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The societal marketing is a marketing concept that holds that a company should make marketing

decisions not only by considering consumers' wants, the company's requirements, but also society's
long-term interests.
The societal marketing concept holds that the organization's task is to determine the needs, wants,
and interests of a target market and to deliver the desired satisfactions more effectively and
efficiently than competitors in a way that preserves or enhances the well being of both the individual
consumer and society in general. Therefore, marketers must endeavor to satisfy the needs and
wants of their target markets in ways that preserve and enhance the well-being of consumers and
society as a whole. [1] It is closely linked with the principles of corporate social responsibility and
of sustainable development.
Societal marketing can be defined as a "marketing with a social dimension or marketing that includes
non-economic criteria". [1] Societal marketing "concerns for society's long term interests".[2] It is about
"the direct benefits for the organization and secondary benefit for the community". [3] Societal
marketing distinguishes between the consumer's immediate satisfaction and longer term consumer
and social benefits. Accordingly, Andreas Kaplan defines societal management as "management
that takes into account society's overall welfare in addition to mere profitability considerations." [4] It is
a 3 dimensional concept of marketing – social welfare, individual welfare, company profits.

Various attempts to define the objectives of societal marketing have been noted,[5] such as:

 "Social responsibility implies that a business decision maker... is obliged to take actions that also
protect and enhance society's interests.
 "Business has the responsibility to help [the consumer] ... It is the duty of business to promote
proper consumption values."
 "Business leaders are mandated to adopt roles of leadership in the advancement of our society
to new levels of moral conduct."

The concept of societal marketing emerged in the early 1970s, promoting a more socially
responsible, moral and ethical model of marketing in an effort to counter some of the more serious
criticisms of marketing that had arisen out of the consumerist movement around that time. [6]
Philip Kotler is generally credited with introducing the societal marketing concept to the literature in a
1972 article "What Consumerism Means for Marketers" in the Harvard Business Review of
1972.[7] Certainly Kotler believed that he had coined the term, "societal marketing" and was the first
to codify it within the marketing literature. [8] Some marketing historians, notably Wilkie and Moore,
have argued that a societal perspective was not new, and that evidence for it could be found in
marketing theory and in marketing texts, since the discipline's inception in the early 1900s. [9] Kotler
introduced both the concept of social marketing (extending marketing technologies into non-
business areas) and societal marketing, arguing that the marketing concept and its technologies
must be tempered and ultimately revised by adopting a more explicit social orientation.[10] The novelty
of Kotler's concept was the idea of "long-run consumer welfare", emphasizing that the short-term
desires might not support the consumer's long term interests or be good for the society as a whole.
The societal marketing concept adopts the position that marketers have a greater social
responsibility than simply satisfying customers and providing them with superior value. Instead,
marketing activities should strive to benefit society's overall well-being. Marketing organisations that
have embraced the societal marketing concept typically identify key stakeholder groups including:
employees, customers, local communities, the wider public and government and consider the impact
of their activities on all stakeholders. They ensure that marketing activities do not damage the
environment and are not hazardous to broader society. Societal marketing developed
into sustainable marketing.[11] Societal marketing requires businesses to include social, ethical and
ecological considerations in product and market planning. [12]

Kotler identified four categories of products, classified in terms of long term benefits and immediate
satisfaction: [13]

Cigarettes are typically classified as a pleasing products since they deliver immediate benefits with long-term
social harm

1. Deficient products, which bring neither long-run or short term benefits

2. Pleasing products, which bring a high level of immediate satisfaction, but can cause harm to
the society in the long run
3. Salutary products, which bring low short term satisfaction, but benefit the society in the long
4. Desirable products, which combine long-run benefit and immediate satisfaction
Kotler's concept of societal marketing suggested that for the well-being of society, deficient products
should be eliminated from the market, pleasing and salutary products should go through a product
modification process to acquire desirable status, by incorporating missing short term benefits into
salutary products and long term benefits into pleasing products, and the companies' ultimate goal
should be to develop desirable products. Rather than focusing on selling products, which can be
good or bad for the consumers, companies should focus on consumer and society's well-being.

Most companies recognize that socially responsible activities improve their image among
customers, stockholders, the financial community, and other relevant publics. Ethical and socially
responsible practices are simply good business, resulting not only in favorable image, but ultimately
in increased sales.

 The Body Shop: The Body Shop International plc is the original, natural and ethical beauty
brand. The company uses only plant-based materials for its products. It is against Animal
testing, supports community trade, activate Self Esteem, Defend Human Rights, and overall
protection of the planet. They have also their own charity, The Body Shop Foundation, to assist
those working to achieve progress in the areas of human and civil rights, environmental and
animal protection. Thus Body shop is really following the concept of Societal Marketing.[14]
 AVON Product inc. has started an initiative known as Avon breast cancer awareness crusade in
1993 in partnership with National Alliance of breast cancer Foundation (NABCO).They started
selling pink ribbon pins which depicts the international symbol for breast cancer for$2 and
donates $1 to NABCO. Through the crusade, Avon sales representatives have raised billion of
dollars for breast cancer education and access to early detection services for underserved
women. In addition, Avon's 45,000 US salespeople have been trained to discuss breast cancer
and the importance of early detection with their customers and distributed 80 m

examples of societal marketing?

Organizations adopting societal marketing consider in their operations the community and
society’s welfare along with being profitable and satisfying their customers’ needs. Examples

1- The Body Shop follows the societal concept in being against animal testing and in
offering products that have not been animal tested.

2- Johnson and Johnson: In 1982 when someone tampered with their Tylenol capsules
causing casualties, instead of ignoring or denying the incident, or only recalling the batch
with the problem, they recalled all of the Tylenol sold at the time and later urged customers
to exchange their stock of Tylenol capsules with tablets for free. It caused them losses but
they were committed to fulfilling their business credo.

3- HP are very committed to enviornmental sustainability. They try to reduce waste from
their internal operations and have launched initiatives to help reduce and recycle electronic

4- Companies with strong Corporate Social Responsibility programs all follow societal

5- Organizations that adopt a social stance or advocate for positive social behaviors (like
inclusion, anti-discrimination, eliminating rasicm, etc…) in their marketing communications
(as in ads and press releases for example) all follow societal marketing.

Societal Marketing Concept Examples,

Advantages, Importance, Diagram
The Societal Marketing Concept puts Human welfare on top before profits and
satisfying the wants.

Societal Marketing emphasizes on social responsibilities and suggests that to

sustain long-term success, the company should develop a marketing strategy
to provide value to the customers to maintain and improve both the
customers and society’s well being better than the competitors.

Societal marketing concept holds that a company should make good

marketing decisions by considering consumer’s wants, the company’s
requirements, and society’s long-term interests.

Societal Marketing creates a favorable image for the company increases sales.
It is not the same as the terms of social marketing and social media marketing.
It is a term closely related to CSR and sustainable development.

It emphasizes social responsibilities and suggests that to sustain.

It calls for sustainable marketing, socially and environmentally responsible

marketing that meets the present needs of consumers and businesses while
also preserving or enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their

The global warming panic button is pushed and a revelation is required in the
way we use our resources. So companies are slowly either fully or partially
trying to implement the societal marketing concept.

The societal marketing concept is one of the 5 marketing concepts.

History of Societal Marketing Concept

In the 1960s and 70’s the unethical practices of many companies became
public. The concept of Social Marketing surfaced in 1972; a more socially
responsible, moral and ethical model of marketing, countering consumerism.
Philip Kotler introduced the concept of social marketing and societal

The societal marketing concept evolved from older concepts of CSR and
sustainable development and implemented by several companies to improve
their public image through activities of the customer and social welfare.
Three Considerations of Societal Marketing

Companies should balance three considerations in setting their marketing

strategies: company profits, the consumer wants, and society’s interests.

1. Society (Human Welfare)

Companies must make sure the products, services, actions, investment
innovations servers society first.

2. Consumers (Satisfaction)
Products and services should be satisfying the consumer’s needs.

3. Company (Profits)
Building long-term customer relationships, being socially responsible, and
providing satisfactory products are important for profit-making and wealth

Objectives of Societal Marketing Concept

 To maintain a long-term relationship with customers.

 To create a better image in the society for the company than it’s competitors.

 To carry out its social responsibilities.

 Developing community awareness towards its brands.

 To carry out its social responsibilities.

 To increase the consumer base and market share.

Societal Marketing Concept Advantages and

 It helps to build a better image for the company.

 It gives a competitive advantage over the competitors.

 Useful in customer retention and long-term relationships.

 Increases sales and market share.

 Facilitate expansion and growth in the long term.

 Products and company policies should prioritize social welfare and society in general.

 Economic resources are properly used.

 Societal marketing raises the living standard of people in society.

 It ensures economic planning more significant and more fruitful to society.

Importance of Societal Marketing Concept

Societal Marketing is very important to society, the environment, and businesses. This
concept was developed in order to tackle the consumerism and profit only the motive
of business.
The societal marketing concept helps to maximize profits for the organization and
creates a long-term relationship with customers.

It encourages developing products that benefit society in the long run and satisfies

Examples of Societal Marketing

Most recent examples of societal marketing are the super bowl 2017 ads of several

Most ads took on issues like the environment and immigration. These come after
President Donald Trump implemented executive orders that raised controversies.

 Kia’s “Hero’s Journey” commercial starring Melissa Mccarthy is the prime example of
societal marketing.

 CocaCola release an ad that shows people of different ethnicity and singing “America
is Beautiful” in different languages.

 Airbnb’s #WeAccept super bowl 2017 ad.

 Budweiser ad showing how a company founded by its immigrant founder.

The societal marketing does not stop there.

Societal marketing policies are what making companies actively trying to change
social policy, taking part in social activities, investing time and money in corporate
social responsibility.

Societal marketing concept questions whether the pure marketing concept overlooks
possible conflicts between consumer short-run wants and consumer long-run welfare.

The societal marketing concept holds “marketing strategy should deliver value to
customers in a way that maintains or improves both the consumer’s and society’s

Instruments of Societal Marketing

Philip Kotler identified four categories of products based on long-term benefits and
immediate satisfaction:

 Deficient products bring neither long-run or short-term benefits.

 Pleasing products bring a high level of immediate satisfaction but cause long-term
harm long in society.

 Salutary products bring low short-term satisfaction, Nut Benefit society in the long

 Desirable products bring both long-run benefits and immediate satisfaction.

Based on societal marketing, Kotler suggested deficient products must be eliminated

from the market.

The pleasing and salutary products need modification so that they can bring both
long-run benefits to society and immediate satisfaction to the consumer.

Meaning that these products should be launched on the market without turning them
into desirable products.

This way, rather than focusing on selling products, the focus is on consumer and
society well-being.

Societal Marketing is based on the principle of societal welfare. It emphasizes that an organization
must make strategic marketing decisions keeping in mind the consumer wants, the organizational needs
and most important the long term interests of the society.

Societal Marketing is nothing but an outgrowth of the principles of Corporate Social Responsibility and
Sustainable development. It underlines that an organization should not ignore the society’s long term
welfare so as to achieve it’s mission and vision. An organization should have moral and environmentally
friendly strategies and should ensure that proper acts and laws are implemented.

In today’s world of increasing environmental destruction, scarcity of resources, rapidly increasing

population, and abandoned social services. the societal concept of marketing is doubted. It is questioned
that “Are organizations doing an outstanding task of customer satisfaction in line with meeting long run
societal welfare ?”.

Consider example of a fast food industry. They do provide yummy food but this food is full of health
concerns. The burgers are rich in fat and so are the fries and pies too. Such products are packed in
handy form and packaging generating lot of waste. Thereby, in the process of satisfying customer, these
fast food outlets are creating increasing health concerns as well as environmental issues.

Societal marketing should take into account the following things:

 The consumer’s needs are of utmost significance.
 Genuine, modern and continuous developments in the products should be executed so as to
increase the product’s life and value.
 Emphasize on building long term customer relationship and not on doing business. Do societal
good. In short, an organization should market the product keeping in mind the consumer,
organizational and long term societal needs and welfare.

The Societal marketing concept is significant because of the following advantages it has:

 It ensures that all the economic resources are channelized in the right direction.
 It develops enterpreneurs as well as managers in a specified society.
 It raises the living standard of the people.
 It increases the speed of economic development of society.
 It makes economic planning more significant and more fruitful to people’s life.

The closer the organizations move towards their customers, the more evidently they realize the fact that
the objective of any organizational business lies outside the business, i.e. in the society. Thus, this drives
the organizations to make a remarkable contribution for the society’s welfare and upliftment.

A very good example of an organization following societal marketing concept is the Body Shop: Body
Shop is a cosmetic company founded by Anita Roddick in 1976.. The company uses only natural,
vegetable based materials as ingredients for it’s products. It is totally against animal testing, advocates
community trade, as well as complete protection of planet. Thus it totally engrosses the concept of
Societal Marketing.

Another example is Ariel. It is a detergent produced by Procter and Gamble. Ariel runs special fund
raising campaigns for less privilege classes of the world, mainly the developing countries. It also
contributes a share of its profits from every bag sold for the societal development.

To conclude,we can say that societal marketing concept states that a company’s job is to assess the
needs and wants of the target markets and to provide optimum satisfaction to it’s customers ensuring
both consumers as well as societal welfare.In short,an equilibrium has to be maintained by the marketers
among organizational profits,consumers satisfaction as well as social well being.

Definition: Societal Marketing Concept

Societal marketing concept states that marketers should deliver products/services in such
a way that it satisfies the needs of their target consumers, requirements of the company and
maintains well being of the society at large.
In other words organizations must strike balance between consumer satisfaction, profits and
long term welfare of society. This concept places emphasis on social responsibility and
suggests that for a company should deliver value to customers in a way that enhances both
the consumer's and the society's well-being.

It is a marketing concept with social dimension to it. The focus is on to reduce equalities at
various levels.

Societal marketing concept forces the company to shift its focus from transaction to
(1) The body shop: The Body Shop is a well known cosmetic brand which has followed
societal marketing concept rigorously. The company uses only plant based materials for its
products. It is against animal testing, defends human rights, supports community trade, and
works for overall protection of the planet. They have set up their own charity foundation to
help the cause.

(2) Companies with emphasis on recycled products, green and organic products that
reduces/eliminates the damage to environment also fall under the societal marketing strategy.

(3) Food companies providing healthy, nutritional and natural products are also examples of
societal marketing strategy.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Societal Marketing Concept along with its overview.
A promotional process whereby a business first assesses the interests of targeted consumers and then
aims to deliver products more effectively and efficiently than its competition so that it benefits their
customer's and society's overall welfare. The societal marketing approach tends to balance the pursuit of
business profits with consumer desires and society's best interests.

Separate Societal Marketing From Social Marketing

The same paradigm exists today, though it's still common for many people to blur the line between
social marketing and societal marketing. They're related in some ways, but some key differences
separate the two.

Social marketing seeks to bring about social change by appealing to people's desire to do good by
embracing a worthwhile social cause. This quest is the primary goal of social marketing.

Societal Marketing Driven by Philosophy

Societal marketing shares this goal, but it is more akin to a business philosophy. And like most
philosophies, it serves to inform a wide range of decisions – in this case, marketing decisions.

Specifically, societal marketing calls for businesses to create a marketing strategy driven by three
concerns – listed in this deliberate order:
 Human welfare, or what is in the best interest of people first
 Consumer needs, and not just their wants
 Profit, which should be predicated on building long-term customer relationships that will maximize
this potential.
Societal Marketing Can Achieve Multiple Aims
If you're hearing the ticking of a clock, that may well be the same pendulum that kicked off societal
marketing in the 1970s. In other words, societal marketing is still a form of marketing. And as
marketing, it’s intended to enhance awareness of your brand, improve your image, differentiate you
from the competition and – yes – increase profits.

Some examples of companies that have employed societal marketing may help crystallize the notion
that you really can have the best of multiple worlds.

Learn From Example

 The Body Shop is a British cosmetics, skin care and perfume company that champions human and
civil rights as well as animal and environmental issues.
 AVON, another beauty and cosmetics company, has raised millions of dollars for the National Breast
Cancer Foundation through the sale of pink ribbons, which have become synonymous with the
 Coca-Cola made a larger point about cultural harmony when it released an ad depicting people of
different ethnicities singing "America Is Beautiful."
 Kia made headlines when it convinced Melissa McCarthy to play an environmentalist who is hell-
bent on saving a tree, a whale and a rhinoceros – all on her way to promoting a new hybrid
 Budweiser got people talking in 2017 with a one-minute Super Bowl ad that told the story of the
company’s German co-founder, Adolphus Busch.

In the case of Budweiser, marketing executives insisted that the ad was intended to make a point
only about the “pursuit, the effort, the passion, the drive, the hard work, the ambition” of immigrants
and not about any particular political influence – or politician. Viewers weren’t so sure.

You may enjoy keeping your customers guessing, too. But remember one of the unspoken tenets of
societal marketing: sincerity. In other words, it’s vital to select a social cause that you’re passionate
about – at least half as much as you are about your small business.

Objectives of Societal Marketing:

The objectives of social or societal marketing are:
(i) To alter people’s beliefs, attitudes, and expectations, or


(ii) To induce people to take certain actions or introduce changes in

their behaviour.
Like a commercial marketer, a social marketer too needs to take into
considerations all the four P’s of marketing – product, price,
promotion and place, to make social campaigns truly effective.

Notwithstanding its growing importance, social marketing has

continued to be by and large a government concern in India. The
Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity is chiefly used by the
government to spread the social message.

But from time to time, it has also been collaborating with private
advertising agencies, like Lintas for the Year of the Girl Child
Campaign, and Ogilvy and Mather for the Adult Literacy campaign
currently running in the press and on T.V.


In order to understand the concept of social marketing and its useful-

ness in bringing about social changes in a developing country like
ours, an empirical investigation was made of the female child
campaign launched by the government during the SARRC Year of the
girl child (1990).

The underlying objective was to ensure the overall development of the

girl child and advocate treatment as equal to the male child. Press,
T.V., radio, posters and calendars were used as media.

The study revealed the following:

(i) The discrimination of the female child is a serious social problem in
the country and is a major factor responsible for problems like
illiteracy, population explosion, and employment.


(ii) The major areas of discrimination are health care, education,

choice of occupation and share of inheritance.
(iii) The major reasons for discrimination are dowry, social customs,
orthodox thinking, and religious biasness.

(iv) The campaign influenced the different sections of society diff-

erently. It had very little effect on illiterates, housewives and people
from the lower income group.

Viewing the campaign from the marketing angle, one finds that only
advertising and promotional drives were used. The marketing
approach was incomplete as the campaign did not reach the social
class for which it is intended.


To eradicate such a widespread problem, a much more integrated

marketing approach is required.

The needed approach to make the campaign more effective

is discussed below under the following determinants:
1. Determining campaign objectives:
For the development of a successful social marketing programmes the
objectives have to be selected carefully. Clearly defined objectives help
to plan within the given budget and also later in evaluating the success
of the campaign. [The girl child campaign should have been aimed at
bringing about behavioural and value- based changes, rather than
cognitive change only in understanding of something].


2. Market segmentation:
To achieve an effective social marketing mix, a heterogeneous market
needs to be divided into homogeneous groups. [The case under study
reveals that three major sections, namely illiterates, lower income
group people and housewives were marginally affected by the
campaign. They formed the largest and most important target group.
If they had been identified, the focus could have been on them and
campaigns developed to influence them specially].
3. Customer analysis:

Once the target groups have been identified, it is necessary to explore

their attitudes and behaviour and identify their needs. [In the context
of girl child campaign, it was necessary to carry out customer research
and get to know about the perceptions and needs of the three sections
identified above].

4. Marketing mix:
Here the four P’s of marketing come in. The product is the social
message. In this case it is to advocate equal treatment of the girl child
at par with boys. Research pinpointed certain factors like: girl’s
marriage in other family, higher education of a girl needs higher
dowry to find a suitable match, etc. These backward notions have to be
identified and campaigns developed and intensified to counter them.


In the context of a girl child campaign, this includes the actual cash
expenditure on her, as well as energy spent and psychological costs of
developing her personality. The campaign should have been to con-
vince greater number of people to buy the proposed social product-
proper upbringing of the girl child.

It is the communication strategy which makes a product familiar and
acceptable to the target audience. [The case under study reveals that
the most popular medium was television followed by radio. These
media should be continued and other media should also be used for
the three identified target groups].

Strategies should include the necessary action outlets set up by the
government or social service organisations which are working towards
this aim.
On the whole proper monitoring and campaign effectiveness
evaluation systems need to be evolved by any sponsoring agency of a
social marketing campaign. These give an indication as to whether the
message is reaching the target audience and to what extent people’s
attitudes and values are being changed.

Importance of Societal Marketing:

Business is marketing and marketing is business. The ultimate
purpose of business, from the point of view of society, is to produce
products and render services for exchanging for money by which
needs of man can be fulfilled and the needs of society can be looked

In short, it is doing of same social good. A business firm is an

economic institution of society, and the businessmen and the
marketers are members of society and their actions and performances
are for the consumers who are also markers of society.

Therefore, a business is something which has social implication.

Society-oriented marketing rather than marketing-oriented society is a
basic necessity.

Henry Ford once said that he wanted to produce more cars in the
interest of society than profit. Mahatma Gandhi, in his theory of
trusteeship, advocated that businessmen should produce wealth for
the benefit of society and preserve such wealth as the trustees of

Here, wealth does not mean profit but something more to include
socially desirable wealth. It is society that provides the necessary infra-
structure, facilities, security and opportunities for business. So the
marketing policies and objectives of business should be framed in a
way that would contribute liberally to the social well-being.

Social Criticisms of Marketing:

Originally, the business firms based their marketing decisions largely
on immediate profit calculations. Philip Kotler, one of the exponents
of societal marketing concept, critically opines that a firm should earn
a satisfactory level of profit no doubt but it must also assume its social
responsibility as a member of society. He states that a firm’s profit
must be harmonised with society’s interests and well-being.

The present-day marketing side-steps the potential conflicts between

the consumer wants and long-run societal welfare. Kotler further
observes that even the advanced companies in the advanced countries
like U.S.A. have not reached ‘full marketing maturity stage’. Most
companies did rot grasp or embrace the social marketing concept until
driven to it by circumstance.

If for instance wine, whisky and brandy are injurious to health—why

should the manufacturers produce them? The India-made cigarette
packs are printed with a statutory warning: ‘Cigarette smoking is
injurious to health’. Even the cigarettes of International brand, made
in England, give health warning: ‘Smoking is a main cause of lung
cancer, lung diseases and of heart and anteries diseases’.

If it be so, then why should the tobacco companies manufacture

cigarettes and harm the consumers’ health. Empirical study in 1987
has shown that over 1 million people die of heart attack and cancer as
a result of smoking. The consumers, because of prolonged habit, do
not realise the hazards of stroking and stick to their habits.

In other words, even the well-reputed tobacco manufacturers continue

to produce cigarettes to satisfy their own self-interest (i.e. profit) ate to
meet the consumers wants satisfaction (i.e. smoking) with utter
disregard of society’s interests.

They produce these products with what objectives? Surely, profits are
not consumer satisfaction or consumer life style? Why do these
companies waste resources by this unethical practice?

And yet they say that they have good management. Good management
for what? Even some well-known magazines like Business India or
Business World give good images of these companies.
The truth is that it does not fit into the societal marketing concept. All
this needs change of business policy ate change of government policy.