Societal Marketing Concept and Relevancy in Socio-Economic Environment
From the early stage of barter system to the present stage of globalization, various concepts of marketing have developed. They are: the production concept, the product concept, the selling concept, the marketing concept and the societal marketing concept.
Among them the societal marketing concept is an emerging concept. It is the newest of the five marketing management philosophies. The societal marketing concept holds that the firm should determine the needs, wants and interest of target markets. It should then deliver superior value to customers in a way that maintains or improves the customer's and the society's well-being. According to Philip Kotler, "The societal marketing concept calls for a 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."
The societal marketing concept evolved out of the movement of consumerism and environmentalism. This concept is whether the pure marketing concept is adequate in an age of environmental problems, resource shortages, rapid population growth, worldwide economic problems and neglected social services. It asks if the firm that sense, serves and satisfies individual wants is always doing what's best for consumers and society in the long-run. According to societal marketing concept, the pure marketing concept overlooks possible conflicts between consumer short-run wants and consumer long-run welfare. For example, large expensive automobiles may please their owners but increase air pollution, traffic congestion and parking problems; cigarettes and alcohol satisfy individual desires but create health and law and order problems; detergents ease housewives' laundry problems but destroy the quality of water when recycled for the purposes of irrigation and drinking. Such concerns and conflicts led to the societal marketing concept.
Relevancy of Societal Marketing Concept in the Current Socio-Economic Environment of Nepal
Nepal has experienced significant socio-economic changes over the last few decades. The supply-driven marketing where firms could sell whatever they supplied, is increasingly giving way to demand-driven marketing. Now a days, it is realized that customers and their needs are important in marketing. In this context, there is still a debate on the relevancy of the societal marketing concept in current socio-economic environment of Nepal.
On one hand, in the rural areas of the country the main problem is meeting consumers' basic needs. On the other hand, the urban areas have serious problems of environmental degradation, high level of population, severe problem of drinking water, and may other social problems. A large part of the problems in many cities of Nepal is attributable to irresponsible marketing by many firms. For example, the over use of plastic as packing and packaging material and the discharge of industrial waste in rivers has caused major problems in the cities. In this context, the environmental and consumer rights protection groups and various pressure groups should watch the activities of those firms that are seriously threatening the welfare of the Nepalese consumers as well as society in long-run. In this regard, Nepal Government has already enacted consumer protection act and environment protection act. Nepal's membership of World Trade Organization is likely to promote the societal marketing concept in Nepal. Various multinational companies are also helping to enhance societal marketing concept in Nepal.
But establishing the societal marketing concept in Nepalese marketing organizations is an extremely difficult task because it involves considerable planning; considerable persuasions; considerable educations; considerable reorganization and heavy investment.