Socially responsible marketing is critical of excessive consumerism and environmental damages caused by corporations. It is based on the idea that market offerings must not be only profit-driven, but they must also reinforce social and ethical values for the benefit of citizens, including those in the bottom of the pyramid. Responsible marketing also means that these values are communicated and enforced by everyone in an organization. While marketers who are pursuing a socially-responsible agenda understand that such efforts do not automatically translate into increased revenue or even improved public image, research and experience suggest that organisations that consistently exhibit socially responsible tendencies may eventually gain a strong reputation that could pay dividends in the form of increased customer loyalty.
Responsible Marketing emerged as a response to questionable marketing practices that have adverse effects on society. Mainstream marketing strategies generally lead to high prices. Due to the size of the chain of intermediaries in marketing, the distribution of commodities to consumers costs a lot. As a result, individuals pay higher premiums for the goods and services that they receive.
Contemporary marketing relies heavily on aggressive advertising and promotion. In order to offset the costs, companies charge higher prices through excessive markups.
Product differentiation is one of the most commonly used marketing tools. But this not only creates an artificial psychological value attached to higher-priced brands but also raises environmental concerns about packaging. As such, socially responsible marketing rejects all deceptive marketing practices in pricing, promotion and packaging, even if they may seem technically legal. In addition to the economic implications, marketing exerts a significant impact on the values of the society. The advocates of socially responsible marketing argue that the current system creates false wants, i.e. encourage people to buy more than they actually need, injects constant desire for material possession, and leads to excessive spending. Too much obsession with material goods in the long run may cause damage to the society as a whole. Corporate profit should not eclipse the collective benefit of the society. Thus, socially responsible marketing draws attention to the “social costs” that are embedded in the marketing, selling and consumption of private commodities. It calls for a marketing system that contributes to social and environmental sustainability, while producing profits for businesses.