Madhu Viswanathan Receives AMA Lifetime Achievement Award

LMU Marketing Professor Madhu Viswanathan has been selected as the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s (AMA) 2021 Marketing and Society Special Interest Group’s (MASSIG) Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to research that advances the study of marketing and societal issues. Madhu will be honored at a virtual award ceremony on June 24 during the AMA Marketing and Public Policy Conference.

“I am humbled and grateful for this recognition,” said Madhu. “On one hand, I am very fortunate and privileged to have been able to embark on this journey and receive such high recognition, with the support of so many people here and around the world. On the other hand, the impact of our work is so minuscule in the face of the huge problems we face globally. This recognition is foremost a reminder of how much work there is to be done.”

Madhu is internationally known for pioneering the stream of Subsistence Marketplaces, a bottom-up approach to research, education and practice at the intersection of poverty and marketplaces. Subsistence marketplaces consist of consumer and entrepreneur communities living at low-income levels, and are concentrated in developing countries and regions such as Brazil, India, China, Vietnam and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2006, Madhu has spearheaded a series of conferences that bring together a community of scholars, practitioners, educators and students to foster interest in understanding those who are underserved in the marketplace. These conferences are a forum for sharing research and best practices for improving quality of life in these communities. The Second Virtual Subsistence Marketplaces Conference will take place May 28-30, 2021.

Madhu has authored (and co-authored) over 80 journal articles, conference proceedings, books and book chapters, almost all of which have addressed important topics in marketing and society/public policy. From his research insights, he also developed the concept of marketplace literacy and founded the Marketplace Literacy Project. This non-profit organization has partnered with other organizations to deliver marketplace literacy education to more than 100,000 low-income individuals in subsistence marketplaces.

“We are extremely proud of Madhu’s commitment to utilizing the power of marketing to inspire and promote transformative societal changes,” said Sijun Wang, chair of the LMU Department of Marketing. “In fact, we’ve designed two pathways in our marketing curriculum – A-LIST and COIN – to train the next generation of marketers to follow what Madhu has advocated for.”

Madhu joined LMU in 2019 after serving on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for 29 years. He is the architect behind a new foundational course, “Business for Good,” required for all first year and transfer business students. An immersive and interactive experience, the class involves major global challenges such as poverty and the environment, and brings out the role of business in addressing these challenges.

“We are so inspired by Madhu’s work and delighted that the MASSIG committee recognized the many achievements over his illustrious career,” said Dayle Smith, dean of LMU College of Business Administration. “This award is a testament to the impact Madhu has made through his “Marketing for Good” initiatives and the high caliber work he’s doing to make a difference in the world.”