Sustainability in Marketing
In the current fiercely competitive business environment, corporate entities assume aggressive approaches in order to realize profits and maintain a competitive advantage. Through marketing, they relay vital information regarding their services and products to potential consumers. The information is important because it influences behaviors and decision-making practices of clients. It tells them about the availability of products, their features, and so forth. In order to meet their marketing goals and objectives, corporate entities need to practice sustainable marketing. Conventional approaches to marketing cannot address and resolve the various challenges that marketers grapple with. The fact that client expectations are dynamic, complex, and revolve around sustainability matters cannot be disputed. From the point of view of Mohamed (2013), sustainable marketing is an ethical practice of organizations that appreciate the social, economic, and environmental facets of their businesses. This paper provides a detailed review of the concept of sustainability in marketing.
Conceptually, sustainable marketing aims at establishing and maintaining profitable relations with clients, the natural environment, and the social environment. Put differently, the approach is complex and comprises of social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Organizations that assume the practice are idyllic, socially acceptable, and tend to realize lasting beneficial outcomes (Minton, Lee, Orth, Kim & Kahle, 2012). Their holistic approach adds value to their products and services, helps them to build and maintain profitable relationships, enables them to address existent and emergent socio-ecological challenges, and allows them to satisfy the various needs of their clients. What is more, sustainable marketing enables organizations to address future problems while satisfying the complex needs of current populations.
From a social viewpoint, sustainable marketing strategies concern themselves with aspects pertaining to equality of employees and communities. In this respect, Nefat and Rakitovac (2013) indicate that during marketing, it is important to treat employees equally and refrain from discriminating them based on gender, sex, or race. In addition, organizations that embrace sustainability during marketing ensure that working conditions are favorable and supportive of growth and development. Leaders within such firms respect their employees and treat them well at all times. During production, the health of employees is important because it influences outcomes directly.
Besides safeguarding the health of workers during production, companies ensure that their products do not threaten the wellbeing of the consumers. Also worth noting is the recognition that in some instances, companies affect negatively the welfare of local communities by contributing to sound or air pollution. In this regard, they should aim at reducing the negative implications of the process of production. Sustainable marketing places emphasis on improving the wellbeing of locals through donations and community based programs (Crittenden, Crittenden, Ferrell, Ferrell & Pinney, 2011). By alleviating poverty, the respective companies empower workers and pay fair prices for their operations.
With regard to environmental sustainability, businesses make responsible decisions that aim at minimizing negative environmental effects. Unlike the traditional strategies, Kumar and Angeliki (2014) assert that the firms focus on the entire life cycle of their products during critical decision-making. Various products impact differently on the environment during their life cycle. While some have the biggest impact during the production phase, others affect heavily during disposal. Yet others have huge implications during the consumption stage. Sustainable marketing approaches put in consideration the negative impacts of the products on the environment with the aim of reducing them at all times. In addition, the practices acknowledge the importance of safeguarding the natural resource base. For this reason, they ensure their operations use minimal resources without affecting negatively on the quality of their products. Peattie and Beltz (2010) indicate that sustainable marketing acknowledges that resources are limited. For this reason, proponents use the available resources sparingly in order to satisfy client needs.
Besides environmental and social sustainability, businesses that hold sustainable marketing in high regard recognize the importance of generating profit. In this respect, they understand that they owe economic or financial responsibility to various stakeholders including investors. Sustainable marketing allows companies to generate profit and operate in the long term at the same time. Such organizations focus on promoting continuous growth and expansion. Their aggressive growth strategies enable them to colonize new markets and achieve optimal performance at all times. Besides building authentic brands, the practices employ appealing stories that trigger genuine interest amongst the clientele (Crittenden et al., 2011).
The concept of sustainability bridges the gaps between economic, social, and environmental matters in business. The expectations of clients have increasingly become dynamic and complex. Currently, customers require corporate entities to assume responsibility for their activities, decisions, and practices at all times. In their bid to meet and satisfy the varying needs of consumers, marketers of sustainable organizations appreciate the role of social, environmental, and financial responsibility in meeting their goals and objectives. Thus, they assume approaches that aim at alleviating poverty, promoting equality, safeguarding the wellbeing of the environment, expanding their business operations, and maintaining profitable economic growth and development. Apparently, sustainable marketing empowers organizations to make sound, ethical, and rewarding business decisions.
Crittenden, V, Crittenden, W., Ferrell, L., Ferrell, O. & Pinney, C. (2011). Market-oriented sustainability: A conceptual framework and propositions. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39 (1), 71-85.
Kumar, V. &Angeliki, C. (2014). Sustainability and branding: An integrated perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 43 (1), 6-15.
Minton, E., Lee, C., Orth, U., Kim, C. & Kahle, L. (2012). Sustainable marketing and social media: A cross country analysis of motives for sustainable behaviors. Journal of Advertising, 41 (4), 69-74.
Mohamed, K. (2013). Evaluation of societal marketing (Sustainable marketing) in maintaining ethics in marketing goods or services to customers. International Journal of Management Research and Reviews, 3 (11), 3703-3709.
Nefat, A., & Rakitovac, K. (2013). Towards competitive advantage of sustainable marketing: Analysis of selected Croatian firms. Ekomomska Misao I Praksa, 22 (2), 499-514.
Peattie, K. & Belz, M. (2010). Sustainability Marketing- An innovative conception of marketing. Marketing Review St. Gallen, 27 (5), 8-15.