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Sustainable Development and a More Socially Relevant Marketing Profession

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Olu Akanmu

What is sustainable improvement? And what can be sustainable financial improvement?

Sustainable improvement is improvement that meets the wants of the current with out compromising the flexibility of future generations to satisfy their very own wants. This is the definition in accordance with the International Institute of Sustainable Development.

And what’s sustainability itself? Sustainability will be outlined on 4 pillars- Human, Social, Economic and Environmental. We will use the definitions of Futurelean.com

Human sustainability is the upkeep and enchancment of  human capital in society. Investments within the well being and schooling methods, entry to companies, vitamin, information and expertise . Social sustainability is the preservation for future generations,  our acknowledgemet that we have an effect on others and on the world as regards to the standard of our society, our nation or communities and total social cohesion. While Society won’t ever be equal, that’s utopian. We can all nevertheless agree that excessive inequalities and excessive deprivations and need facet by facet excessive wealth and opulence will not be good for social cohesion. Economic sustainability will be outlined as  financial progress that comes with improved requirements of residing that everybody can really feel. Essentially inclusive financial progress. Whereas the Nigeria economic system is rising at 3% a 12 months, most individuals cant really feel it. Even within the good outdated days of seven% progress in GDP, the problem nonetheless was how to make sure that financial progress is inclusive and that our individuals can really feel the impression on the standard of their lives. The final pillar of sustainability is the setting. Essentially the preservation of our pure capital for subsequent technology. So to maintain it easy, sustainable financial improvement is inclusive financial progress and improvement that everybody can really feel from the rivers of Brass to savannah of Birnin Kebbi and from the whitesands on the Beach of Badagry to the farmlands of Biu.

Does Marketing have a position to play on this? And what must be this position? Lets return to the fundamentals and take a look at the definitions of Marketing to correctly situate our discourse. The American Marketing Association  (AMA) defines Marketing as  

“…… as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. …”

Watch and take note of the important thing phrases of consumers, shoppers, companions and society. The students of the AMA of their knowledge intentionally launched the phrase society into Marketing definition. However it does appear that the one phrases that almost all entrepreneurs hear are clients, shoppers and companions. Most entrepreneurs on this corridor tonight together with those that are usually not at this occasion, and I perception I suppose proper , are usually not more likely to have “society” as prime of their thoughts after they focus on or outline Marketing.

Why is the state of affairs like this?  The downside may very well be situated within the extra common definition of selling that we now have learnt and handed on throughout totally different advertising and marketing generations.

The extra traditional definition of Marketing from Philip Kotler  says     Marketing is  “The science and artwork of exploring, creating, and delivering worth to fulfill the wants of a goal market at a revenue.

The downside with the Philip Kotler’s definition of Marketing, with which we have been all introduced up,  is that it implies that the place there isn’t any revenue, there may be basically no ‘worthy’ market. The extrapolation of this could be in how we additionally outline addressable market in enterprise plans based mostly on those that want and those that can afford to pay for the merchandise / companies that we promote.

The huge downside is that this Kotler’s conventional definition of selling has very critical implications for social relevance of selling in Nigeria and the growing world the place there may be endemic poverty and massive issues of social exclusion.  Come with me.. I informed you earlier that I need to prick your conscience tonight. I’ve not come to earn your clapping.

About two weeks in the past, the National Bureau of Statistics launched a putting and regarding report on the Nigeria poverty index.  That poverty in Nigeria is definitely worse than we thought, than even what the World Bank estimated.  The National Bureau of Statistics report says that there are 133 million multi-dimensionally poor individuals in Nigeria. Cry the beloved nation. That 84 per cent of youngsters underneath 5 years in Nigeria have been poor attributable to lack of mental stimulation wanted for childhood improvement. Cry the beloved nation. That 65 per cent of poor individuals – 86 million individuals – dwell within the North, whereas 35 per cent – practically 47 million – dwell within the South. Cry the beloved nation. That Bayelsa, an oil producing state has 89% of its individuals poor, second solely to Sokoto with 91% of its individuals poor. Cry the beloved nation. That poverty is prevalent in Nigeria city areas with 42% of city poor in addition to rural areas with 72% of rural poor. Cry the beloved nation.  

With a Nigerian inhabitants of 211million and 133 million of that are poor, 63% of our individuals are poor and are in all probability not being served by our industrial markets who will discover them unprofitable. From our traditional Kotler s definition of Marketing, a inhabitants phase that can not be served at revenue will not be a worthy market. Essentially, we are able to conclude that our excessive charge of social exclusion in Nigeria additionally interprets to excessive charge of business exclusion.  That our companies and our entrepreneurs are solely serving and related to simply about 40% of the Nigerian inhabitants or at greatest 50% .  That as we rejoice ourselves tonight with numerous awards, we aren’t related to lives of fifty% of our individuals.  We see this in banking the place formal monetary inclusion is nearly 50% and in web and broadband penetration at round 40%.  Telecom voice penetration is an exception to the rule. Telecom voice enterprise exhibits the facility of know-how, particularly digital know-how in unlocking excluded markets with low transaction and distribution prices that might make conventional inhabitants segments that have been thought beforehand unprofitable worthwhile.

Lets return to advertising and marketing definitions once more briefly earlier than we conclude. Can we actually say we’re doing accountable advertising and marketing in a nation like Nigeria if most of us regardless of our awards tonight are usually not related to 50% of the Nigerian inhabitants? America doesn’t have this huge profound exclusion downside, (no less than not like our context), therefore Kotler may have outlined advertising and marketing with implications that solely markets that may very well be served at a revenue are worthy. For entrepreneurs in growing international locations, Africa and in Nigeria the place 50% of our inhabitants are socially excluded, we have to responsibly discover modern methods to resolve our massive social and industrial exclusion, unlock the potentials of those excluded markets with modern service and enterprise fashions that might make them worthwhile. By so doing, we’ll double the dimensions of our addressable markets, turn out to be extra socially related whereas creating inclusive prosperity for all.

It was late Clayton Christensen, Professor of Strategy, from outdoors Marketing that solved and thought us easy methods to clear up the issue of the potential social irrelevance of selling in growing international locations via the idea of excluded markets ( a paradox)  and the  idea of disruptive innovation. There is not any time to debate Christensen’s theories extensively tonight.  Suffice it to say that Christensen’s idea has a lot of relevance to creating advertising and marketing extra socially related in growing international locations. I enjoin you in case you haven’t, to get a copy of Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma, and learn it with reflections. It is a good related complement to conventional advertising and marketing information at the moment.

In conclusion, congratulations once more to the nominees and awardees on this event tonight and to these of us who’ve come to rejoice with them. As you obtain your awards tonight, ask and replicate on how your merchandise and companies may very well be extra related to maybe 50% of Nigerians that you’re in all probability not serving. That is the accountable factor to do, to make our advertising and marketing and companies extra related to the individuals of Nigeria, to apply extra inclusive advertising and marketing. Lets evolve new socially accountable lingo. In monetary companies, we speak of monetary inclusion. Lets even have milk inclusion for these of us in milk enterprise, lets have detergent inclusion for these of us in detergent enterprise and well being inclusion for these of us in well being companies enterprise. Lets measure these metrics periodically, their progress or stagnation to prick our conscience about how a lot we nonetheless have to do to make our companies impression on the lives of our individuals. So that when the historical past of our technology is written, it shall be stated of us, that we as enterprise leaders rose to the event and to the problem of our time in historical past and made the accountable distinction. 

Olu Akanmu gave this keynote speech on the Advertisers Association of Nigeria’s Africa Marketing Awards.

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