When I was getting my MBA, I had a professor who called marketing professionals “snakes”. *
Marketing has been criticized for harming consumers with deceptive claims, practices, and high-pressure sales. Unsustainable marketing has often fueled the desire for materialism versus quality of life – creating demand for things consumers may not need or be able to afford.
Marketing also helped increase demand for disposable vs repairable, which can have negative environmental consequences.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, and not all marketing people are snakes. Or even lizards, for that matter.
Marketing, at heart, is finding needs and addressing them in the most cost-effective and profitable way. But companies are finding they can go one step further – to make sure their products, services and company actions do no harm, and whenever possible, benefit stakeholders as well as stockholders. They call it sustainability or the triple bottom line – and ethical marketing can help.
Is customer-oriented, in that it focuses on how products and services can make customers' lives easier or better.
Using VOC (voice of the customer) insights, the emphasis is on how the organization can add value to the products or services it offers.
It embraces innovative approaches in developing, communicating, and delivering the customer experience.
It builds on the organization’s mission.
And is Honest and Authentic – never exaggerates or overstates claims.
This is the first of a series of blogs on sustainability in business, our next one is on Sustainable Marketing.
We hope you’ll find them all worth reading!
*He was an organizational development professor