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Author Topic: UL Perceptions of the Societal Marketing Concept  (Read 2492 times)


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UL [SHARE] Perceptions of the Societal Marketing Concept
« on: October 08, 2008, 03:04 AM »
Perceptions of the Societal Marketing Concept
by Russell Abratt, Department of Business Economics, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Diane Sacks, Harvard Law School, Harvard University, USA

With the growth in corporate power bringing increased demands from society in accordance with the dictum that "in a democratic society, power sooner or later begets equivalent a ccountability" [1], and the simultaneous increase in knowledge and awareness of social issues in the public at large, business activities in every sphere of social endeavour are coming under increasingly rigorous scrutiny.

The marketing concept can be described as an integrated effort aimed at providing customer satisfaction with a view to attaining long-run profitability for the firm. The societal marketing concept requires, in addition, the promotion of "proper consumption values"[21 in order that "long-run consumer welfare"131 may be attained. Thus it requires that the business organisation includes social, ethical and ecological considerations in its product and market planning. Social responsibility in marketing has recently come under sharp criticism for undermining the democratic process, since "marketers do not have the right to decide what is in the public interest" 41.

This article investigates whether "the social responsibility of marketing . . . is to forget about social responsibility" [41, and in so doing addresses the question of whether the societal marketing concept can, is and should be incorporated into the traditional marketing concept.

Thus with the ultimate goal of evaluating business's ? and specifically marketing's ? response to the increasing societal demands being placed on it, the objectives of this article are:

(1)   to investigate whether societal marketing is regarded as a legitimate and necessary aspect of marketing in the tobacco and liquor industries in South Africa and the extent to which it is in fact practised by them, and
(2)   to explore the societal marketing concept as a possible response by business to the increasing social demands with which it is being confronted.

This research focuses on two industries in particular ? the liquor and tobacco
industries ? which were chosen because they have been catapulted into the foreground of the societal marketing polemic as a result of the widespread agreement that the consumption of their products can cause serious damage to personal and social welfare.



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