Marketing in the late Soviet garment industry
Purpose – This paper aims to study the Soviet state-owned enterprises that were producing ready to wear
clothes, engaged in activities that are traditionally associated with “capitalist” marketing and public relations.
Particularly, they responded to consumer complaints, monitored customer satisfaction and changed their
product features and offer in response to customer feedback. This claim is illustrated using the example of the garment industry in the city Perm.
Design/methodology/approach – The data comes from archival research of a range of sector-wide
documents of the Soviet period available in the State Archive of Perm Region and from in-depth interviews
with ex-employees of PermClothing Design House.
Findings – The paper demonstrates the emergence of a marketing system not only in Eastern European
countries and in major Soviet cities but also in a provincial closed city of the Russian Soviet Federative
Socialist Republic. The findings of the research highlight that the level of sales was important for all the
participants in the focal marketing system. Late Soviet marketing had the social function of supporting
cooperative relationships between citizens and the state by channeling dissatisfaction and anger through
surveys and consumer conferences.
Originality/value – Previous studies undertaken at the top level of the Soviet managerial pyramid have
not represented a detailed picture of routine marketing activities during Late Socialism.