Marketing and Business Sustainability
Any standard definition of Marketing includes three basic components, these being:
- 1. Satisfying Customer Needs
- 2. By creating value
- 3. At a profit
Business Sustainability may also be defined along similar lines. In the case of Business Sustainability we may view the three basic components as being:
- 1. Satisfying Societal Needs
- 2. By Creating Value
- 3. At a profit
We also see differences in the above definitions with respect to needs satisfaction. Marketing presently views needs satisfaction as focusing on the customer. Business Sustainability views needs satisfaction at the societal level. Again as with profitability the divergence here is based upon the scope of the component, in this case value.
The final component of the above definitions centres on value creation. In this case Marketing views value creation through the lens of the customer. Business Sustainability takes a broader focus of value creation elevating it to the societal level.
It seems somewhat obvious that Marketing and Business Sustainability are in many ways two sides of the same coin. Business Sustainability encompasses a broader view of the role of business which extends beyond the customer to society as a whole.
The implications of this are significant as it infers a new way of looking at and evaluating business performance. Our existing measures of business performance, such as ROI and profitability, will shift to a longer and wider view concerned with the impact of the businesses operations on society at large.
Finally this situation also has direct implications for marketers as it implies a dual focus going forward. In addition to our traditional customer focused approach we must now extend our efforts to a societal focused view as well. This fact has implications in terms of staffing, skill sets, resource allocation, and strategic planning.
The merging of these two disciplines seems very much like an arranged marriage. While awkward at first there is some reason to hope that it may work out in the end.