My Review for – Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy

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Marketing has a greater purpose, and marketers, a higher calling, than simply selling more widgets, according to John Quelch and Katherine Jocz.

In Greater Good, the authors contend that marketing performs an essential societal function-and does so democratically. They maintain that people would benefit if the realms of politics and marketing were informed by one another’s best principles and practices.

Quelch and Jocz lay out the six fundamental characteristics that marketing and democracy share: (1) exchange of value, such as goods, services, and promises, (2) consumption of goods and services, (3) choice in all decisions, (4) free flow of information, (5) active engagement of a majority of individuals, and (6) inclusion of as many people as possible. Without these six traits, both marketing and democracy would fail, and with them, society.

Drawing on current and historical examples from economies around the world, this landmark work illuminates marketing’s critical role in the development, growth, and governance of societies. It reveals how good marketing practices improve the political process and-in turn-the practice of democracy itself.


Quelch’s book is very insightful about the topic of political marketing (ie: elections campaigns) and how most people think that marketing is only relevant to advertising and sales when really “political marketing” should be applied just as rigorously in politics as successful marketers treat consumers in the commercial marketplace. He then places an important point that because of the political world’s neglect to reach or “market” themselves to extensive audiences, the commercial marketplace has actually become more democratic than the political one. If one really thinks about it, that statement is entirely true, seeing how low voter turnout has been in the past decades, especially among the younger generation who feels that their involvement in politics is futile.

Most people know much more and have even way more opinions and personal involvement regarding what products they buy. I know I can speak for myself in that I have relatively strong opinions say, for example, the kind of shampoo I buy. Ultimately, all shampoo is relatively similar but because there is a plethora of hair care ads and commercials that advocate their product’s “strengths” that prove their superiority to other brands, I as a consumer feel that I can develop my opinion based on the fact that it appears that I am presented with the knowledge to make a sound consumer decision.

So why then, is the average citizen not presented with this kind of desire for consumer outreach in the political realm? Isn’t it almost absurd that something as important as promoting involvement in our country’s political future seems to have less inducement from our government than marketers have for promoting the sales of shampoo?
So the book encourages government (and politicians) to treat citizens the way successful marketers treat consumers, because if politicians applied marketing best practices to their own campaigns and to public policy programs, democracy would work more effectively. He states that companies can learn from democracy’s focus on fairness and concern for the greater good- hence the title. So in terms of the current election, the topic related to marketing and branding candidates is directly relatable to the McCain- Obama presidential race.

Overall, Quelch is very knowledgeable and is right on point with his arguments which make this book an insightful and worthwhile read.

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