Chapter 1 The Soul and the Curative Marketing Concept – In Search for the Soul of International Business


The Soul and the Curative Marketing Concept

Three score and 17 years ago, Joseph Schumpeter regaled us with the concept of creative disruption. He presented successful innovation as only a temporary market shift, which, though threatening the profits of old firms, was itself facing the pressure of new competitors commercializing their own inventions. Such continuing cyclicality was taken on in greater detail by various subfields in business and society and delivered high explanatory value. Consider the link between transportation capabilities and market reach. See the time–service linkages developed by Hollander’s “wheel of retailing.” He postulates that firms tend to start at the bottom of the wheel and move up in terms of services and pricing until more efficient competitors transition them out from the wheel.

Today, disruption has become broader in scope with more new entrants, and with their disruptions coming not just from the same industry or even from similar business models. A representation of disruption reflects a continuous flow of newly entering players emanating from different countries and regions. To countermand aggression, it is no longer sufficient to force besieged firms to simply lower their prices. Nowadays, there can be entirely different products, which deliver better value to consumers. Unicorn companies, like Twitter and Netflix, are startups valued at more than US$1 billion within a very short time. Unicorns have succeeded and caused many casualties with their winner-takes-all market approach. When Netflix emerged in 1997, with its lower price and convenience, it quickly permanently overtook Blockbuster, the video rental firm. With its 10,000 retail stores, the firm was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2010.

But with the world becoming more dynamic and divided than ever before, security and religion appear to be held in higher esteem by society than economics and business. Corporations are increasingly expected to play a stronger role as a collaborator with government and society in finding solutions to often-unforeseen future challenges. Winner-takes-all competition begins to give way to a strategy based on global collaboration. Money no longer is the only or ultimate outcome of business efforts. Firms who neglect holistic perspectives and argue based on business principles alone may increasingly find themselves on the losing end. Self-sufficient, societally supportive, and leading is how many business executives like to see themselves. Yet, their activities are only one slice of a floating sphere formed by a score of other components integral to society.

This is one key reason for the emergence of the concept of curative marketing, which accepts responsibility for particularly international problems that marketing has caused. It then uses marketing’s capabilities to set things right even for the long term and works to increase the well-being of the individual and society on a global level. Curative marketing’s two key perspectives consist of looking back at what marketing has wrought and looking forward to set things right for future relations and actions. Curative marketing provides the concept and context for the assessment of participation.