be an insufficient project) or to externalise the debate as “critical marketing”, as though this were a separate mode of academic scrutiny which macromarketing will nonetheless generously “accommodate”.

Yet at the heart of these debates remains the question: is macromarketing sufficiently macro if it declines to engage with a theory of capitalism as a contingent spatio-temporally located phenomenon that purposely reproduces class?