In the United States, discussion of delivery drones usually follows stories such as this New York Times piece about Amazon testing drone delivery of packages. Drone delivery also offers hope to public and social sector organizations as well.
The United States has a higher proportion of children living in poverty than Russia–that’s just one interesting statistic from a recent New York Times article on child poverty. The US has this dismal distinction despite giving tax credits and personal tax exemptions for children as ways to combat poverty.
There’s a fundamental flaw with tax credits. Credits benefit people who earn relatively more money and therefore pay relatively more in taxes. Credits don’t do much for children in the poorest of families. The poorest 20 percent of families receive just $120 per year in benefit from the potential $1,000 child tax credit.
The United States recently elected billionaire businessman Donald Trump as its 45th president. Trump has no prior experience in government, and campaigned in part on his business track record. Voters seemed to like that, apparently thinking that government needs to run more like a business.
While government can certainly learn from business, it’s important to note that government is different than business. President Obama contrasted the two well, as described in a recent Los Angeles Times article. The difference between the two relates to the difference between social goods and private goods.
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?