B324 Exam Day

It seems such a short time since I started my B324 studies, but exam day is already upon me. I’ll be making my way to the exam centre this afternoon, and will have to sit through three more hours of pain before I can draw a line under the course and look forward to the next one.

In terms of revision, I’ve focused mainly on the B324 topics covered here in this blog. Hopefully that will be enough. I feel quietly confident, and am not nervous about the exam at all. I’m more concerned about the pain I will feel after writing solidly for up to three hours!

Reflecting on B324, there have been elements of the course I’ve enjoyed, and some which I’ve found a little abstract due to the fact that they don’t relate to my own work experience. I enjoyed looking at ethical marketing, responsible marketing and green marketing. I didn’t so much enjoy social marketing or ethical frameworks. I also found fair trade a little less interesting than green – although it was interesting to relate some of the fair trade ideas to the problems UK dairy farmers are currently experiencing.

Final words: B324 is a level 3 course and is quite challenging – as it should be. There is a lot of reading to get through, and it’s absolutely necessary to put the time in if you want to obtain reasonable marks for your TMAs. However, B324 is a course that should be very enjoyable and rewarding for people who are involved with or wish to be involved with a social enterprise of some kind.

Unethical marketing of services

Several writers have highlighted the fact that there is greater potential for unethical behaviour in the marketing of services due to the intangible nature of services, and also the deregulation of many service sectors.

The intangible nature of services and the high level of competition among service providers means it can be very difficult for consumers to evaluate service offerings, which leaves them highly vulnerable to influence by sales people and marketing promotions.

It is arguable that ethical behaviour is more crucial to services marketing in order to combat skepticism and gain the trust and confidence of consumers.

Kotler’s classification of products

Kotler (1972) identified four classes of product along two dimensions: immediate satisfaction and long-term consumer welfare.

There is diagram on page 60 of the B324 Block 2 course book.

Deficient products are those that offer no immediate satisfaction and have no long-term benefit to consumer welfare. Pleasing products have no long-term benefit to consumer welfare but are immediately satisfying (e.g. cigarettes). Salutary products are those which are beneficial to consumers in the long-term, but offer no immediate satisfaction. Desirable products are those which are both immediately satisfying and beneficial to consumer welfare in the long-run.

Fair trade marketing

Fair trade marketing is about making sure small producers are paid enough to cover their costs and have enough to live on.

The argument against fair trade is that it distorts the market and encourages oversupply, resulting in further price falls. The advantageous price paid to producers could result in dependency.

There are two basic components:

  • Providing a working model of international trade that makes a difference to producers and consumers.
  • Challenging business practice by modifying the dominant economic model.

The labelling/certification scheme is important in brand differentiation.

Fair trade works well with the idea of an ‘alternative high street’ – towns like Garstang and Hebden Bridge.

Mainstreaming can result in growth in what still remains a niche. However, mainstreaming could also result in dilution of the message.

Firms could attempt to enter the market and redefine it to better suit the marketing strategies.

Sustainability and green marketing

… is about:

  • Ensuring actions do not impact on the biosphere or threaten its long-term viability.
  • Balancing economic, environmental and social goals and consequences.

The diagram on page 21 of the B324 Block 3 course book is a good reminder of the main goals of sustainability, according to Schaltegger, et al., 2003.

Sustainable marketing is arguably an oxymoron because marketing is traditionally about driving consumption.

Some factors driving growth of green marketing:

  • Firms seeing it as an opportunity to differentiate.
  • Firms recognising their obligations to be more environmentally responsible.
  • Government bodies forcing firms to be more so.
  • Competitors adding pressure by being more green.
  • The increased high cost of waste disposal.

A key concept to remember is that of holism in green marketing.

Another interesting concept to remember is the dominant social paradigm and some of its key dimensions:

  • Economic dimension
  • Technological dimension
  • Political dimension

Some challenges for green marketing to be effective:

  • Must be led from the top.
  • Must be integrated.
  • Must be marketing led.
  • Must be backed by actions.

Firms must try to avoid “hitting the green wall”.

We are still very much stuck in the second age of green marketing!