The Societal Marketing Concept

The societal marketing concept was an offshoot of the marketing concept wherein an organization believes in giving back to the society by producing better products targeted towards society welfare. Some have questioned whether the marketing concept is an appropriate philosophy in an age of environmental deterioration, resource shortages, explosive population growth, world hunger and poverty, and neglected social services. Are companies that successfully satisfy consumer wants necessarily acting in the best, long-run interests of consumers and society?

The societal marketing concept questions whether the pure marketing concept overlooks possible conflicts between consumer short-run wants and consumer long-run welfare. Is a firm that satisfies the immediate needs and wants of target markets always doing what’s best for its consumers in the long run? The societal marketing concept holds that marketing strategy should deliver value to customers in a way that maintains or improves both the consumer’s and society’s well-being. It calls for sustainable marketing, socially and environmentally responsible marketing that meets the present needs of consumers and businesses while also preserving or enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Consider today’s bottled water industry. You may view bottled water companies as offering a convenient, tasty, and healthy product. Its packaging suggests “green” images of pristine lakes and snow-capped mountains. Yet making, filling, and shipping billions of plastic bottles generates huge amounts of carbon dioxide emissions that contribute substantially to global warming. Further, the plastic bottles pose a substantial recycling and solid waste disposal problem. Thus, in satisfying short-term consumer wants, the bottled water industry may be causing environmental problems that run against society’s long-run interests.

As above diagram shows, companies should balance three considerations in setting their marketing strategies: company profits, consumer wants, and society’s interests. UPS does this well. Its concern for societal interests has earned it the number one or number two spot in Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Companies for Social Responsibility rankings in four of the past five years.

The societal marketing concept calls upon marketers to build social and ethical considerations into their marketing practices. They must balance and juggle the often conflicting criteria of company profits, consumer want satisfaction, and public interest. Yet a number of companies have achieved notable sales and profit gains by adopting and practicing the societal marketing concept. Some companies practice a form of the societal marketing concept called cause related marketing. Pringle and Thompson define this as “activity by which a company with an image, product, or service to market builds a relationship or partnership with a ‘cause,’ or a number of ‘causes,’ for mutual benefit.

Examples:

Following are the three examples of Societal Marketing Concept:

1: Body Shop

Body Shop is a cosmetic company found by Anita Roddick. The company uses only vegetable based materials for its products. It is also against Animal testing, supports community trade, activate Self Esteem, Defend Human Rights, and overall protection of the planet. Thus it is completely following the concept of Societal Marketing.

2: Ariel

Ariel is a detergent manufactured by Procter and Gamble. Ariel runs special fund raising campaigns for deprived classes of the world specifically the developing countries. It also contributes part of its profits from every bag sold to the development of the society.

3: British American tobacco Company

BAT is a British based Tobacco company. It was found in the year 1902. BAT is involved in working for the society in every part of the world. It conducts tree plantation drives as part of its societal marketing strategy

References

Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler

http://www.marketing91.com

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