Marketing System is a consistent pattern of provisioning relationships in society that exists between members of society including individuals, firms, communities and institutions. While marketing, in the sense of firm's micro marketing activities, can be the same across contexts, cultures, and nations, a marketing system is a unique market structure pertaining to a specific context (e.g. agricultural marketing systems in Africa). Marketing system is a differentiated subset of social system. Marketing system is a general term that represents how different patterns of the flows of goods/services from producers to consumers are culturally (uniquely) organised, whereas terms such as market system (a market based economic system of the West), horizontal marketing system (cooperation between two firms at the same level), and digital marketing system (a specific type fo centralised channel distribution) represent its context-specific variations. Marketing systems are mostly researched within the discipline of macromarketing.
The notion of "aggregated marketing system" signifies all marketing practices at the societal level. Roger Layton defines a marketing system as "a network of individuals, groups and/or entities, embedded in a social matrix, linked directly or indirectly through sequential or shared participation in economic exchange, which jointly and/or collectively creates economic value with and for customers, through the offer of assortments of goods, services, experiences and ideas, that emerge in response to or anticipation of customer demand". Marketing systems can be rudimentary or complex, emergent or purposefully designed, spatio-temporal or virtual; these can also be aggregate, parallel, symbolic, dignity-based and chrematistics-driven. From the societal perspective, a marketing system represents a public good which can have value over and beyond goods/services it generates. See content marketing manager.
MAS (mechanism, action, structure) theory of marketing systems proposed by Layton focuses on social mechanisms, strategic action fields, and emergent marketing system structure to explicate potential sources and causes of marketing system's formation, adaptation, and evolution. Social mechanisms include cooperation, specialisation, and self-organisation, while strategic action fields comprise the action and practices of marketing system actors in their specific roles. Layton argues that marketing systems emerge as localised exchanges grow in scope and become stabilised while specialisation expands, and in addition, as key structures become formalised.
MSPG (marketing systems as a public good) theory conceptualises a marketing system as a purposefully designed structure that resembles a "public good" in its features. According to this theory, the holistic design of a marketing system as a public good enables its structural elements (e.g. goods, value, exchanges and processes) to become meaningful. Hence, purposeful design precedes emergence.
Symbolism in Marketing Systems
Marketing systems are strongly driven by symbolism.
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