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.
Lucky Iron Fish is a certified B Corp working to improve health around the world, starting in Cambodia. They’ve made a short video, with the help of Google, to tell their organization’s origin story. The video is a great two-minute organizational narrative example that uses the five parts of Joseph Campbell’s mythological story form to tell an compelling story:
Regardless of whether you support same-sex marriage or not, have you wondered how the movement went from losing 30 state-wide votes by 2009 to winning approval in 37 states and a Supreme court ruling by 2015? It really was a stunning comeback victory for marketing same-sex marriage.
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?
“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” –Steve Jobs*
People are drawn to work and volunteer in the public and social sectors because they want to tackle big, meaningful problems like poverty and hunger and homelessness. And then they burn out because they find that big, meaningful problems are hard to tackle. Maybe they, and we, are just defining the problem incorrectly.
In her TED talk, “Social Services Are Broken: How We Can Fix Them,” Hilary Cottam displayed a chart mapping 20 years of social services interventions in the life of one family (screen shot shown above). Color-coded shapes along two timelines mark each encounter in which schools, police and social services interacted with the mother, sister or son in a family. The inset timeline shows the accelerating nature of interactions with the system, while the main timeline shows the 50+ incidents that occurred in a single year.
The book The Business Solution to Poverty argues against non-profit development and for scalable, business-like approaches to end poverty. When I reviewed the book, I saw a lot of practical wisdom in the argument, but also wondered how many such approaches could live up to the challenge. I think Hello Tractor could make the grade.
A recent article in Medium gives an informative critique of Elon Musk‘s pitch for Tesla Energy earlier this year, including five elements to include in any pitch. Two of those five elements line up with the hero’s quest and Pixar pitch that I’ve previously discussed.
School’s out for the summer, but it’s not always a happy time for kids. For students participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program, summer time can mean going hungry. Many schools continue to offer subsidies meals during the summer, but not all students can trek to school during the summer when buses are no longer running.