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Responsible marketing

This video explores the theory of a societal marketing orientation, central to responsible marketing. Watch Dr Maria Sherrington explain more.
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In this video, we are going to address responsible marketing.
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And we are going to find the answers to the questions: What is responsible marketing? and, Is it important to business success?
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But it’s appropriate to start off by defining what marketing is all about and Lamb and colleagues they offer the following definition. So they say that “marketing is the activity, set of institutions and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”. Central to marketing is that of the creation of an exchange.
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And very simply explained: You give me money and I give you something in exchange. And so that could be a product, that could be a cake, as we can see on the image on this slide. So that’s what marketing aims to do, to create an exchange of some sort. So this offering then has value for the parties involved in the exchange. And we’ll come back to the concept of value a little bit later on. So marketing is the entire process, so putting an attractive offering together like those really delicious-looking cakes there. And it’s the institutions, the bakery that puts the offering together for customers.
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And it’s also about communicating about what it is that we have to sell and delivering that product, making it accessible to customers.
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Underpinning the process of marketing is a market orientation. So this is a foundational philosophy that tells us that a sale would not happen because a salesforce is aggressive and pushes that product onto a customer. A sale would happen because a customer decides that they want to purchase a product. So it starts with the customer every time. And a market orientation is synonymous with the marketing concept, which we will have a look at next.
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So here we have it, the marketing concept. And what the marketing concept is all about is the achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customers’ needs better than the competition. So remember from the previous slide where we looked at the market orientation. I made the point that a customer would only buy because they want to buy. So, everything starts with the customer, as marketers we need to look to customers to decide what would be appropriate to sell. And that’s how we achieve our corporate goals. So that’s how we increase our sales or our market share. And it’s very important to meet customers’ needs, but also to do that better than the competition.
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That way, we can create a competitive advantage. The foundation of the marketing concept is made up of three items. So we have the customer orientation, which is the same as a market orientation. So whatever we do as a company is focused on providing that customer satisfaction and doing it better than the competition.
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In a company, we also need to have an integrated effort whereby everyone working for the company is there in order to serve the customer. And it’s everyone’s responsibility to create that customer satisfaction, whether you have direct customer contact or not. And also very importantly, there is a belief that we as a company can reach our goals through delivering customer satisfaction. So implementing the marketing concept will help us achieve our goals. A very important concept to us as marketers is the creation of customer value. And what we have in front of us here on this slide is a very simple framework. So on the positive side, we can see the perceived benefits that we acquire through buying a product.
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And on the right, we find what we are having to give up. So that’s our perceived sacrifice the way we see it when we buy the particular product. So if we use a really simple example such as buying a bicycle. So, let’s think that we have decided that from now on we are going to cycle to and from work rather than use our car. So we buy our bike and we receive certain product benefits. It might be that this is a lightweight bike and it has the required number of gears that we are looking for. In terms of the service benefits, well, an easy commute, we get fresh air.
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And, in fact, we may lose a bit of weight through cycling rather than using our car. In terms of relational benefits, well, we may feel very good about using our bike and it gives us access to other really sporty people, cycling rather than using a car for getting from A to B. And it may well be that we’re into our brands. And we feel that the brand of bicycle that we have purchased gives us certain image benefits. Then, in terms of what we’re having to give up, obviously the monetary costs, that’s probably the easiest to understand. So we have to hand money over in order to get our bike.
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When buying the bike it’s likely that we do a bit of research. And so we’re having to spend a little bit of time in order to decide what bike is right for us. And then there are energy costs. So we might be doing a bit of shopping around. So we might spend quite a bit of time on the internet and we might perceive it as being quite hard work actually checking different bikes out. Or we might go to showrooms and we might have a look at bikes and try them out and so on. Provided that we purchase the right brand for us, it’s unlikely that the psychological costs are going to be very high.
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If we get our purchase right we should be on safe ground. Central to marketing is also the marketing mix. And we speak about the four P’s, so we speak about product, price, place, and promotion. So these are the strategies available to a marketer when they are trying to make that exchange happen between the company and the customer. And the product, if we think in terms of our previous example of the bike, that’s the bike, that’s what we purchase. Price, that’s the price tag, that’s what we had to pay in order to get the bicycle.
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Place, so we might have purchased that bike online in which case the online environment represents place and we have the bike delivered to our home address. Or we may go out to view bicycles in various bike shops and that would then also represent place. And then we have promotion. So that’s the marketing communication or the advertising that tells us about bikes and their various features.
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We’ve looked at a market orientation, so we know what that is all about. But there is also a societal marketing orientation, which extends the marketing concept by acknowledging that there are some products that we as customers may wish to buy but they may not be in our best interest or the best interest of society as a whole. So, the philosophy of the societal marketing orientation tells us that an organisation exists not only to satisfy customer wants and needs and to meet organisational objectives, but also to preserve or enhance individuals and societies’ long-term best interests. So that is what this course is all about, the implementation of the societal marketing orientation.
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What we see on this slide is the outcome of research carried out with executives globally, in terms of the kinds of benefits that you may acquire by paying close attention to sustainability-related issues. And as we can see, there are several benefits and this is probably not an exhaustive list. But, for instance, it may lead to reduced costs for the company due to energy efficiency. Very importantly, it might provide access to new markets. So you can attract customers for whom sustainability is really important. It can help you to improve your brand reputation.
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And it can also assist you in charging higher prices and possibly extend your market share due to your new positioning around offering something which is kind to the environment.
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For you as an organisation it may help you to improve your stakeholder relations, it may assist you in attracting more investors. And, very importantly, some people will only work for organisations who are ethical in their dealings. So it can be a good way to attract some top talent to your business.
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We know what the attitude-behaviour gap is all about. So we know that customers might say that they are really committed to buying sustainable products. But then, when you look at what they purchase and what they own, it doesn’t quite match. So what Ogilvy and Mather, the marketing agency, has done is to propose a set of strategies for bridging the green gap. And so they are saying that it’s really important to make it personal for the customer. So asking not what the customer can do for sustainability but instead asking what sustainability can do for them, and then showing them that.
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If green is the default, then people don’t need to decide to be green. So it’s really important to create better defaults. In terms of innovating, what’s required for mass adoption is high-performing sustainable choices available for everyone. Making it tangible. So, sustainability can be quite hard to follow if customers can’t see the trail. So they can’t see the outcome of being not sustainable and being sustainable. So it needs to be demonstrated to them. And also making it easier to navigate. So consumers sometimes need to be educated. So, as marketers, we may have to deal with a fair bit of eco-suspicion and eco-confusion. And that needs to be addressed with transparency and a clear roadmap.
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In conclusion to this video, marketing seeks to create customer value that is superior to that offered by the competition. A business that practises responsible marketing seeks to safeguard the well-being of individuals and society in the long term. A sincere commitment to the principles of responsible marketing may present a range of benefits to companies, as we have seen.
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Thank you for your attention. This week we’re exploring companies’ implementation of responsible marketing. Let’s get started!

This video explores sustainability from the perspective of marketing. Following the introduction of fundamental marketing theory, the video turns to a ‘societal marketing orientation’. This philosophy states that an organisation exists not only to satisfy customer wants and needs and to meet organisational objectives, but also to preserve or enhance individuals’ and society’s long-term best interests.

You can download the deck of slides below, which you may find helpful for referring back to.

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Responsible Marketing and the Fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility

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