Forecast the future of sustainability marketing, using specific principles and concrete examples to support your arguments. Will the fields’ future be positive or negative? For whom or for what? And based on whose standards? Recommend practical and constructive changes to the field of sustainability marketing.
Students will choose one of four options for an individual term paper (maximum body of approx. 3,500 words) due on December 12th, 2018.
Topic: Forecast the future of sustainability marketing, using specific principles and concrete examples to support your arguments. Will the fields’ future be positive or negative? For whom or for what? And based on whose standards? Recommend practical and constructive changes to the field of sustainability marketing.
A Forecast of the Future of Sustainability Marketing
Sustainability has transformed into a significant concept and undertaking in marketing. Contrary to the past, companies are now finding it obligatory to embrace sustainability in their marketing endeavors, as it plays a pivotal role in the attainment of competitive advantage (Khandelwal & Yadav, 2014). Moreover, the aspect of sustainability is considered significant in marketing since the marketing concept has not remained restricted to inter-personal and intra-personal needs. As such, marketing is extended towards meeting the needs of the next generations, and this can only be accomplished when sustainability marketing is accomplished. Kumar (2016) defines sustainability marketing as promotion within and supportive of the agenda of sustainable development. As such, sustainability marketing bears a more explicit association with sustainable development agenda. Khandelwal and Yadav (2014) consider sustainability marketing the establishment and maintenance of sustainable associations with consumers, the natural environment, and the social environment. It is vital to note that sustainability in marketing not only leads to the attainment of a competitive edge, but also contributes significantly to the innovation and cost-savings (Kumar, 2016). As such, the embracement of sustainability marketing in companies is a significant step toward survival and realization of success in the contemporary, competitive business setting. This paper forecasts the future of sustainability marking using the forecasting principles of sales reports, customer surveys, expert and executive views, and time series analysis. The paper champions the thesis that sustainability marketing will have a positive future for green marketers, green companies, and green consumers based on the standards of assessment provided by experts, sales report analysts, time series analysts, and customer survey findings. The paper concludes by recommending measures that should be embraced to enhance the attainment of a positive future for sustainability marketing.
Forecasting based on Sales Reports
Sales reports provide vital information that can be employed in predicting the future of marketing activities and trends. Successful employment of sales reports in forecasting or predicting future sales operations of businesses calls for companies to have a prior experience in selling services or products, especially when such services and products have undergone the processes of introduction and promotion, as well as pricing (Davis, 2017). In certain circumstances, the firms’ management may not consider informing salespersons about the novel services, products, or promotions that the organization intends to launch until their proclamation to the public or consumers (Young, 2011). In general, forecasting using sales reports is considered appropriate in circumstances where firms do not focus on novel products, services, or promotions. Therefore, considering that sustainability marketing has existed for some time, the employment of sales reports in predicting its future is appropriate.
Sales reports obtained from major firms indicate that sustainability marketing is poised for a positive future. Over the years, sales revenues from major companies have been established to emanate from innovative products and services focusing on enhancing sustainability (Vij, 2015). According to Vij (2015), data obtained globally indicated a revenue increase of 91 percent for green services and products between 2010 and 2013. This trend underscores the fact that the future is positive for companies that sell green products and services. Kimerly-Klark, which happens to be among the organizations whose sales reports were studied, registered a 296 percent increase in revenue realized from green services and products (Vij, 2015). At Dow Chemical, the company’s management realized a revenue increase of 146 percent from the sale of sustainable products. The same pattern was exhibited in companies such as General Electric, Philips, Siemens, and Toshiba (Vij, 2015). For instance, Panasonic witnessed a 22 percent rise in the revenue realized from the sale of sustainable products in the same period (that is 2013 and 2014 (Vij, 2015). Royal Philips also experienced significant increases in revenues obtained from green services and products in 2015 (Philips, 2016). The firm managed to acquire revenues totaling to EUR 13 billion, which denoted 54% of its aggregate revenues in same year (Philips, 2016). Considering the rising trend of revenue generation from green services and products in the past years, it can be argued that there is a positive future for such products and services, as well as companies that produce them. The existence of a positive future for green services and products is a positive signal to the future of sustainability marketing, which emphasized sustainable development. Therefore, by standards associated with the sales reports, it can be noted that sustainability marketing will have a positive future.
Forecasting Based on Customer Surveys
Davis (2017) asserts that the significance of employing surveys in forecasting promotions, services, and products lies in the fact that they enable business owners to comprehend the intentions of consumers in relation to making purchases or buying services and products. As such, when customer surveys are employed in predicting marketing activities, they allow marketers to understand the possibility of consumers buying certain products or services. Outcomes realized from the execution of customer surveys reveal that there exists a positive future for sustainability marketing (Environmental Leader, 2018; Chang et al., 2018; Isaacs, 2015; Pilon, 2017)
The findings of the survey executed by Environmental Leader (2018) reveal that many consumers are shifting towards the consumption of green services and products. The outcomes of this survey also revealed the geographical distribution of consumers, who are willing to consume sustainable products and services, across the world. For example, China was established to be the country with the highest number of consumers, who expressed their willingness to consume green products and services, at 67 percent (Environmental Leader, 2018). Australia and Sweden came in the second and third position with 52 percent and 46 percent respectively (Environmental Leader, 2018). Nonetheless, the survey outcomes showed that certain regions in the world, particularly European nations like Germany, France, and Great Britain, had the lowest number of buyers will to purchase green services and products. The statistics recorded by Germany, France, and Great Britain in relation to the number of customer desiring to buy sustainable services and products were 28 percent, 23 percent, and 27 percent respectively (Environmental Leader, 2018). Other nations such as the United States and Canada were at 42 percent and 34 percent respectively. In Italy, Germany, and United States there were many consumers advocating for organizational leaders to embrace sustainable development initiatives (Environmental Leader, 2018).
Currently, being sustainable grants firms a competitive edge over rivals as buyers are willing to make purchases in companies with reputations for being green. In the survey executed by Environmental Leader (2018), the outcomes revealed that 53 percent of consumers preferred green firms over those that do not sell green products or services. It is significant to note that this survey was conducted with a focus on the world. Therefore, the survey outcomes imply that over half the globe’s consumers prefer sustainable products, as well services. The tendency of consumers to shift towards the consumption of econ-friendly products and services was also revealed in the finding of the survey conducted by Cheng et al. (2018). In a different survey, the findings showed that buyers were willing to make their purchases in eco-friendly firms even when the prices of green services and products were raised (Isaacs, 2015). Examples of companies that have been established to be eco-friendly are Home Depot, Ikea, Method, and Honest (Pilon, 2017).
Considering the customer or buyer survey outcomes, it can be noted that over half of the globe’s buyers are moving towards the consumption of eco-friendly products and services. This trend signifies a positive future for sustainability marketing. In addition, the survey outcomes reveal that sustainability marketing will thrive in Asian nations such as China and European countries like Sweden and Australia. Nonetheless, in Germany, France, and Great Britain, sustainability marketing will still face challenges even though it will advance. Buyers in countries Italy and United States are mounting pressure on companies in their countries to embrace sustainability. All these events signify a brighter future for sustainability market, especially for eco-friendly firms like Hines, Ikea, and Method among others, as well as green services and products.
Forecasting Based on Executive and Expert Views
Experts and company executives have also been established to be resourceful when it comes to the prediction of marketing activities. Executive views take into consideration the best-guess estimations that companies’ executives make. This technique is often associated with executives presenting their estimates on companies’ sales from which the determination of the average figure is a done (Davis, 2017). This figure is then employed in executing the overall sales prediction. Whereas executive opinions and expert opinions are the same, they differ in the sense that expert views originate outside companies. Apart from being fast, these techniques are associated with low costs. Views obtained from experts and company executives reveal that the future is positive for sustainability marketing.
Executives from multinationals and local firms are optimistic about the future of sustainability marketing. For example Fredrik Halvorsen, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Tandberg, argues that being eco-friendly comes with ethical values and is associated with significant incentives for companies across the globes (Environmental Leader, 2018). Halvorsen believes that Investing in being eco-friendly enables organizations to develop positive brand reputation, which in turn enhances customer attraction (Environmental Leader, 2018). CEOs not only believe in the positive future for sustainability marketing, but also involve themselves in initiatives aimed at making their companies greener. For instance, Royal Philips’ CEO, Frans van Houten, employs green innovations in impacting the lives of billions of individuals across the world and anticipates continuing with such initiatives in the future (Philips, 2016). The desire to continue embracing green initiatives is not only limited to Royal Philips’ CEO but to other CEOs across the world. For instance, findings reveal that 80 % of CEOs across the globe believe their firms will focus on further incorporation of econ-friendly concepts in their operations in future (Guardian, 2018).
Apart from views from companies’ executives, opinions from experts from different fields also indicate a positive future for sustainability marketing. As in the case of CEOs, experts also believe that sustainability contributes positively to organizational reputation. This view is held by Thomas Singer, a research in corporate leadership (Vij, 2015). When it comes to predicting the future of sustainability, Susan Adams, who is an expert in management, argues that sustainability initiatives will contribute largely to creating sustainable workplaces, using talents, and adding value (Walsh, 2015). This argument is supported by David Szymanski, who is an expert in the discipline of natural and applied sciences. Szymanski argues that the comprehension and incorporation of sustainability measures in companies’ operations will contribute to the realization of competitive edge in the future.
Considering the views of experts and company executive, it is can be argued that there is brighter future for sustainability marketing. Organizations are increasingly moving towards sustainability and have established measures aimed at making them more eco-friendly. Firms that focus on the integration of greener concepts will have a competitive edge over those that do not embrace these measures (Environmental Leader, 2018; Guardian, 2018). Eco-friendly firms will establish a firm foundation or ground on which sustainability marketing can thrive. Thus, by standards provided by chief executives and experts sustainability marketing is poised for a greater future.
Forecasting Based on Time Series Analysis
As a forecasting technique, time series analysis focuses on the examination of trends registered by sales within the past years, and using such patterns to predict future sales. The outcomes of time series assessments enable marketing executives to determine the rate or pace at which companies’ sales have increased and how such rates will increase in the future (Young, 2011). In relation to this, the outcomes obtained from time series evaluations reveal that marketers and companies are headed towards a more sustainable future. With increasing pressure from environmental groups, firms are increasingly focusing their resources and efforts on incorporating eco-friendly measures or concepts in their operations. Moreover, the number of eco-friendly consumers has been increasing significantly in the past years. For example, the time series outcomes executed by Millan et al. (2018) revealed that the number of tourists associated with Oleotourism has been increasing in the past nine years, as shown in figure I below:
Figure I: Trend of Oleotourists in the Past Nine Years (between 2009 and 2017)
Source: Millan et al. (2018)
It is vital to note that oleotourists are often interested in the cultivation of olive, which is meant for the extraction of olive oil. Threats from environmental degradation have resulted into a significant need for the consumption of bio-oils such as olive oil (Millan et al., 2018). Time series outcomes also reveal a trend of increasing demand for sustainable products such as vehicles. According to Clean Technica (2018), the demand for electric vehicles is expected to continue rising in the next 22 years, as shown in figure II below:
Figure II: Time Series Forecasting of Demand for Electric Vehicles
Source: Clean Technica (2018).
The increasing need for electric vehicles is triggered by the need to replace environmentally unfriendly vehicles, especially those using petroleum fuels such as diesel (Clean Technica, 2018). As such, by focusing on the outcomes and standards of time-series analyses, it is evident that there is a positive future for sustainability marketing. Firms that focus on the production of sustainable products such as green vehicles along with agri-businesses that focus on the production of bio-oils will reap immense benefits from their operations in the future. The subsequent section will provide recommendations on the measures that should be embraced to enhance the field of sustainability marketing
The outcomes of the forecasts executed in the paper reveal that sustainability marketing will have a positive future. Nonetheless, the attainment of such a future calls for the adoption of measures that can enhance the field of sustainability marketing. In relation to this, the following measures are recommended:
- Adequate budgetary allocation. Effective execution or implementation of sustainability marketing operations calls for availability of adequate finances (Kumar, 2016). As such, green markets should liaise with governments enough budgetary allocations.
- Investment in green marketing research and development. Investment in R&D ensures that novel and effective ways of executing sustainability marketing are established (Kumar, 2016).
- Heavy investments in green initiatives. Governments, sustainability marketers and companies should invest heavily in green initiatives such as educational awareness on eco-friendly consumption and production (Khandelwal & Yadav, 2014). Moreover, adequate institutions and infrastructures for training sustainability marketers should be availed.
- Lobbying and advocacy. Proponents of sustainability marketing including experts should embrace advocacy and lobbying, as mechanisms for enhancing the development and implementation of policies aimed at enhancing sustainability marketing (Kumar, 2016).
- Intense green promotions. There should be intense campaigns for the need of consumers and firms to embrace ecofriendly production and consumption patterns (Khandelwal & Yadav, 2014).
In conclusion, the outcomes and standards associated with marketing forecasting techniques such as company executive and expert views, time series analysis, sales reports assessments, and customer surveys reveal a positive future for sustainability marketing. The parties that will benefit from sustainability marketing in the future are companies producing ecofriendly services and products, green consumers, and agribusinesses focusing on the production of bio-oils. Many companies and consumers are shifting towards the consumption and production of ecofriendly products and services. Adopting measures suggested in this paper will contribute significantly to enhancing the discipline of sustainability marketing.
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