The theoretical underpinnings for the concept of macro-social marketing are provided in this article. Macro-social marketing seeks to use social marketing techniques in a holistic way to effect systemic change, as opposed to individual level change. The article provides the conceptual roots to the concept from systems theory and institutional theory. It starts by explaining what types of macromarketing issues can be approached using macro-social marketing – dubbed here wicked problems. Systems theory is then used to explain the interconnectedness of wicked problems throughout the social and cultural systems, as well as the material environment and marketing system (Dixon 1984). Institutional theory is then applied to explain how systemic change can be brought about through the use of macro-social marketing. Change at a broader conceptual level is discussed, as well as how this process then trickles down to individual organisations within the marketing system. Lastly, tools and tactics are provided for macromarketers to undertake macro-social marketing, organised under an extended marketing mix including the concepts of people, policy and partnership.