Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Up and Out of Poverty

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

Up and Out of Poverty

The Social Marketing Solution

Wharton School Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Helping people escape poverty requires more than money. It needs a new, social marketing approach.

Editorial Rating



  • Bold


Sound marketing can push products and services through sales channels. But can donors successfully apply the same marketing techniques to poverty reduction programs? That’s the bold recommendation of authors Philip Kotler and Nancy R. Lee. They build a solid case, linking social marketing strategy with actual case studies worldwide. As the authors note, developed nations spent an estimated $23 trillion on foreign aid packages over the past five decades, but their money has done little to reduce poverty. The missing factor is a social marketing strategy that changes local behaviors and helps people work their way out of poverty. While this is a noble goal, Kotler and Lee’s argument reads like a dry textbook, with too many lists and bullet points. Still, getAbstract found it to be an instructive guide for NGOs, governments and social activists who seek advanced strategies to bolster their poverty reduction programs.


New Tools

Poverty is a worldwide epidemic. About one-sixth of the world’s population makes less than $1 a day and another two billion people, or one-third of the world’s population, make less than $2 a day. Poverty wastes lives, encourages crime, fosters illness and builds political instability. Anti-poverty programs have existed since the 19th century. Some work and some do not.

Developed nations should work to solve poverty to increase political stability and minimize illegal immigration, as more people seek to escape poor living conditions in their native countries. In addition, nations’ incomes can increase as the poor begin to participate in their countries’ economic society. One expert estimated that if the world’s poor could afford to buy basic products, they would have a combined buying power of $8 billion per day.

Experts have advanced certain theories about why poverty persists and how to address it. These theories attribute poverty either to a single major cause or view it as a culmination of factors, such as chronic civil wars, poor access to natural resources, landlocked geography, and unsound government practices or accountability. As theories about...

About the Authors

Philip Kotler teaches at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. His books include Marketing Management, Principles of Marketing and Kotler on Marketing. Nancy R. Lee, president of Social Marketing Services, Inc., teaches at the University of Washington and Seattle University. She and Kotler co-authored four books, including Social Marketing.

Comment on this summary