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❶As suggested within the literature adopting green marketing has a variety of approaches for businesses.

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Given, the significance of size held by SMEs as outlined in the previous paragraph, it is quite predictable small and medium enterprises make a disproportionately large contribution to job creation.

The study by BIS, found SMEs have been increasing their share of total employment consistently year on year and in tripling shares of that However with the constant changing needs of customers, global competition and technological progress; has resulted to a competitive environment for SMEs to compete in Singh et al. The importance of marketing, indeed, has grown over the years Moorman and Rust ; Walsh and Lipinski, According to Churchill and Lacobucci , every business in a competing environment should have a full understanding of their marketing capacity, adding no business will be able to again or retain customers without marketing.

Although, several studies have shown the significance marketing has in the success of large firms, its role in small businesses SMEs is even more critical, where the loss or gain of one customer could determine their survival Becherer et al. SMEs have their own unique set of characteristics that distinguishes them from larger organisations McCartan-Quinn and Carson For this reason, the established definitions and concept of marketing are not useful to SMEs Gamble et al.

Thus, the marketing function in SMEs has received plenty of attention from practitioners over the years Reijonen, ; Berthon et al. The marketing activities of SMEs is highly restricted by the lack of financial resources and lack of marketing expertise Walsh and Lipinski, Research suggests; this mentality in most cases has an affect on the strategic implementations of the business, which in turn has a direct impact on any marketing activities Reijonen, ; Ramsey et al.

This paper is organised as follows: In addition, green marketing as a theoretical lens to a new way of marketing.

Next, the qualitative exploratory methodology is explained and justified. The subsequent sections then indicate the findings and then a discussion. The paper is then concluded, followed by management guidelines and direction for any future research. While the literature acknowledges the different approaches to marketing in a small business context, there is little disagreement that textbook marketing remains differently focused and primarily aimed at larger organisations; with distinct business mid-sets and approaches which, cannot easily be applied in a small business context Carson, ; Gilmore et al.

SME marketing is perceived as peripheral to requirements Carson, , relating to aspects of promotion and sales only Stokes, a perception that has grown from the ability of SMEs to obtain sales without planning their marketing activities Stokes, ; Hogarth-Scott et al.

However, many academics who have reviewed the SME marketing literature Siu, ; Carson; ; Carson and Cromie, have indicated that;. A primary consideration however in understanding SME marketing according to Murray et al is the positioning of the SME within a dynamic environment; resulting in SME marketing decision being addressed in a non-sequential, unstructured and haphazard fashion; evidently, leading to spontaneous, reactive, informal and continuously- evolving marketing activities.

In addition, the life cycle and size of the firm Gilmore et al. Such findings are reflected in the early studies of Romano and Ratnatunga who identified SME marketing strategies to be associated with factors such as product quality than any formalized marketing strategy. The resulting marketing decisions converged around product or service range diversification quality of service provided, pricing, and cash-flow management, all of which Carson et al suggest stems from the interpretation of the external marketing environment and the business vision.

Evidently, it is this interpretation that is significantly important to the marketing decision-making, dependent on the continual development of the experiential knowledge garnered by entrepreneurs in the market Grant et al. As a result, forming an inherently innate method of doing business, which Grants et al suggest allows the focus of achieving competitive advantage through added value marketing approaches.

Instead, significant emphasis is put on networking and word of mouth Reijonen, Carson and Grant and Gilmore et al found that within the context of marketing decision, there is positive believe that networking with people, companies, associations outside of the organisation allows the firm to be successful Shaw ; and Hill They go on further to acknowledge SMEs use networking as an inherent marketing tool.

According to Gilmore et al the cost of marketing through networking are implicitly hidden simply because any explicit expenses or cost is low in the immediate term. Moreover, Reijonen found a great emphasis is equally placed on word-of-mouth communication WOM. SMEs tend to utilise this concept as a significant way to market themselves, their products and services. A disadvantage however overlooked SMEs is the self-limiting factor of WOM to the confinements of the networks involved in and the non-controllable nature Strokes, Undoubtedly, SMEs continue to face limitations that hinder their marketing strategy.

Carson identifies two key factors contributing to the under utilisation of marketing in the SME context. As, previous research recognising marketing is used on ad-hoc basis, with little or no recognizable impact on performance. Also, SMEs fail to recognise the usefulness of marketing, as the early stages of growth mainly stems from unplanned and informal marketing.

Furthermore, earlier studies have found SMEs lack entrepreneurial and innovative sprit see, Hakim, ; Davidsson, ; Storey, The lack of capital is in most cases is the main hurdle to the SME Carson, The structure of financial markets means SMEs face an up hill battle to acquire financial support Cressy and Cowling, ; as a result much of the capital is gained through internal sources Deakins, Small firms have higher levels of creditors relative to total asset and stock levels.

In addition, lower levels of retained profit than larger organisation Chittenden and Bragg, According to BDRC Continental emphasis on the lack of financial resources for SMEs do not only discount growth, but hampers the businesses survival prospects. Additional barriers are as limited access to, but also the exploitation of marketing intelligence and analysis Martin and Rana, ; Goodman ; the lack of observation and restricted view of the environment Simkin, ; and inadequately able to distribute or delegate tasks across the workforce Low and MacMillan, Despite the fact many studies show competence in marketing is a key determinant for success or failure in SMEs Chaston, Simpson et al argues there is very little evidence to suggest marketing is a key performance indicator.

In support of such argument, Reijonen points out, there are many factors in the SME and within the business environment that have direct influence on performance. Thus, Simpson et al argue that depending on certain business conditions and the dynamic nature of the business environment will determine the success of the marketing orientation. SMEs continue to face several challenges in regards to their marketing initiatives. In addition, SMEs are more concerned with short term planning rather than the longer term Blankson and Stokes, And, see the concept as problematic and troublesome Krate, , p.

As SME marketing continues to be conceptualised in the literature, new forms of marketing continue to emerge Wagner, The last three decades have seen a progressive increase in consumer environmental consciousness and the environment shifts from a fringe, to a mainstream issue Kalafatis et al.

The shift has been driven by different factors including, awareness of environmental problems, and the rise in pressure groups and media coverage. Proactive marketers have already implemented long-term environmental strategies in order to utilise this new phenomenon. The literature on green marketing shows a variety of understanding. Polonsky and Prakash indicate green marketing initiatives include all activities designed to satisfy the consumer intended needs and wants with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment.

It is the facilities that specialise in experiencing nature or operating in a fashion that minimises environmental impact May, ; Troumbis, ; Ingram and Dust Certain organisations believe to have a moral obligation to be more socially responsible Davies, , for others it is an opportunity to achieve objectives Shearer ; Keller , or the aim of reducing cost in the long-term Azzone and Manzini The growing consumer interest in green products and services, in addition a pronounced willingness to pay for green features Roper Organisation ; Mintel ; Worcester, , has resulted in marketers using this knowledge to enhance the credibility of their marketing; in other words transforming crisis into opportunities, using the green philosophy theory and applying it to communication tools May et al.

There is no shortage of agreement within the literature that a well-practiced green marketing initiative can lead to competitive advantage Leonidou and Leonidou, ; Banerjee, ; Porter and Van der Linde, Successful green organisations have learned to go the extra mile, beyond the niche market of only dealing with pure green products by embracing innovative practices and approaches Dean and Pacheco, The initiative of going beyond, has seen some companies develop products and services that create environmental value and in addition, combine these values with a sense of functional and emotional appeal May et al.

Given the advantages of green initiatives as outlined in previous paragraphs, it is quite predictable that the drawback of such concept could be significant. In a recent paper by Dean and Pacheco it is suggested when practiced poorly, green marketing could lead to very disappointing outcomes for the organisation, or worse, consumer backlash.

Organisations fail to understand the implications, thus, never fully engaging with the concept Makower, ; Davis, ; Said, Indeed, organisations must be very cautious when deciding to employ green marketing; the use of green initiatives must not mislead consumers, the industry or breach any government regulations Polonsky, Mayer et al p.

Previous studies suggest, general business strategy reflects upon a dichotomy between reactive and proactive strategies Argon-Correa, ; Larson et al. A reactive strategy is known to be when organisations respond to changes as they develop in the external environment Sandberg, ; Bennett, Conversely, a proactive strategy mirrors the organisation being a step ahead in responding to external threats Jauch and Glueck, , and in addition creating new opportunities in the environment Johannessen et al.

The research is used as a premise by McDaniel and Rylander to propose two main approaches to green marketing; the first is a defensive strategy and the second being assertive strategy. A study by Peattie and Crane asserted that green marketing over the years has suffered due to what is often a defensive, short-term orientation. The issue being the failure of firms with a green vision, however their lack of long-term success could be easily due to a sales orientation with the absence of accurate marketing research and furthermore, ineffective use of marketing communication to allow the education of customers.

An assertive approach, in contrast requires greater level of resources tends to be more expensive and risky , with more organisational commitment including internal policies that have great reflection of the level of management, employee involvement, and is more long term in orientation McDaniel and Rylander, ; Peattie and Crane, Additionally, Peattie and Crane suggest a genuinely assertive green marketing strategy will enable focus on the needs of current and future generation of customers but also other stakeholders through innovative solutions.

A contrary explanation by Mendleson and Polonsky indicate green marketing could be developed through strategic alliances. An organisation forming a strategic alliance with an environmental group significantly increases the credibility of their products and services including associated claims Mendleson and Polonsky, The customer is four times more likely to believe claims made by environmental groups than those of the organisation Australian National Opinion Polls, A green marketing initiative does not only have a positive impact on the environment Iravania et al.

For this reasons the topic has an even greater relevance to SMEs Darcy et al. And so this study therefore aims to explore aspects of green marketing theory and practices that could be applied in a small business context. A case study of EST Marketing is proposed. A B2B business development agency based in Reading founded in with five initial employees. As a true extension to some of the worlds leading IT vendors such as Dell and IBM, multinational companies selling personal computers, network switches, data storage amongst others.

EST Marketing has grown their workforce to 50 employees in order to sustain client needs. There is an intrinsic sense of family orientation regarding the business culture, supportive of employees with kids and flexible working hours if needed. It was found amongst the employees the highest qualification held by the majority was A-Levels. Two out of six of the management team held a university degree. Moreover, to meet different client needs, the organisation offers two distinct services:.

EST Marketing is well placed to promote and support the growth and awareness of client products and services over the phone with almost half of the workforce representing the organisation as telemarketers. The organisation works proactively with clients to create bespoke telemarketing campaigns with maximum impact; resulting to the achievement of business objectives. Having been in operation for almost 13 years serving as a true extension to clients, the organisation offers regular courses crafted and based on real life experiences in the world of sales.

In addition, depending on the client needs bespoke sales training is available upon request. Following a cohesive review of the academic literature and primary research. A contextual framework has been developed to illustrate the explored variables and their relationships Miles and Huberman, Thus, due to these constraints small businesses fail to understand and implement new forms of marketing Carson, ; Gilmore et al.

The conceptual framework takes into consideration both the advantages and the complexity of adopting green concepts. The literature throws up many ways of adopting green marketing, however this study puts emphasis on defensive, assertive and strategic alliances, which Mendleson and Polonsky indicate, to be the most suitable in developing green marketing.

Given the shortage of disagreement within the literature regarding the utilization of green marketing by SMEs as part of their business strategy Darcy et al. As a result, research will be conducted appreciating the view of Grain and Leverton of the importance of empirical evidence to fulfill a gap in the literature.

To however ensure the research undertaken contributes to the academia, below are three questions articulated by the study. Following on from the research questions outlined above, Saunders et al suggests the importance of choosing the appropriate research design to ensure an effective research outcome. Thus, the research will use a qualitative, exploratory approach, putting emphasis on examining of participant interpretation.

Moreover, several authors have indicated a qualitative approach to be the most suitable when researching marketing phenomenon within the SME context Hill, ; Hill and Wright, , offering the opportunity for deep dialogue with participants Moriaty et al. As a result, obtaining credible value judgment and subjective opinions Dibb and Simkins ; To assist with the exploratory research Saunders et al indicates the use of one-to-one interviews as a credible way in exploring a subject.

Thus, the research will opt for one-to-one interviews with all participants. In addition taking into consideration Simpson et al. In-depth semi-structured interviews will be will conducted; with a list of questions to be asked, however the structure of each interview may vary Blumberg et al.

Brayman and Bell further, suggest the order in which the researcher ask the questions will entirely depend on the flow of the conversation. The use of semi-structured interviews according to Saunders et al.

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Green marketing subsumes greening products as well as greening firms. including product modification. promotion) of the traditional marketing mix. systems or processes). green marketing is the marketing .

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Marketing research in general has been dominated by the characteristics of larger organisations (Iravania et al., ). Moreover, much of the research on green marketing has been within the confinements of larger organisations in the B2C sector opposed to the little or no research into green marketing in the context of SMEs in the B2B sector. Explore the latest articles, projects, and questions and answers in Green Marketing, and find Green Marketing experts.

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Research Paper on Green Marketing Ameet Sao, M.B.A.(Assistant Professor) Shaheed Sukhdev College Of Business Studies (University Of Delhi) Abstract: Green marketing is a phenomenon which has developed particular important in the modern market. Introduction Green Marketing is a broad term covering all aspects of marketing decision making that keep the ecology and environment in marketing works on two issues that are - To check the misuse of natural resources.