Back in 2002 Peter Fisher, undersecretary of the U.S. Treasury, described the U.S. federal government as “an insurance company with an army.” After all, if you look at the federal budget, benefits and military spending take the vast majority of funds. Since much of the military focuses on supply chain and distribution, you can modified Fisher’s quote to describe the federal government as an insurance company and a logistics company.
In a previous post I wrote about basic income, the idea that everyone in a society receives money for simple expenses such as food and housing, regardless of whether they work or not. Trends in demographics and technology are driving the idea of and need for basic income.
To many in the United States, this notion probably seems at least farfetched, if not lunacy.
This blog is premised on our social nature and our innate sense of fairness. Those impulses lead to the design, distribution, pricing and promotion of social goods, or marketing the social good. Trends in demographics and technology are pointing to a major change in our society where there are more people than jobs. As social beings concerned with fairness, should we provide universal basic income for everyone, regardless of whether they work?
Distribution is a pillar of marketing, but distribution differs in fundamental ways between the for-profit and the public and social sectors. In the case of vaccine distribution, millions of lives can hang in the balance.
Low-income kids fall behind during the summer, not just academically, but in health and nutrition as well. When school is out, students lack access to free school lunch. How do communities distribute free school lunch to these 21 million children when they aren’t in a central location such as the neighborhood school?
Distribution is vital when launching a new product. How else do you get to enjoy the latest blockbuster movie, new car model, or newly legal recreational marijuana? In recent years three U.S. states–Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state–have legalized recreational marijuana. The states have an interest in effectively distributing marijuana. Otherwise, they won’t realize the increased tax revenues they expect from the new product.
In business school, we poured over case studies about how companies solved, or didn’t solve, a particular challenge. So here’s a challenge for you: how would you use existing products, distribution channels and means of promotion in health marketing to improve nutrition in one of the largest and richest countries in the world?
This blog needs a definition of social goods. That’s a bit difficult, though. Even economists don’t have a clear and agreed-upon definition. So by way of definition, let’s discuss the characteristics and problems of social goods. We’ll see how those characteristics pose problems for traditional marketing activities such as design, distribution, pricing and promotion.
You might think of the social insects as builders: ants and termites, bees and wasps. Social mammals also build for the community. For instance, tunneling mammals like prairie dogs, voles and meerkats build communal networks of tubes and chambers.
To continue bringing you topics of interest in the new year, I took a look back at what you read the most this year. Here are the top five posts published in 2015, as measured by your views: