How can we make the world a better place?
That’s the question driving Ben Wooliscroft, the first Professor of Macromarketing at AUT and in the world. In answering such a lofty enquiry, Professor Wooliscroft uses a holistic, multidisciplinary approach that is founded on what he calls “a playful approach to research”.
“We need researchers who are question driven – who are open to looking around and being inspired by new things and new approaches,” says Professor Wooliscroft, who is President of the Macromarketing Society Inc., an international society based out of the United States.
What, exactly, is macromarketing? The Wellington-born, South-Island-raised academic defines it as studying the “interactions between markets, marketing and society”. In other words, how we can do things better for the benefit of all. Professor Wooliscroft says his research interests span brand conceptualisation and barriers to effective and equitable mobility (“Auckland is broken,” he declares) to ethical consumption, the gig economy and the history of begging in the US city of Denver, Colorado.
“My research is quite diverse but it’s always about how to improve the quality of life of our citizens and our distant citizens. The research we, social scientists, do is incredibly difficult because it must transfer to the real world. We encounter so many interactions, feedback loops – easy answers are not available.”
Macromarketing has long existed as an approach to research, but Professor Wooliscroft says the “increasingly stressed” times that we now live in make macromarketing research even more valuable.
“It’s deeply concerning, for example, that the major dialogue around climate change is to find solutions that are technocratic, to figure out which technology we can swap out, and to identify what we can sell people to fix things – rather than how we can behave more efficiently and move differently.”
Professor Kate Kearins, Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of AUT’s Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, says Professor Wooliscroft’s expertise will complement the already strong Department of Marketing.
“Professor Wooliscroft holds a singular position in an arena that affects almost everyone in some way or another. Our AUT researchers always strive to ensure their work has real-world impact, and I have no doubt that Professor Wooliscroft will bring invaluable insights and answers to contemporary challenges and questions.”