Societal Marketing Concept Explained with 3 Examples

What is the societal marketing concept?

The concept of societal marketing states that a company’s marketing decisions should consider consumer wants, the company’s requirements, long-run consumer welfare, and society’s long term interests. It is based on the Montier principle. It states that companies should be encouraged, by governments and other customers, to provide society with goods rather than merely accumulating capital. Companies are therefore obliged to consider societal marketing even when they intend simply to make a profit.

Corporate management typically means making decisions weighted against maximizing shareholder value but not necessarily weighted against broader social goals – which can result in bad or no choice being made about design features of products or services that are likely to serve societal interests well. It calls for sustainable marketing strategies, socially and environmentally responsible marketing that meets the present needs of consumers and businesses while also preserving or enhancing the ability of future generations to meet the needs and wants of their target markets. Read about the rest of the five marketing management philosophies/orientations here.

What are the three factors of societal marketing?

The three factors are society(human welfare), consumers(want satisfaction), and company(profits). It consists in socializing management (taking into account societal needs); upgrading products through product development (taking direction from consumers’ wants, but also thinking further ahead to what society might want next), and capturing value from customers (sales, revenue, and ultimately profitability).

3 Factors of Societal Marketing Concept
3 Factors of Societal Marketing Concept


The societal marketing concept is an extension of the marketing concept and has its origins in a book published in 1989 called “The Celebration Society”. It contains information on an informal meeting that was held with its membership of marketing experts like Philip Kotler and concerned social activists to define the tasks for society over specific topics within the context of sustainable markets. The outcome from this was a United Nations Commission’s designation as “a world authority center on sustainable systems-related problems related to clients, exchanges, demand—socialization through product development methods.” In 1990 the non-profit organization “Society for Sustainability and Self Reliance” (SSSR) was created to meet these root definitions. It had some success but fell into debt by 1996, having only accomplished less than 20% of its goals in four years. This provided a strong impetus for creating “The Society for Marketing towards Social Goals” which has thus far achieved full recognition as an international marketing association on goods or services that are socially worthy.

Need for Societal Marketing

Societal marketing serves the purpose of aiming at a type of long-term sustainability within society, which is achieved through the creation of awareness about mindless consumerism. The goals created here serve as those that link to social issues such as those affecting nature, resources based on atomic materials (such as petroleum-based products), or human health. It has been said that society cannot escape the influence of past, present, and future generations when it comes to marketing. Human beings are affected by both market forces (such as price) using economic indicators or human behavior in relation to these indicators.

The effort made towards implementing societal marketing aims at having members beyond the current scope of wealth, knowledge, or social standing join in on this process at which time everyone benefits. This will be achieved by involving the general population of society to embrace their collective responsibility towards the well-being of others and ultimately themselves. The aim is for each individual living within an environment that strives for sustainable development to find their own niche in society, where it can be truly appreciated. Societal marketing goals are determined not only by the products produced for the target market but also by how it is promoted through sustainable business practices.

Objectives of societal marketing

Societal marketing is a form of marketing that helps to improve the image of a brand. It focuses on how to be responsible for society and not only about profits alone by using communications tools such as public relations, advertising, information technology, media planning, and buying, etc. This kind of marketing helps companies reach out to wider audiences with their products or services that can benefit all people in the long term because it will add value other than just making a profit from each transaction done on a consumer satisfaction basis. The process of societal marketing can be broken down into three key objectives.

  1. The first objective relates to the communication of the principle of societal welfare which contains information about benefits and desired satisfactions.
  2. The second part involves installing a transition process in order to move from focusing on goods to including an aspect that encourages long-term development into sustainable practices.
  3. The third stage focuses on providing members with an opportunity to come together, establishing relationships that allow for social learning.

Therefore the general goal is one of transforming society into a healthy environment with an outcome in sustainability and education rather than merely making money or increasing profits by any means possible.

Examples of Societal Marketing

1) Coco cola – Children of Africa

2) LEGO – Global Warming

3) Apple – Climate Change

Difference between traditional and societal marketing

The key difference between Traditional Marketing and Societal Marketing according to Kotter is that traditional marketers approach problems in isolation while sociologists implement their ideas through appropriate society-oriented marketing strategies. Both basically contribute towards ensuring “the well being of the communities which are our client” but whereas one uses product features like price or promotion to reasonably relate with varied market segments (producers, producers of goods and services) the other uses social features to influence corresponding decision-makers who are basically “the users” which can be broadly split into 3 categories. They are Product users, Activity groups/Role-players, and Societal actors or Market appeal.

Difference between societal marketing and social marketing

The idea of social marketing concept stems from the 1980s when George Shultz, Secretary of State for Ronald Reagan declared “I don’t want to sell guns… I want to help you defend your way of life.” This mantra became very popular among politicians. It encouraged marketers in the United States who believed that it was important for society to match its product or service availabilities with customers’ concept about what is right and wrong while at the same time focusing on the problem of social needs and frustrations.

According to a survey conducted by Karl Albrecht an academician at the London School of Economics, around 40% of business leaders had been encouraged in adopting this concept while only 12% did it voluntarily (Rudman & Goodman, 2001). This means thinking about creating new products to satisfy people’s needs which the market failed to really offer before; this is measured by customer satisfaction ratings, tracking conversion rates, and pricing critique. Whereas societal marketing, on the other hand, is about decoupling the marketer’s business value from their product value. Marketers in this paradigm are effective at defining the needs of society, communicating them through media to actualize change in a targeted way, and measuring organizations’ profits using funds raised towards charities or volunteers.

Difference between Corporate social responsibility and societal marketing

Societal marketing is often accompanied by public interest that has forced businesses to understand the ethical implication of their actions. CSR, on the other hand, defines what kind of practices will make businesses profitable in order for them to free themselves from anti-trust laws. Principles of corporate social responsibility, therefore, is a part of societal marketing that actually involves changing your business to effectively cater to the ‘needs’ and troubles that people have in terms that go beyond money-making. Societal marketing, therefore, can be defined as a social dimension focused on customers’ and societies’ well-being.


At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to leave a better world for our future generations. The idea of social marketing has been around for quite some time now, but this blog post really brings out the importance of how companies should consider their societal impact as well as profits. As marketers, we are responsible for making sure that our actions have an impact on people’s lives and help improve their lives. We should transition towards an ethical model of marketing in our marketing plan. It is the organization’s task to be mindful of the categories of products sold by them are not causing damage to the world around us. Companies should seek out opportunities to improve their society by being socially responsible and looking at how their actions can positively affect others in the long run. Not only does it help improve the world in which we live through social change, but it also improves your brand image and creates a better working environment for all employees.