Marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to consumers, for the purpose of selling that product or service.
From a societal view-point, marketing is the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. Marketing satisfies these ‘needs and wants’ through exchange processes and building long term relationships. It can be looked at as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, delivering and communicating value to customers and managing customer relationships in ways that needless to say, benefits the organization and creates awareness to the consumer.
Marketing and advertising has moved on in the 21st century from merely catering to the market to being the drive force for many large businesses.
The holistic marketing concept looks at marketing as a complex activity and acknowledges that everything matters in marketing – and that a broad and integrated perspective is necessary in developing, designing and implementing marketing programs and activities.
The four components that characterize holistic marketing are relationship marketing, internal marketing, integrated marketing, and ‘socially’ responsive marketing.
The aim of traditional marketing was to encourage the customer to buy products or services and it is usually focused on short period. However responsible marketing is about building respectful, long-term relationships with customers. This form has similar characteristics to marketing orientation but with the added the proviso of ‘socially responsible’ marketing that there will be a curtailment of any harmful activities to society in either product, production, or selling methods.
Advertising messages that are legal, fair, ethical, and offer benefit other than to the bottom line are considered the basis for responsible marketing. When marketing misses these aims they must change their strategy, and often realign their message to persuade their target better and inturn to acquire consumer’s confidence. This is where many marketing strategies go awry and divert away from responsible and advanced practices. Hence, once curbed the desire to gain short term profit; the companies gain long-term in form of good-will.
In responsible information regarding the message must be honest and transparent to announce the positive and negative information related to the product or service, the clarity by the sincere words and truthful statements, the compliance and the accuracy in content of advertising and consistency of information irrespective of form and forum. In a nutshell, responsible marketing is about building trust between a company and its customers. The customer receive the message with a high percentage of reliability.
However, we do realize the aim of companies is to make profits at the end of the day. But, the picture is not so bleak; there have been many long-term benefits to utilize responsible marketing.
2. Potential to develop new markets and strengthen brands for example eco-product innovation and bringing new sustainable products to the market through collaboration with suppliers. Eg: Eco-friendly products of Organic India are working well with the marketing and drawing consumers in leaps and bounds.
4. A positive attention from media, NGOs and other stakeholders through better reputation to maximize opportunities through aligning marketing operations effectively with Corporate Responsibility initiatives. Eg:Tanishq jewellery remarriage commercial for “breaking the mould and pushing progressive social values” as well as “redefining traditional representations” of women.
5. Employee skills development and increased potential through internal joint working.eg: A study by IMRB, a market research consultancy, on the Idea and Aircel campaigns finds that both are above-average in connecting with the buyer.
There was a time when CSR advertising or espousing social causes was used as a brand differentiator, to break through the clutter.Marketers are busy researching the impact on brand recall, one thing is certain: CSR is the flavour of the season in Indian advertising. There are many taking the cause-marketing route. Tata Tea has added corruption in college admissions to its path-breaking ‘Jaago Re’ series;Surf is continuing with its ‘Save Water’ campaign.
At the global level, too, advertisers are keen to showcase their concern for the society to shore up their image: IBM is promoting ‘Ideas for a Smaller World’ and GE’s ‘Ecomagination’ focuses on environment-friendly products. So far, this wide-angle perception seems attractive to consumers.
But like other advertising strategies such as celebrity endorsements, the CSR gambit, too, could be a hit and miss formula. It works when it makes the right connect — when the timing is right, the creative is brilliant and, most importantly, when it is part of a robust overall marketing strategy. Says Scott Goodson, founder of StrawberryFrog, which calls itself a ‘cultural movement’ global agency, and which works on brands such as Mahindra & Mahindra: “The question is, how do you connect social responsibility to the overall strategy?” This time it appears that the advertisers are taking care that it is not a one-off wake-up call.
One of the main drivers of this trend is the growing resonance social issues have with a wide range of audience — even the usually hard-to-reach ones such as youth and women. The self-interested and sceptical consumers of ‘yesteryears’ are evolving into ‘new-age’ consumers who have greater awareness and empathy towards what is happening around them.
Tarek Sultani, managing director of Siegel+Gale, a global strategic branding and design consultancy, attributes this in part to the upheaval wrought by the financial crisis,“The shock our systems have gone through from the financial crisis:corruption, fraud, unemployment, collapse of corporate brands; has put people’s priorities in perspective.”
This emerging landscape has seen a change in communication and its language. Suddenly, being vocal about socially relevant theme is ‘in vogue.” Government communication on socially-relevant causes such as health and education ranked among the top three advertising categories in 2009, according to TAM data. “It is only natural that corporate brands will want to ride this wave.”
This social awareness has made consumers more conscious about the impact of their buying decisions, and they have become selective about the brands they associate with, at the end of the day it is a win-win situation for everybody. All is well that ends well.