Societal marketing was put forth as a concept by Phillip Kotler (often referred to as 'father of marketing') in the 1970s. However, it is only in the past couple of decades, that this form of marketing has matured into a reality, with every company trying to incorporate this marketing style in their products and services.
So 'what is societal marketing concept'? It is firstly, way different from the traditional form of 'commercial marketing'. Although, every form of marketing aims to boost sales of products and services of a firm, and help a company earn profit, this concept is a bit different in origin. By following marketing ethics incorporated in this form of marketing, firms not only ensure that there is profit in the business, they also take care of the fact that there is a well-being and growth of the society, on a whole. Given below are the words put forth by Kotler and Alan:
"The societal marketing concept holds that the organization's task is to determine the needs, wants, and interests of target markets and to deliver the desired satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competitors, in a way that preserves or enhances the consumer's and the society's well-being."
Understanding Societal Marketing
This marketing concept has become one of the big differentiators in the success of companies in the recent years. The reason being that the past two decades have led to tremendous degradation of the environment. The issue of global warming has become the central topic of debates, in almost all international conferences.
Moreover, increasing awareness about pollution has created a mass awareness (to some extent) in citizens of various nations. Now as aware customers, people are purchasing products that are 'eco-friendly'. From light bulbs to plastics, today's consumers ensure that they can at least, to some extent, contribute in curbing of the threats of pollution.
In such pressing situations, marketing concepts have gone through numerous transformations. Every company has expanded its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) works, and they're trying to 'Go Green' in the manufacturing of their products. Many industry experts relate societal marketing as an off shot branch of corporate social responsibility. By contributing in the manufacturing of products that are environmental friendly, safe to use and economical, firms are doing their bit to ensure success of their marketing campaigns, and polish their corporate branding image.
So, in essence, societal marketing aims mutual benefits for the marketer, consumer and the society on a whole. By purchasing products and services marketed through such type of marketing, citizens feel a sense of accomplishment, and they can relate to the concept of 'good corporate citizenship'. In today's scenario, only companies adopting this concept are able to thrive in the competition of developing more efficient, more innovative and nature friendly products.
One of the brilliant concepts related to societal marketing is the initiative taken by IDEA Cellular Ltd., a leading Indian mobile operator, with nearly 58 million subscribers under the brand IDEA and having global presence in 20 countries. This mobile operator firm has taken a great step to educate the whopping 500 million mobile customers in India, to use mobile judiciously and save paper.
By making Ads that appeal people to creatively use mobile phones and save paper, IDEA has carved a niche for itself in marketing its telecom services. Similarly, many companies are recycling their products, and reselling them at cheaper prices to ensure the environment remains safe.
In essence, it can be said that societal marketing aims to guide companies for following marketing ethics and environmental policies, so that their products are for the well-being of the society. Moreover, companies must not only aim for commercial success in marketing products, but they must ensure they're giving valuable services to the society. Only this attitude can ensure that we will create a society, that has not been eaten by the monster headed hydra of consumerism.