Social Marketing as Guarantee for Public Welfare

Charita Jashi, Professor of faculty of Economy and Business I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

The global economy is developing in a rather complex, dynamic environment.

The process of global transformation is accompanied with the emergence of new values and establishment of entirely different relationships requiring a review of the current marketing approaches. Such changes considerably affect the psychological and social condition of consumers as well as their mode of conduct.
Consumer activity is increasing on a par with the changes in dynamism of the society. Consumer activity is a real social strength finding its reflecting on the legal, economic and moral environment of business relations. Market experts, government and public representatives recognize the increasingly effective influence of consumers on social and economic developments. Therefore, streamlining the marketing instruments plays a crucial role in the establishment of real values in the society.
Modern marketing comes as a symbiosis of commercial and non-commercial marketing activities that promotes the establishment of new values through coordinated efforts of the marketing complex. Marketing has an effective influence not only on individual consumers but also on the society as a whole.
Social marketing is the formation, implementation and control of a program intended for a target group to share a social idea, cause and experience1. It is based on the sharing of social ideas, motives and experience to provide for the welfare of the society. By means of commercial marketing, it introduces social changes in the society and influences consumer behavior.
The concept of social marketing became popular from the seventies of the twentieth century, as along with the meeting of target market needs, it put emphasis on ensuring the public well-being, setting a long-term strategy to meet consumer demand. Thus, the efforts of social marketing were bent towards the welfare of the society.
Social marketing entails the target-oriented and concerted efforts of three major actors – the consumer, the company and the society – all directed towards the welfare of the society, and the welfare of consumers involves the integrity of material, moral and social values. That’s why social marketing as the concept of the social marketing intended to recognize and introduce a value was first heard in Social Marketing: Approaches for Social Changes, a well-known article by Philip Cotler and Gerald Zaltman printed in the American Marketing Association Magazine in 19712.
The renowned market experts used the term “social marketing” for the first time. The social-ethical issues of marketing and the issues of social responsibility have been discussed many times in the publications of Kotler, Armstrong, Berkovich, Keron3. and other well-known market specialists. However, in our opinion, compared with the effort of a certain company, social marketing is a broader public effort that entails the issues of social responsibility and social-ethical marketing.
A social marketing campaign or programme contains the following elements: a consumer orientation an exchange and a long-term planning outlook .
To create a new product of social marketing, it is necessary to identify social goals and objectives, segment of a target group, analyze conviction and pressure, form the new product and bring it to the consumer.
Craig Lefebvre and June Flora introduced social marketing and outlined eight essential components of social marketing that still hold today. They are:
1. A consumer orientation to realize organizational (social) goals
2. An emphasis on the voluntary exchanges of goods and services between providers and consumers
3. Research in audience analysis and segmentation strategies
4. The use of formative research in product and message design and the pretesting of these materials
5. An analysis of distribution (or communication) channels
6. Use of the marketing mix
7. A process tracking system with both integrative and control functions
8. A management process that involves problem analysis, planning, implementation and feedback functions4
Application of social marketing in practice is of great importance in Georgia where consumer market is still vulnerable. Marketing efforts are focused on the mass marketing practice – on sale and product and on the manufacturer’s profit. The country has not yet developed a streamlined system to protect consumers from consuming the products, which are often harmful.
Consumer market is suffering the influx of substandard and fake products. Georgia is among law-income countries where consumer market is saturated with cheap, low-quality imported products failing to meet international standards. This violates the rights of consumers and ultimately hurts the entire society.
In the nineties of the twentieth century Georgia witnessed the implementation across her territory of Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline Project of major political and economic importance that was often hailed as the project of the century. The project implementation had wide repercussions in the society. British Petroleum in charge of the project had to reckon with the public demand not to pollute Borjomi mineral water basin. Therefore, in the above zone BP conducted additional hydro-geological surveys, analyzed oil spillage risks, etc.
It was one of the precedents in Georgia, when a company-implemented project was based on the demands of social marketing. The public demand was that the pipeline should go aside, not across the mineral water basin. British Petroleum presented quite a safe project, laying the pipe several meters deep and brought the project to completion.
Social marketing is extremely important in solving the social problems, which have become so prevalent in the Georgian reality. On a par with the economic growth, the economic reforms launched and investments made in the country lead to many deepened social problems and fall of living standards in the population.
Unfortunately, consumer rights have not been publicly recognized yet. On the contrary, the issue was watered down by liquidation of the Anti-Monopoly and Consumer Rights Agency. The international experience of social marketing has to be thoroughly studied and adapted to the Georgian reality to make social values and welfare available for all in addition to the economic growth.