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Journal cover: Marketing Intelligence & Planning

Marketing Intelligence & Planning

ISSN: 0263-4503
Incorporates: Journal of Marketing Practice: Applied Marketing Science

Online from: 1983

Subject Area: Marketing

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Memetics: a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour and influence

Document Information:
Title:Memetics: a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour and influence
Author(s):Paul S. Marsden, (D Phil Research Student, Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)
Citation:Paul S. Marsden, (1998) "Memetics: a new paradigm for understanding customer behaviour and influence", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 16 Iss: 6, pp.363 - 368
Keywords:Consumer behaviour, Consumer marketing, Influence, Marketing communications, Marketing information systems, Marketing theory
Article type:Conceptual Paper
DOI:10.1108/EUM0000000004541 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:The objective of this paper is to provide a non-technical introduction to the science of memetics and to suggest how this new discipline may be applied to the design and development of effective marketing campaigns. The technique is based on a neo-Darwinian evolutionary model of information transmission that may be used to explain and predict the “infectiousness” of certain ideas and behaviours. It is argued that traditional marketing theories based on rational choice theory may rely on an impossible homuncular psychology and it is suggested that a viable alternative would be to understand customer behaviour from a memetic perspective - the result of contagion rather than conscious choice. From the memetic paradigm the role of marketing communications becomes one of designing and engineering infectious “mind viruses” that will influence customer perceptions and behaviour. Whilst memetics is still in its infancy, it is suggested that memetic engineering may provide a viable and effective complementary framework to standard techniques for developing successful marketing strategies.

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