Improving sustainable marketing
Recently, there is growing consciousness that retailers have a critical role to play in the promotion of more sustainable trends and patterns of consumption. In March 2009, the European Commission and some of the leading retailers in the UK’s together with several other European counterparts launched a ‘Retail Forum’. The forum serves as part of a drive to promote and enhance more sustainable consumption. Tesco, the UK’s leading retailer, has claimed to be leading the sector ‘towards sustainable consumption’.
Another retailer Kingfisher has also emphasized its ‘commitment to go beyond legal compliance and position the company as a leader in sustainable consumption’. Retailers play a major role in sustainable marketing since they actively stand between primary producers and manufacturers on one side and consumers on the other side. This implies that they wield so much influence to effectively drive sustainable consumption. This can be done in two major ways: through partnerships with their suppliers and through day to day contacts with consumers (Mackenzie, D, 1991, p.
72). Obstacles to recycling The main obstacle to recycling is the lack of markets. The collection and recycling waste is only a part of the recycling cycle; the cycle is complete with consumers for recycled goods. Marketers have noted that the markets for recycled goods are still underdeveloped (Postpone 2005, p. 4). Improving sustainable marketing When looking at new and potentially expanded opportunities for sustainable marketing, promoters- particularly those who hold marketing or public relations positions are optimistic about the future.
This optimism is a jolly bright spot in this time of increasing global economic volatility and rising concerns about climate change. Marketers and communicators need to take a long-term approach on organizational sustainability. They have to recognise that, newer investments that are made within the next few years will pay off well in the years that follow. The long-term view is only practical if firms are willing to make the required investment decisions.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) and Fleishman-Hillard conducted a survey to gain better understanding on the future of sustainability. The survey conducted indicated that most marketers are positive that their organizations will maintain or even increase their participation in sustainability in the next years (AMA and Fleishman 2009, p. 2). Public communications campaigns geared towards information awareness are commonly utilized in many OECD countries to encourage sustainable consumption.
In the past decades, these were broad campaigns to encourage environment-friendly purchases. This has been successful in countries like Mexico, Demark, Finland, Japan, and Korea. However, campaigns need to be specific so as to be effective in promoting sustainable consumption trends or lifestyles. There should not exist competition between the public and the private sector, instead, there should be partnership among them. The use of modern tools of communication in recent campaigns is a handsome idea.
These communication tools such as multi-media can enhance sustainable consumption. Researching, planning, and targeting, using various tools, and supporting the scheme over some period until results are paramount in succeeding in communications campaigns (OECD 2008, p. 22). For sustainable marketing strategies to be effective, marketers will need to increase their focus on sustainability that offers clear and unique business advantage both to the organization and to customers.
Marketers and communicators should be able to capitalize on their organizations’ commitments to sustainability; so as to support the changing function of the environment positively, and also to create business success through increased efficiency in production efficiencies. The marketing models should enhanced brand image and stakeholder relationships coupled with competitive differentiation. In order to improve sustainable marketing, marketers should design their marketing models such that the models should be able to balance available resources (financial, human and natural) for the long-term benefits.
Moreover, (WBCSD) (2008, p. 2) has insisted on the significance of ‘using marketing communications to influence consumer choice and behavior’. In a report, WBCSD, 2008 argued that marketing helps consumers to find, select and use sustainable products and services. CONCLUSION Sustainable marketing provides a framework within which modern environmental issues and matters of societal welfare can be integrated. Sustainable marketing has been defined by Fuller (1999, p. 48) as incorporating the general principles of marketing management and those of sustainable development.
However, the ability to diffuse the concept of sustainable marketing is governed by the willingness of all the stake holders to collaborate so as to reap the full benefits. The stakeholders are the government, firms and households. The paper has also highlighted the importance of communication in enhancing sustainable marketing. The paper finalises by offering some insight on how to improve sustainable marketing.
References AMA and Fleishman-Hillard Research Study, viewed May 14th 2010, from: http://events.fleishmanhillard.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ama-fh_sustainability_report.pdf