What is Societal Marketing Concept? Definition, History, Principles, Examples, and Pros/Cons

Companies make products, sell, and satisfy customers but they overlook society and environmental well-being. Do you think society’s well-being is important while serving the consumer’s needs and wants at the fullest level? Let’s find out what the societal marketing concept says about this.

What is Societal Marketing Concept?

The societal marketing concept is a philosophy that holds the belief that companies should make quality and sustainable products that will serve customers’ needs and want and at the same time maintain the well-being of society.

The societal marketing concept is also commonly referred to as only societal marketing, social concept, or the human concept of marketing. Its main goal is to better serve customers and improve or maintain society’s welfare.

Societal marketing is in the favor of corporate social responsibilities (CSR) and sustainable development. It explains companies in the process of making profits should not forget the acceptance, health, and satisfaction of the environment and society are important too.

Societal marketing philosophy emphasizes companies should consider people’s needs, wants, and welfare of societies while making marketing strategies and manufacturing products to better serve the people and society than competitors which enables them to gain a competitive advantage.

Philip Kotler, a marketing guru has defined the societal marketing concept as “It is a concept that holds that the organization’s task is to determine the needs, wants, and interests of target markets and to deliver the desired satisfactions more effectively and efficiently than competitors in a way that preserves or enhances the consumer’s and the society’s well-being.”

Thus, societal marketing explains companies should strive to maintain a balance between companies’ profit requirements, customer satisfaction, and society’s welfare.

How Societal Marketing Concept Evolved?

The failure or ignorance of society’s welfare by marketing concept and the movement of consumerism and environmentalism has been the main reason the societal marketing concept has evolved. The marketing concept was based on the belief that companies should produce goods that consumers want.

As the marketing concept was successful in satisfying consumers but it did not concern society’s long-run interest. And, the question raised “Is The Organization That Satisfies The Short-Term Wants of Customers Also Doing Best For Their Long-Term Welfare?

During the time the 1960s-1970s companies were aggressively involved in making products to satisfy people’s wants as far as possible. They were indiscriminately exploiting natural resources for the sake of their profits. They totally ignored that the welfare of the environment and society is important too.

Related: The 5 Core Concepts of Marketing

Different problems started to call like environmental pollution, ozone layer depletion, resource shortage, etc. which negatively harmed the environment. Then, the importance of society’s long-term interests and sustainable environment is realized.

And, around 1972 the societal marketing concept emerged to ensure the socially responsible behavior of organizations. Thanks to societal marketing most companies are now adopting this marketing strategy.

Characteristics of Societal Marketing

The following are the common features of the societal marketing concept.

Consumer and Social well-being

One of the common features of societal marketing is that it is directed toward the well-being of consumers and society. It emphasizes organizations make products that are in favor of customers and society’s long-run interests.

Long Run Focus

Societal marketing does not believe in achieving profits with a short-term focus. It is a long-term approach that believes supporting people and society’s long-term interests eventually gets the desired profits and success.

Marketing Concept

Societal marketing is one of the marketing concepts or philosophies like production concept, product concept, selling concept, marketing concept, and holistic concept.

Three-Tier Marketing Philosophy

Everything that is included in this social concept of marketing includes three considerations society (human welfare), consumer (satisfaction), and company (profits).

Long Term Relationship

Societal marketing attempts to build long-term relationships with consumers and society. It explains long-lasting relationships with people and society are desirable. It values their well-being as such it strengthens the company’s image.

3 Considerations of Societal Marketing Concept

By this marketing philosophy, your company should maintain a proper balance between these three considerations while developing marketing strategies.

  • Society (Human Welfare) – Your team should study society and understand their situations and put information on developing a marketing strategy that maintains or even improves human life.
  • Customer (Satisfaction) – The strategy should include customers’ needs and wants satisfaction factors and should satisfy when the product is being consumed.
  • Company (Profit) – It is the fact that in the end, every organization wants profits. Your business’s profit should be through customer satisfaction and society’s welfare.

Related: 3 Conditions of Decision Making

At the core of these 3 societal marketing concerns, the companies should balance them and profit should be through consumers’ and society’s improvement.

Principles of Societal Marketing Concept

The basic principles of societal marketing include four – these principles state how societal marketing functions and how it makes a profit to the organizations.

This picture shows how societal marketing begins and works to achieve a company’s profits.

Functioning of Social Marketing Concept

If you consider embracing the social concept of marketing these four principles should be followed.

Target Market

First of all, identify the target social group that your business wants to deal with. Your target market should be matching with your company’s capacity to serve them better than competitors. You should realize satisfying them is a key to a competitive position and sustaining your business.

Social Needs

In the second principle of societal marketing, you should identify and understand the target social group’s wants, needs, and problems.

Apply Socially Accepting Tools

Once you identified the needs, wants, and problems of the target market develop marketing strategies that are socially acceptable. The means of satisfying the target social groups should be through the integration or coordination of socially acceptable marketing tools.

Profit Through Consumer and Social Well-Being

This is the last principle of societal marketing that states the ultimate goal of your business or of any marketer should be to sustain and succeed a business by providing social welfare, well-being, and accepting social responsibility. By this marketing concept, the ultimate goal of any business should be achieving profit goals through providing well-being to society and consumers.

Also Read: What is Marketing Mix?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Societal Marketing Concept

Following are some positive and negative aspects of societal marketing philosophy.


  • Society’s Welfare – One of the benefits of the societal marketing concept is that it ensures the welfare of society. It requests companies to produce and deliver products that have certainly no negative impact on society’s well-being.
  • Long-Term Success – Societal marketing’s main focus is on gaining profit in the long run over the present profit achievement. It assumes giving products that serve better customers and society lets companies gain a better position in the market which may ensure companies’ long-term success potentiality.
  • Competitive Position – In this competitive and dynamic business world, societal marketing helps businesses to deliver better value products to people than competitors.
  • Good Public Image – In this 21st century, a company that is responsive to people and the environment’s well-being has a better public image than others.
  • Customer Retention – The philosophy of quality products and better service to customers increases the value of the company. Customers usually make repeat purchases when feel valued, satisfied, and served well.
  • Improves Living Standards – By providing qualitative and sustainable products societal marketing also enhances the living standards of society’s people.


  • Costly – One of the disadvantages of the societal marketing concept is that it is costly. Researching and producing products that are environmentally friendly is actually ask more investment. That’s been said sometimes this concept is remained in marketing literature and social campaigns.
  • Less Practiced – Although societal marketing offers various benefits very few companies have practiced it. As such many people are not benefiting from this concept.
  • Difficult To Convince – Sometimes it is hard to convince internal employees and other stakeholders about the importance of socially moving forward. In addition, when there are social gains people do not see and understand also.
  • Takes Time – Implementing societal marketing in practice takes a long time to be successful. Small companies may fail to implement it as they are characterized by small capital.

Examples of Societal Marketing Concept

Not all companies but thanks to societal marketing some companies have implemented it. This marketing concept has been an effective way for big companies to attract profit by being socially responsible and at the same time improving brand image. Some examples are:

The Body Shop

It is a cosmetic company that has been characterized by marketing its products to consumers who want natural and healthy beauty products. It only uses natural materials as ingredients to manufacture its products. It strongly stands for social and environmental issues.


Another excellent example of societal marketing is the Adidas action from 2018. More than five million pairs of shoes made from recycled plastic by Adidas were produced in 2018. Adidas collaborated with a business that collects beachside plastic waste to achieve this. Adidas employed this marketing strategy to produce things profitably while simultaneously preserving the ocean’s animals and cleaning its beaches.

In addition, you can also take examples of companies that emphasize producing as naturally as possible, produce products that are reusable and recyclable, provide nutritional foods, etc.

Read Next: The 6 Marketing Philosophies

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