This term paper need to writing follow the topic below:
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.
Forecasting of the Future of Sustainability Marketing
With the present social climate that is reflecting an intensified and amplified sense of worry for the environment, sustainability is fast becoming a pressing matter in all business areas, including but not limited to direct marketing. Integrating ecologically-friendly decision making as well as policies into advertisement campaigns can somewhat be difficult. Broadly speaking, the association between sustainability and direct marketing can be founded upon the basis of creating consumer favourability. According to Armstrong and Kotler (2009), businesses that employ sustainable initiative and activities typically promote and advertise this fact to reverberate with ecologically-conscious consumers, and this is achievable via direct marketing. Furthermore, Martin and Schouten (2012) argue that with more direct marketing moving to digital from print, there is a possibility that companies are and will supply and distribute widespread and interactive advertising promotion without producing large quantities of paper waste. Several studies have shown that making sustainable decisions in most cases require the view of several individuals hailing from different extractions. When this is applied to direct marketing, extra creative production of campaigns and ideas is and will be prompted. Negatively, sustainability marketing will be expensive when employed in direct marketing (Praude & Bormane, 2015). The employment of recycled goods will lead to increased prices (Alvesson, 1994). Also, to date, there is little known regarding this field, thus will necessitate expert guidance when decisions will have to be made, and who will ultimately require payment for recompense. Keeping the aforementioned information in mind, this paper forecasts the future of sustainability marketing, employing different principles as well as concrete examples. Arguing that the future of the sustainability marketing is positive, this paper assesses for whom the field sustainability marketing will be beneficial or not beneficial, and concludes by giving recommendations for better practice in the field of sustainability marketing.
Recently, there has been much discussion in the press and literature regarding the problem of ecology, social responsibility, sustainability, and “green” policy. It has become significant for society to solve the challenge pertaining not just to consumers’ or customers’ basic needs, but also the preservation as well as improvement of available natural resources with less harm upon the environment and people’s health with the intention of enabling the next generation of humanity to meet their individual needs as well with currently existing natural resources along with ecological products that are preserved (Nikolaeva & Bicho, 2011; Rasche, 2010; Rasche, 2012). For this reason, it follows that solutions to challenges of sustainable growth and development rely not just upon the process through which ecological products are created, but equally upon investments in the future to better present conditions (Belz & Peattie, 2012). A suitable marketing, as Armstrong and Kotler (2009) note, thus implies not only to the process through which products and services are manufactured and delivered by a particular company, but transformations within the economy, thinking, as well as the whole society.
Overview of Marketing as a Business Strategy
According to Praude and Bormane (2015), the principal role of marketing is to realize a competitive advantage. For this reason, marketing strategy is a crucial element that must not be overlooked by companies. Marketing strategy has been defined variedly. It refers to a long term initiative and regards the realization of particular goals through an all-encompassing action plan (Adersone et al., 2010). Bickart and Ruth (2012) also define it as an effective allocation as well as coordination of marketing resources with the aim of accomplishing an organization’s goals and objectives within a particular product or service marketplace. Evidently, marketing strategy decisions by an organization entail specifying the organization’s target marketplace to be pursued as well as the product line that is to be offered (Martin & Schouten, 2012). In addition, companies seek competitive advantage along with synergy, planning along with integrated programs for elements of marketing (the 4Ps) customized to the wants and needs of customer segments that are being targeted (Burroughs, 2010). Other than these definitions, there are others that have been advanced. Nonetheless, the definitions have continued to change with time. Currently, Armstrong and Kotler (2009) describe marketing strategy as a far-reaching plan of action that deals with the realization of goals and objectives (Belz & Peattie, 2012). According to Alvesson (1994), marketing strategy concepts revolves around 3Cs, company, competitors, and customer, in addition to which he adds targeting, segmentation, positioning, differentiation, and branding. All these unite all components of marketing mix both for formulation as well as implementation of marketing strategy.
Sustainable marketing is a micro-marketing notion that refers to a kind of marketing that functions to build long lasting customer associations effectively, without reference to sustainable development or consideration of sustainability concerns (Adersone et al., 2010). Sustainability marketing also refers to building as well as maintaining associations with the social environment, customers, and the natural environment. As mentioned before, marketing has experienced significant and numerous changes as sustainability has continued to entrench marketing activities and practices. Dam and Apeldoorn (1996) argue that companies and organizations are fast employing sustainability in their strategic marketing initiatives and practices as well as their marketing mix. However, the process of employing and implementing sustainability in organizations’ marketing strategies has been shown to be fairly easy since it is the customers, according to wants and needs, of whom marketing strategy of organizations’ are designed. Furthermore, integrating sustainability into an organization’s marketing strategy is equally exceptional a task and objective. Sustainability is considered to be different since customers’ demands and wants have to be met yet not necessarily by way of communicating in customers’ language (Praude & Bormane, 2015). While the process of employing, implementing, and integrating sustainability in organizations’ marketing strategies, Martin and Schouten (2012) note that sustainability marketing does not result in increased value to organizations’ customers, but equally help in building long term associations with customers, which are not just beneficial for the businesses, but also for ecology and society. Thus, after study in this direction, Jones et al. (2008) gave the concept of 4Cs and attempted to revamp the old-fashioned 4Ps (Price, Promotion, Place, and Product) into 4Cs (Customer cost, Customer solution, Communication, and Convenience).
Development of Sustainability Marketing To Date
The concept of marketing has significantly evolved over time. The evolution has been considered through five concepts: product concept, production concept, selling concept, societal marketing concept, and marketing concept. The production concept was founded upon meeting customers’ unmet demands and wants by producing more by manufacturing extra at lesser cost. The product notion holds that consumers and customers prefer quality services and products with sound performance as well as innovative characteristics. The selling concept depends upon aggressive promotion and selling. However, during the mid-20th century, the marketing notion came with more concentration upon customer or customer centric approach (Rasche, 2012); holding that marketing activities in the future ought to be focused upon creation of communication, as well as delivering superior and high quality products to intended customers.
While the concept of societal marketing, which is founded upon bringing ethical and social consideration into marketing activities (Maignan et al., 2005), there is a rising need to include sustainability criteria into organizations’ marketing initiatives and activities (Bickart & Ruth, 2012). Alvesson (1994) points out that firms will need to take into consideration the fact that sustainability has become an integral component in marketing, and thus will not remain as a choice. Polonsky (1995) reasons that sustainability marketing is and will continue to be an important requirement in business since the concept of marketing is and will not remain restricted to inter-personal and intra-personal needs; it is continuing to get extended into the wants and needs of future generations. Contrarily to the former case, Nikolaeva and Bicho (2011) point out that the concept of marketing will extend toward the fulfilment of wants and needs of the next generations, which further implies that creation of communication as well as delivering sustainability will depend on value to clients and consumers. Sustainability will, thus, be crucial to consumers and other business stakeholders since companies will have to do what it takes to balance their marketing strategies in such a way that clients’ needs can be met after sustaining profitability, ecology, and public interests.
Essence of Sustainability Marketing
The concept of sustainability has drawn the attention of scholars in this 21st century as technological changes, rapid population development and growth, as well as unprecedented economic development and growth, all of which have been linked with poverty, health, population, ecosystem damage, urbanization, water, food, and climate change (Burroughs, 2010). Long ago, scholars and scientists warned that if the world’s economic growth rate would remain as it is currently, the scarce and limited ecological resources will wholly be depleted in the next 100 years and industrial capacity as well as population increase rate may rapidly fall (Belz & Peattie, 2012). Scholars agree that equality is required both among generations as well as within each generation owing to the fact that economic growth has failed to aid the equality between the rich and the poor (Dam & Apeldoorn, 1996). Zinkhan and Pereira (1994) argue that sustainability currently depends and will depend not only upon the process where an environmental product is made, yet it will also depends upon contributions that such products have on the future by bettering the current situation. Sustainability marketing process will, therefore, entails three dimensions of sustainability, social, environmental, and economics, which will enable organizations to create a competitive advantage for regions, companies, states, and industries (Gulbrandsen, 2008). Thus, sustainability will depend upon the economics and environmental, along with an organization’s overall development.
Future of Sustainability Marketing – Challenges and Issues
From the analysis in the above sections, it is evident that the objective of sustainability marketing has changed and will continue to change toward the attainment of competitive advantage through positions that are and will be different, defensible, and desirable (Bickart & Ruth, 2012). Nevertheless, it will not been practically easy to formulate and design these marketing strategy kinds due to associated challenges and issues. Additionally, according to sustainability philosophies, there will be a need to preserve and conserve the resources as well as to consume less, whereas the marketing principle says to sell more, implying more production, there will be extra consumption of resources (Maignan et al., 2005). Thus, the main need for sustainability marketing will be to strike an equilibrium point, which means that marketing strategies will have to be designed in a way that profits will still be gotten even after the impact on society and environment will have been minimized.
There is no doubt that challenges and solutions go hand in hand. In the case of sustainability marketing, Kadirov and Varey (2013) notes that if a solution for some social or environmental problem which is economically profitable is gotten, then emerges a new set of challenges, and the cycle continues. As such, sustainability marketing will not only assist organisations to compete effectively with their rivals but will equally open several doors for innovation and cost savings (Burroughs, 2010). The implication is that the future of sustainability marketing will be characterized with a higher level of technology, innovation, and invention as well as several cost saving techniques, as pointed out by Dam and Apeldoorn (1996). Studies have shown that companies and organizations will not survive in a marketplace or industry if they will fail to become fully and truly sustainable (Alvesson (1994). Rasche (2010) points out due to the concept of sustainability, companies that will be having unsustainable products will have to properly position themselves in markets for them to survive in marketplaces that will significantly be ecologically and green sensitive and loving. Kilbourne (2004) adds that future objective of sustainability marketing strategy will be focused upon targeting, positioning, and segmentation of customers based upon sustainability criteria and formulating/designing sustainability marketing mix for improved services and products, improved or better prices, better promotion, and better distribution.
The future of sustainability is positive and will affect a number of stakeholders. From the definition, it is evident that better ways through which companies and organizations will be able to create, communicate, and deliver worth to their customers in a way that both human capital and natural resources are preserved or bettered throughout. Sustainability marketing will positively influence businesses in two main ways: (1) it will enhance organizations’ planning, implementation, as well as controlling of marketing resources as well as programmes to meet their customers’ needs and wants, while taking into consideration environmental and social criteria as well as meet corporate goals (Jones et al., 2008) and (2) it will stress the long-term association by helping organizations in the building as well as maintaining sustainable associations with the social environment, natural environment, and customers (Bhimani et al., 2016). Another reason why the future of sustainability marketing will be positive is because both definitions of sustainability and sustainable marketing call for the creation of sustainable customer and other stakeholders’ value (Kadirov & Varey, 2013). Currently, consumption does not make customers and consumers happy or satisfy their wants and needs. However, future economy, notwithstanding having consumption as its core and the present mainstream marketing viewpoint, will be based upon creation of consumer and customer value.
In addition to the above reasons why the future of sustainability marketing will be positive, studies have continued to show that sustainability is fast on the increase. With technological advancement, urbanization, and globalisation, studies have shown that there will be a corresponding social change whose extent cannot be fully comprehended. Studies and researches continue to show that people are fast becoming more interested in sustainable solutions (like poverty, health, population, ecosystem damage, urbanization, water, food, and climate change) and social issues. More people are also thinking about sustainability whenever they are purchasing goods or products. In a recent survey that presented sustainable Brand index, 72% Swedes as well as 67% of Finns responded that they more often than not discuss sustainability. Generally, consumers have been shown to think differently regarding the goods and products that they purchase, accepting to buy from companies that are socially responsible and environmentally friendly. With the continued increase of sustainability globally, companies will be compelled to embrace sustainability marketing since company managers, entrepreneurs, and employees will be keen on producing goods that are ecologically friendly to meet the global social corporate responsibility. Consequently, companies that will employ sustainability strategies will be able to continue meeting the ever changing tastes, preferences, and wants of their clients. Conversely, companies that will fail to employ sustainability and sustainable strategies in their processes will be unable to survive in a market that will largely be comprising of consumers and buyers who are sensitive to the protection of their environment.
A study by Zinkhan and Pereira (1994) showed that the future of sustainability is positive since sustainability and sustainable strategies will be good for workers/employees’ morale in organizations. Specifically, employees/workers become happier as well as more effective and dedicated if their workplaces account for their greater and higher worth as was revealed by a review that was conducted by the EY Beacon Institute (Nash & Eh Renfeld, 1996; Gilbert et al., 2011). Also, it is anticipated that the quest for meaning of sustainability marketing will become an increasingly significant communication concern, implying that the future of sustainability marketing is positive in terms of the nature of the relationship between employees and their seniors. With such good relationship, organizations’ productivity is expected to rise significantly since there is likely to be increased commitment to accomplishment of organizational roles by employees. Kilbourne (2004) reasons that sustainability and meaning will form the starting point for any long-term advertisement strategies, when content marketing along with storytelling will prove crucial components.
Nonetheless, the future of sustainability marketing will be negative to some extent for company owners. According to Nikolaeva and Bicho (2011), sustainability marketing requires a lot of money during its formulation, employment, and incorporation. For company owners, formulation, employment, and incorporation will imply heavy budgets. For instance, after it was found to be breaching the policy regarding the amount of carbon dioxide emission, Volkswagen Company was compelled to revamp their strategies including their marketing, a change that cost the company huge sums of money annually (Gulbrandsen, 2008). It is projected that the cost of maintaining sustainability marketing strategies will continue to rise with time as sustainability marketing becomes less optional for companies (Brunsson et al., 2012). Also, with the increased concern about the environment due to a number of legal requirements or international agreements and treaties, companies would be compelled to employ sustainable practices (Nash & Eh Renfeld, 1996). With little room to regard sustainability marketing as optional, companies are likely to reorganize their structure in terms of equipment, machine, human capital, and location so that they will be able to meet their customers’ tastes and preferences. This will significantly be costly on companies.
With concerns regarding the environment becoming commonplace, sustainability seems to be here to stay. In meeting sustainability goals, companies will have to comply with a number of standards as spelt out by different agencies and bodies. Standards can and will help firms to integrate environmental and social responsibilities into their processes. The most detailed international standards for ecological management are those outlined by the ISO 14000 series, covering areas like eco-efficiency assessment and ecological audits (Pouliot, 1996). The most commonly employed framework of the standard for ecological management that will directly affect companies with regard to sustainability marketing is ISO 1401, which helps and will help companies to plan in addition to implementing an ecological policy and uninterruptedly improve their environmental performance (Pouliot, 1996). Another apparatus that will influence companies’ employment of sustainability marketing with reference to ecological performance is the European Union’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). EMAS will help companies to evaluate, report, and improve their environmental performance (Bhimani et al., 2016). Another standard that will influence the employment of sustainability marketing and sustainable practices in organizations is SA8000. SA concentrates upon good working conditions as well as covers firm’s employees, along with workers of company’s suppliers and sub-contractors (Gilbert & Rasche, 2007). The standard assists companies to develop as well as implement policies regarding topics like discrimination, child labour, working hours, along with other labour linked issues (Donaldson, 1996).The International Organization for Standardization has also created the ISO 26000, a standard that guides companies on social responsibility by helping them to develop and adopt social responsibility measures.
Further, social responsibility concerns a company’s effects upon the social systems in which it operates. Another standard that will influence the employment of sustainability marketing is the GRI417. GRI417 functions to address the subject of service information and product along with labelling as well as marketing communications. This standard entails customer access to adequate and accurate information on the negative and positive economic, social, environmental impacts of products and services that they consume, both from a service and product labelling as well as a marketing communication standpoint (Gilbert et al., 2011). Responsible and fair marketing communication, along with access to information regarding a company’s products’ composition, their use and discard will be useful in practising sustainability marketing since it will help companies’ customers to make informed decisions (Gilbert & Rasche, 2007). Also, the disclosures within the GRI417 standard will also provide information regarding a firm’s impacts linked to service and product labelling along with communications, in addition to how the company manages the impacts (Donaldson, 1996).
Another body whose standards will influence sustainability marketing is Global Reporting Imitative (GRI). GRI unveiled new international sustainability reporting standards, which will function to better corporate transparency globally by giving companies a standard or common language for disclosing their non-financial information (Bhimani et al., 2016). This way, the standard will help companies to make informed and better decisions and contribute jointly to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. The set of 36 modular standards of the GRI standards will facilitate corporate reporting on subjects like water and energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and labour practices (Bhimani et al., 2016). Last among the many standards that will influence companies’ sustainability marketing is the ISO 20400. ISO 20400 aims at helping firms to make better buying decisions throughout their individual chains by setting up principles and guidelines for firms to judge suppliers based upon sustainability and ethical issues (Brunsson et al., 2012). The standard will help companies to avoid environmental, reputational, and financial risks that are linked to poor supply chain management.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Sustainability, hence sustainability marketing, is here to stay. The greener options are fast becoming extra inexpensive besides being linked to the online and virtual realms and more possibilities and opportunities are within people and companies’ reach compared to decades ago. The more companies and people embrace technological advancement and change, the more companies and people stand better grounds of earning more profits from the said know how. To continue surviving in their respective industries, companies and organizations will need to adapt their individual supply of products and services to the changing and changeable wants and needs of their customers and consumers in general. While this paper has shown that there are several benefits that will accrue to companies as a result of employment of sustainable marketing, it should not be ignored that there are no limitations of sustainability marketing. To ensure that sustainable marketing is maintained by companies, huge amounts of money will be required. For firms to adapt sustainability marketing and realize its potential, companies will have to carry out marketplace research regarding the need as well as demand for their sustainable products along with the need to have regard of all components of their marketing mix when developing their marketing strategies. This is because sustainable marketing of a firm will largely be helpful and beneficial to companies on condition that the firm’s marketing mix components will serve for profit, people, and planet are in use. Worth noting is that sustainability marketing concept will not require firms to increase their expenses in their individual marketing budgets, but an informed and well-thought strategy, the formulation, promotion, and selling (price, delivery, packaging, transaction) of their sustainable services and goods.
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