Managing the Residual Impact of Marketing

Marketing is about meeting customer needs profitably by engaging in exchange transactions. In a way, marketing can be viewed as a sales outreach by organizations to various members of the consumption community or customer segments and therefore it extends to the larger society. The exchange which occurs through the marketing process impacts the transacting parties primarily but it does leave a significant residual impact on society with  ethical ramifications. This is true for both settings; product or services; with co-creation of customer value at the core of the marketing process. Essentially, every transaction has a broader impact on economic indicators such as GDP and a narrow and focused impact on company’s revenues. However, the very nature of exchange  is social and therefore, as several marketing scholars argue, its outcome must be evaluated in terms of ‘fairness’ and rightness on all parties involved in the marketing exchange. Marketers have been accused of being not sensitive enough towards these measures of ‘fairness’ and or ‘rightness’ for evaluating the impact of marketing on the society. This lack of ‘responsibility’ virtue has been discussed, debated on platforms across the domains and various stakeholders of the business discipline, including the marketing theorists.

Clearly, responsible marketing is all about being sensitive and mindful about ethical consideration in marketing decisions. Recently, the momentum towards creating wider acceptability to this idea found a new push as compelling arguments appeared in leading marketing journals on mindful consumption, public policy implications of marketing decisions. There has been much talk on this and too little action to support the notion that the idea has gained some traction. Very recently, an important development was reported in newspapers. Reading that report, one does get a sense that responsible marketing as an idea is taking a good shape. Read on…

Two years ago, Pepsico CEO Indira Nooyi was visiting India and during her meetings with Indian government officials, a concern was raised over high sugar content in the drinks marketed by Pepsico. Though it took two years to respond to that concern, the strength of response compensates for that. Here’s an excerpt from the ET report that appeared on 18th October.

” PepsiCo will reduce sugar content in its juices and carbonated drinks in India by 2025 as part of a global pledge announced by Chief Executive Indra Nooyi on Monday amid a backlash against such products over an obesity epidemic and illnesses such as diabetes. Several countries are also considering a sugar tax to reduce consumption of sugary drinks.As part of the initiative, the company will introduce smaller sizes and bring zero-calorie drinks to India with close to two-thirds of the company’s beverages having 100 calories or less per 12-ounce serving.“We have started the sugar reduction journey across colas, flavors, and juices. We will be replacing sugar with natural and artificial sweeteners across our portfolio, and will also reduce portion sizes of beverages in bottles and cans,“ PepsiCo India Chairman D Shivakumar told ET. Pepsi began selling colas in 150-ml cans, the smallest in the domestic market, in February. “These are now being extended to other brands such as 7Up, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi and Mirinda. This is about portion control,“ Shivakumar said. “For the next 10 years, we will focus on products, planet, and people.“pepsi

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