Accountable marketing : assessing the extent to which Pietermaritzburg based companies understand and have implemented this concept.
Stewart, Malcolm William Thompson.
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This report constitutes an exploratory study into the concept of accountable marketing in order to investigate the extent to which it is understood and has been implemented by members of a local business association. Accountable Marketing is a further natural development in the total marketingnconcept beginning with the traditional marketing concept and then developing through the addition of tested assumptions over time. The societal marketing concept is based on three implicit assumptions namely: - consumers' wishes do not always coincide with their long term interests or those of society. - consumers prefer organisations that show real concern for their satisfaction and well-being as well as the collective well-being. - the most important task of the organisation is to adapt itself to the target market in such a way as to generate not only satisfaction, but also individual and collective well-being, in order to attract and keep customers. Two key issues distinguish the societal marketing concept from the classical marketing concept and these are: - marketing must be concerned with the well-being of customers and not simply with the satisfaction of their short-term needs and; - a firm must consider the side-effects of its economic and industrial activity to ensure the long term well-being of society as a whole. Accountable marketing is a natural development from the concept of societal marketing. It can be viewed as the marketing concept practised in such a way that it enhances the total well being of society. The consumerist and environmentalist movements have forced some marketing theoreticians to widen their classical marketing concept, putting the emphasis on the necessity to develop increased consciousness of the socio-cultural side-effects of the economic and marketing activities. Broadly speaking, accountable marketing differs from societal marketing through the addition of the following two elements: Corporate ethical behaviour. o Consideration of the environment and related issues. The research consists of surveys done amongst the members of a local business association. It was found that whilst members of the association stated that they had implemented the accountable marketing concept, they had in effect implemented societal marketing. The increasing effects of globalisation continue to put pressure on South African companies to conduct business or produce products to the same high standards (including health and safety) as that of the rest of the world. South African businesses are faced with the dilemma of whether to be pro-active with regard to these latest developments in marketing or whether to become reactive and only move forward as and when any pressure is applied. It is felt that the benefits of being pro-active far out-weight any negative aspects and can eventually result in a firm becoming the acknowledged leader in its field and being recognized accordingly.