ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIETAL MARKETING CONCEPT BY A MAJOR RETAILER IN SOUTH AFRICA by ProQuest

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									M A. O. Dos Santos


      ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE
    ADVANTAGE THROUGH THE IMPLEMENTATION
    OF THE SOCIETAL MARKETING CONCEPT BY A
        MAJOR RETAILER IN SOUTH AFRICA

M A. O. Dos Santos1


                                              ABSTRACT

         This paper is essentially a case study based on information gathered from a number of sources that
include the contents of the annual report of this major retailer, personal communications with individuals who
were able to provide information relating to the topic and to the retailer (including the Manager: The Good
Business Journey” at the retailer under consideration), international and local journal articles as well as the
mass media in South Africa

          South Africa is a country that demonstrates both extremes around issues surrounding the external
natural environment. On the one hand, the country attempts to educate its population and implement strategies
that are concerned with the protection and sustainability of the natural environment while on the other hand it
is the world’s eighth largest polluter of green house gas emissions. The retailer under consideration in this
study is a South African firm that has managed to be both successful and profitable by taking a multi pronged
approach in its implementation of the societal marketing concept. Not only does this firm attempt to reduce the
negative impact of its business on the natural environment but it also attempts to safe guard the well-being of
its target market and society at large by introducing products that are organically produced and natural. This
firm also participates in community projects that focus on assisting and educating disadvantaged individuals
in the South African community.


                                        INTRODUCTION:

         The societal marketing concept in this article is defined as “fulfilling the needs and wants of the target
audience in a way that improves society as a whole while meeting the objectives of the firm” (Schiffman and
Kanuk, 2007:14). Kotler and Armstrong (2001:21) propose that what is significant about the societal marketing
concept is that it questions whether what the firm does to satisfy the individual’s needs and wants is for the
benefit of the individual and society in the long term. Kotler and Armstrong (2001:21) suggest that the fast
food industry for example offers tasty and convenient food at reasonable prices but consumer and
environmental groups are concerned about the impact of the fast food industry on consumer health and the
environment. This is particularly relevant in an environment where obesity in countries such as South Africa is
becoming a major issue amongst children (17% of children under the age of nine are obese or overweight
Anonymous, 2009:29) and global warming is a concern that is receiving some attention in the South African
mass media and worldwide The societal marketing concept suggests that firms should come up with innovative

;
Dr. Dos Santos is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa. She obtained her
Doctorate from the Rand Afrikaans University prior to its merger with the Technikon Witwatersrand in 2005.
Her current areas of research interest include societal marketing, sustainable marketing strategies and
marketing’s role in assisting the mitigation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

                     ©Journal of Global Business and Technology, Volume 5, Number2, Fall 2009                   39
                                               ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

and sustainable ways of producing and marketing a product or service while at the same time ensuring that the
firm is profitable and able to survive in the long term (Fuller, 1999:6). This is particular significant since
corporations, because of their dominant role and their activities on the planet, have a major impact on the
social and natural environment (Hawken, 1993 quoted by Fuller, 1999:1).

         Although a su
								
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