Societal Marketing Concept (All That You Need To Know)

Wondering what is the societal marketing concept?

More and more companies are adopting the societal marketing concept strategies and you are wondering how?

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In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about the societal concept of marketing.

We have divided this article into the following sections for your ease of navigation: 

Let’s get started…

Societal marketing concept definition

Societal marketing can be easily defined as marketing efforts focusing on considerations other than purely economical considerations and bearing a social dimension.

The societal marketing concept is a subset of the marketing concepts.

Societal marketing focuses on the long-term interest of our welfare as humans, our society and factors like environment and so on.

Under this marketing concept philosophy, a company will be governed by a moral and ethical compass in addition to offering value to its customers.

The societal concept in marketing implies that a company will consider three stakeholders in its marketing strategies:

  1. The company
  2. Its customers
  3. The society

The company will care for itself as it is adopting the societal marketing concept to be profitable, connect with its customers, create brand awareness and beat the competition.

It will care for its customers so they are satisfied and happy to do business with it.

It will also care for the society and the human welfare by engaging in activities and efforts helping people in communities, society and the environment. 

Social marketing versus societal marketing 

Societal marketing should not be confused with social marketing.

Social marketing is geared towards facilitating social change and finding ways beneficial for all. 

Social marketing is a type of marketing effort intended to influence and promote a change of behaviour in the action of its target audience resulting in improvements for us all.

To encourage people from doing things for the greater good or to discourage people from harming the greater good, companies adopt social marketing strategies to achieve that goal.

On the other hand, the societal marketing concept is a marketing philosophy driving companies to adopt socially responsible behaviour with the ultimate goal of improving their bottom-line.

Societal marketing is also a commercial marketing play where a company’s ultimate goal is to enhance its position as compared to its competitors.

With so much competition out there, companies will use the societal concept of marketing to differentiate themselves and emotionally connect with their audience.

Corporate social responsibility versus societal marketing

Corporate social responsibility is a concept where an organization implements socially responsible operations and activities focusing on its own internal stakeholders, vendors and suppliers to act in a socially responsible manner.

A company adopting socially responsible policies will expect its employees, managers, leaders, suppliers, vendors and stakeholders to adopt socially responsible behaviors and conduct aligned with those it advocates. 

The target audience of corporate social responsibility is therefore the company and its corporate ecosystem.

On the flip side, the societal marketing concept is a marketing philosophy driving a company to adopt behaviours and conduct benefiting the society in general. 

Societal marketing initiatives will directly benefit the society and consequentially result in benefits to the company by differentiating itself from its competitors and improving its brand recognition. 

Advantages of the societal marketing concept

There are many advantages for adopting societal marketing efforts.

They can be summarized as follows:

  1. Improved brand image 
  2. Increased customer loyalty
  3. Building of a long-term relationship with its audience
  4. Being recognized and celebrated for a particular cause
  5. Shows it cares for society’s welfare and not just profits
  6. Distinguishes itself from its competitors offering similar products and services

Adopting societal marketing strategies, a company can develop long-term relationships with its target audience.

In return, they will reward the company be doing business with it as opposed to its competitors.

This is a win-win for companies as not only they can develop a stronger relationship with their customers but they will also increase their overall profitability.

When major companies adopt societal marketing strategies, their competitors will also be compelled to implement similar strategies in order to level the competitive playing field.

A resulting advantage of this tendency is that more companies will be pushed to adopt the societal concept in marketing to remain competitive.

In the end, the society and customers will win. 

Disadvantages of the societal marketing concept

Societal marketing does have disadvantages.

One disadvantage of the societal marketing concept is that the if company’s societal message is not clear, then the company’s efforts may be in vain.

With a poorly communicated message, a company may have more difficulty in convincing the population that its societal marketing strategies in fact resulted in a social gain.

A related disadvantage is that even if there is a social gain, the company’s customers or audience may not see those gains or they may not be evident to them.

If that were to happen, the additional efforts undertaken by the company in its societal marketing efforts will result in little to no benefit to the company.

Another disadvantage is when a company is unable to convince its own internal employees and stakeholders to adopt the societal marketing efforts to achieve any meaningful result.

Without a company’s leadership behind societal efforts, an organization may not succeed in properly executing its societal marketing efforts and end up spinning its wheels.

Moving on, another important disadvantage is when companies take advantage of the societal marketing concept to dupe their customers.

A company leading you to believe that they’ve used recycled goods to produce something when they didn’t are abusing of the societal marketing concept strategies.

In such cases, companies driven by pure selfish interests and without a sincere desire to act for the benefit of the society as a whole will lure customers to buy from it.

Societal marketing concept example

Many successful companies leverage societal marketing to present themselves as socially responsible organizations.

There are many societal marketing concept examples where companies have demonstrated their ethical actions and banked on socially responsible practices to improve their brand’s image.

These brands leverage holistic marketing concept strategies to consistently deliver value to their customers and act in society’s best interest.

Let’s look at some examples.

Adidas social marketing concept

Adidas has used the societal marketing concept to its advantage in the competitive sports industry.

In 2018, Adidas produced more than five million pairs of shoes containing recycled plastic waste. 

To do this, Adidas partnered with a company intercepting plastic waste on beaches.

Adidas used societal concepts of marketing to not only produce goods in a profitable way but also to clean up the beaches and protecting the ocean’s wildlife.

Coca-cola societal marketing concept

Another important example of a player adopting societal marketing is Coca-Cola.

Coca-cola’s desire to be socially responsible has lead the company to give over $126,000,000 in 2014 to initiatives such as active and healthy living, water stewardship programs, education, women’s empowerment, humanitarian and disaster relief programs just to name a few.

Coca-cola’s societal marketing concept efforts have proven to be good business for them.

Through its social initiatives, Coca-Cola’s goal is to have its brand been seen more favourably.

Body shop societal marketing concept

Let’s look at the Body Shop example of a company using the societal marketing concept to its advantage. 

Body Shop is conscious of the societal and environmental problems we are exposed to as inhabitants of the planet.

As a result, they have put in place at least three different programs funded by the Body Shop Foundation:

  1. The animal protection program
  2. The human rights protections
  3. The environmental protection around the world

By acting in a way to protect the animals, human rights and the environment, Body Shop positions itself as a champion of social and environmental improvement initiatives.

Avon societal marketing concept

Avon is behind the Avon breast cancer movement in partnership with the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Foundation (NABCO) where they started selling pink ribbons and donating half of the proceeds to NABCO.

This initiative is a highly successful example of the societal marketing concept helping raise billions of dollars to fight a noble cause.

There are many companies out there dedicating themselves to a societal cause truly benefiting mankind, our societies and the environment.

Takeaways

The societal concept in marketing is the evolution of marketing concepts where a company will devise its marketing strategies in such a way that they benefit their customers, society and their own bottom-line. 

The societal marketing concept is essentially an extension of the marketing concept with the society as an added target.

A company adopting the societal marketing concept will adopt strategies and business operations aligned with their objective to positively impact society.

In today’s economy, due to social pressures and increased customer expectations, more and more companies are adopting the societal marketing concept as part of their holistic marketing concept strategies.

Companies take the opportunity to build a positive brand image and a long-term relationship with their customers.

The societal marketing concept, if adopted and implemented properly, can lead to significant gains for the company while benefiting consumers and society in general.

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