Wilkie and Gardner, in a recent report of their work within the Federal Trade Com- mission,' have made an important contribution to the marketing literature. Despite much discussion and a number of conceptual advances in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there have been relatively few reported applications of the supposedly important role that marketing analysis and research can play in improving decision making in the public sector. In addition, only a few efforts have been made to explore the conceptual and practical dimensions of marketing's potential contribution to public policy formation. The present article has three objectives. First, it seeks to examine the fundamental roles of government in an attempt to define conceptually possible areas where marketing can be useful within the public sector. The contention is made that the role of marketing research in the formation of regulatory public policy has been overemphasized in the literature relative to its role in the development of functional public policy. Functional policy decisions are those that pertain to the nature and type of products or services pro- vided by government directly to its citizens as well as to the industrialized private sector. The second and principal aim of the article is to identify a number of factors within the management setting in government that affect the potential use of marketing concepts developed largely within the private sector. The nature of these fac- tors and their impact on the marketing process are discussed. Finally, the authors provide examples to demonstrate the range of actual and potential functional activities within the public sector where marketing research is being increasingly used or is needed. The discussion includes brief reference to a concrete application of marketing analysis and research in the public sector.