Influencing Social Policy

Published on October 30, 2017

Partha Krishnamurthy

When does marketing mean more than building a brand, and when are business schools about more than just business?

Partha Krishnamurthy, marketing professor, Conn Fellow, and director of Bauer’s Institute of Health Care Marketing, believes the answers to those questions explain why business schools can and should be vital parts of any community, with the potential to influence well beyond corporate board rooms or factory floors.

However, when Krishnamurthy asks MBA students to define marketing on the first day of class, he tends to hear answers such as, “’It’s about promotion.” “It’s about brand building.” “It’s about communicating.” “It’s about understanding marketing structure.”

“All of these things are absolutely important aspects of marketing,” says Krishnamurthy, but the definition doesn’t end there.

“If it is done by a firm, we call it marketing, but in fact, everybody markets. The university markets. Students market themselves to the university. Firms market. Museums market. By definition, anytime you are interested in why people behave in a particular manner and you want to understand and influence that behavior so that everyone benefits, you are engaging in marketing research… “Marketing is that function that connects people with complimentary expertise,” Krishnamurthy says. “Therefore, nearly every social activity can be brought under a marketing lens in order to improve.”

“I really believe that business schools and businesses are as core as it gets to the functioning of a society, therefore, we should be front and center whenever major social policy issues are discussed.”

By Julie Bonnin