Towards a definition of social and societal marketing

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  • Towards a Definition of Social

    and Societal Marketing Adel I. EI-Ansary

    Louisiana State University--Baton Rouge

    Marketing academicians seem to use social marketing interchangeably with societal or socially responsible marketing. Lazer and Kelley, for example, define social marketing as:

    . . . that branch of marketing concerned both with the uses of marketing knowledge, concepts, and techniques to enhance social ends as well as with the social consequences of marketing policies, decisions, and actions. 1

    Lazer and Kelley's statement on the meaning of social marketing was directed at establishing a differentiation between what consti'tutes social marketing and what constitutes managerial marketing, rather than establishing a differentiation between social and societal marketing. They concluded that the purview of social marketing is broader than that of managerial marketing which is concerned with "the study of marketing and marketing activities within a total social system. ''2

    Indeed, Lazer and Kelley state clearly that "the definitive statement on social marketing is yet to be written," and "the boundaries of social marketing are as yet ill-defined, and the areas of study that comprise its province are only now being investigated. ''3

    The purpose of this article is to present a case for distinguishing between social and societal marketing. The distinction is blurred in Lazer and Kelley's writing on the subject. It was also blurred recently at the National Conference on Social Marketing held at the University of Illinois (December 1972) where participants found themselves presenting two entirely different types of papers.

    AN ATTEMPT TO DIFFERENTIATE

    Kotler and Zaltman define social marketing as:

    9 the design, implementation, and control of programs calculated

    316

  • SOCIAL AND SOCIETAL MARKETING 317

    to influence the acceptability of social ideas and involving considerations of product planning, pricing, communications, distri- bution, and marketing research?

    Therefore, social marketing encompasses the design and implementation of marketing programs for family planning, safe-driving, and anti-smoking, s It is the application of standard marketing management concepts and tools to the problem of the dissemination of social ideas and social products.

    It should be noted, however, that this definition of social marketing as the marketing of social ideas is a product typology-based definition. If one uses a marketer or organization typology based definition, social marketing may be broadened to include marketing undertaken by non,profit, non-business organizations. Table 1 contrasts the narrow product typology-based and the broad marketer typology-based defini- tions of social marketing. Obviously, the broad definition encompasses the narrower as the marketing of social ideas can be undertaken by business as well as non-business organizations.

    Societal or socially responsible marketing, on the other hand, refers to

    the incorporation of societal-based considerations in the design and implementation of marketing strategies whether they are designed to influence the acceptability of products, services, social ideas, or an organization's attempts to relate to all of its publics.

    More specifically, Kotler explains societal marketing from an operational marketing management standpoint as a concept that

    Table 1 Social Marketing: Product Vs. Marketer Typologies

    Product Marketer or Typology Organization Typology

    Nature Marketing of social ideas

    Examples Safedriving, anti-smoking, family planning

    Marketing undertaken by non- business, non-profit organiza- tions

    Police department, museum, church, government agencies

    Scope Nar rower Broader

  • 318 EL-ANSARY

    . . . calls for customer orientation backed by integrated marketing aimed at generating customer satisfaction and long-run consumer welfare as the key to attaining long-run profitable volume. 6

    Examples of the societal-based considerations in the design and implementation of marketing strategy for a product include:

    (1) Striking a balance between the consumer orientation (satisfying consumer wants), consumer needs, national and international resources, and the quality of the environment.

    (2) Designing environmentally and morally compatible products. (3) Designing communication programs aiming at consumer educa-

    tion and information and avoiding deceptive advertising claims and demeaning advertising appeals]

    SOCIAL AND SOCIETAL MARKETING: HISTORY OF THOUGHT PERSPECTIVE

    The genesis of social marketing is explicit in Kotler's and Levy's "Broadening the Concept of Marketing," published in the January 1969 issue of the Journal of Marketing. It is interesting to note that this landmark issue of the Journal included Lazer's "Marketing's Changing Social Relationships" and Lavidge's "The Growing Responsibilities of Marketing. ''8 This issue marked the inception of a continuous and persistent concern for marketing's social responsibility and the impact of marketing decisions on society. Although historically the social marketing and social responsibility movements paralleled each other, this does not justify the use of social marketing to label both.

    One can use stronger justification for labeling both social and societal marketing as "social marketing," however. After all, marketing, regardless of any typology, is a social process. 9 This tendency should be discouraged, however, for the urgency of a differentiation between social and societal marketing is not emanating from a dispute of whether marketing is management technology, economic process, or a social process. Rather, the need to differentiate is urged to avoid confusing two substantially different recent developments in the discipline.

    Kotler attempted to define marketing generically in his "A Generic Concept of Marketing. ''1~ Kotler demonstrated that marketing evolved from consciousness one to consciousness two and then three. Figure 1 shows social marketing within a generic marketing framework. ]'he figure illustrates the three stages of consciousness, marketing's focus, nature and

  • Temporal I Dimension

    Marketing's Consciousness I

    I Marketing's FOCUS

    Nature of Transaction

    I Concept of Transaction

    Structural- Funct ional Dimension

    _ -_ ,_ . . _ 9 _

    SOCIAL AND SOCIETAL MARKETING 319

    J efore 1969 J

    .product marketing

    .service marketing

    Market Transaction

    FIGURE 1 Social Marketing in the Generic Framework

    I 1969

    - -~ .person market- ~

    ing I .organization I market ing "1

    9 place market- '1 ing "I

    ~soc/ai ia;a-I 'l I marketing_ _I ,

    _ - _ , . _ . _ . _ )

    Organizat ion- client transaction

    1972

    consciousness Three

    An organiza- tion's attempt to relate to all of its publics

    Organization- client transaction

    A market transac- A transaction is tion involves the the exchange of transfer of owner- values between two ship or use of an parties economic good or service from one party to another

    Market structure Define marketing within which mar- in terms of func- keting is performed tions which can be by marketing insti- performed by any tutions organization

    A transaction is the exchange of values between two parties

    Define marketing in terms of func- tions which can be performed by any organization

    Broad conception of social marketing (Marketer typology) Narrow conception of social marketing (Product typology)

    concept of transaction and the structural-functional dimension associated with each. It is evident from Figure 1 that sociat marketing is in the realm of consciousness two in which the concept of marketing was broadened to encompass marketing of persons, organizations, places, and social ideas.

    Marketing management as a normative science involving the efficient creation and offering of values to stimulate direct transactions should incorporate societal consideration in the design and implementation of marketing strategy. Marketing management as a normative science should apply equally to all marketing types specified in the generic framework. Therefore, it should be clear that societal marketing or the incorporation of societal-based consideration in marketing strategy applies equally to all marketing types: product, service, social, or any attempt of an organization to relate to its publics.

  • 320 EL-ANSARY

    CONCLUSION

    Marketing is a youthful discipline. Therefore, it has experienced accelerated growth and change in its conception and framework. The emergence of social and societal marketing is illustrative of the changes endured. Because of its recent development, Lazer and Kelley indicated that social marketing is ill-defined and the definitive statement on it is yet to be written.

    This article attempts to differentiate social and societal marketing and define their scopes. A history of thought perspective was used to explain both.

    Social marketing refers narrowly to the design, implementation, and control of programs calculated to influence the acceptability of social ideas. Broadly defined, it refers to marketing undertaken by non-business, non-profit organizations. On the other hand, societal marketing refers to the incorporation of societal-based considerations in the design and implementation of marketing strategies.

    FOOTNOTES

    t William Lazer and Eugene Kelley. "Marketing's Changing Social Role: Conceptual Foundations," in William Lazer and Eugene Kelley (eds.), Social Marketing (Homewood, Ill.: R. D. Irwin, 1973), p. 4.

    2 Same reference as footnote 1. 3 Same reference as footnote 1. 4Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman, "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned

    Social Change," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35 (July 1971), p. 5. S Examples of social marketing literature include Philip Kotler and Gerald

    Zaltman, "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35 (July 1971), pp. 3-12; William Midnak and Malcolm Bybee, "Marketing Applications to Fund Raising," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35 (July 1971), pp. 13-18; Nathaniel Martin, "The Outlandish Idea: How A Marketing Man Can Save India," Marketing/Communications, Vol. 296 (March 1968), pp. 56-60; and Adel I. EI-Ansary and Oscar E. Kramer, Jr., "Social Marketing: The Family Planning Experience," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37 (July 1973), pp. 2-7.

    6philip Kotler, "What Consumerism Means for Marketers," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 50 (May-June 1972), p. 54.

    7 Examples of societal marketing literature include George Fisk, "Criteria for a Theory of Responsible Consumption," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37 (April 1973), pp. 24-31; David Aaker and George Day, "Corporate Response to Consumerism Pressures," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 50 (November-December 1972), pp. 114-124; Dale Varble, "Social and Environmental Considerations in New Product Development," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36 (October 1972), pp. 11-15; Theodore Levitt, "The Morality of Advertising," Harvard Business Review, Vol. 40 (July-August 1970), pp. 84-92; Dorothy Cohen, "Surrogate Indicators and Deception in Advertising," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36 (July 1972), pp. 39-43; and Shelby D.

  • SOCIAL AND SOCIETAL MARKETING 321

    Hunt, "The Socioeconomic Consequences of Franchising," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36 (July 1972), pp. 32-38.

    8 Philip Kotler and Sidney Levy, "Broadening the Concept of Marketing," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33 (January 1969), pp. 10-15; William Lazer, "Marketing's Changing Social Relationships," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33 (January 1969), pp. 3-9; and Robert Lavidge, "The Growing Responsibilities of Marketing," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 33 (January 1969), pp. 25-28.

    9Daniel J. Sweeney, "Marketing: Management Technology or Social Processs?" Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36 (October 1972), pp. 3-10.

    o Philip Kotler, "A Generic Concept of Marketing," Journal of Marketing, Vol. 36 (April 1972), pp. 46-54.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    DR. ADEL EL-ANSARY is Associate Professor and Chairman of the Marketing Department, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He received his M.B.A. in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1970 from the Ohio State University. E1-Ansary is a Fulbright Scholar and he has contributed articles to the Journal of Marketing Research and Journal of Marketing. He has contributed three research monographs and has a forthcoming book, Distribution Channels: Environment, Structure, and Management, to be published by Prentice-Hall in 1975.

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