Social marketing, value, and behaviour: Some important considerations



Publication Details

Zainuddin, N. & Gordon, R. (2014). Social marketing, value, and behaviour: Some important considerations. International Social Marketing Conference


Perceived value, or value for consumers, concerns the experiences of consumers when using a good, service, or in as proposed in this paper - performing a behaviour. Value is an important theoretical concept in marketing, and specifically social marketing. This is reflected in the American Marketing Association definition of marketing 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" (AMA, 2013). This definition also acknowledges that marketing is a social and societal process (Dann, 2008). Recognising the synergy between marketing, social marketing, and value, Kotler and Lee (2011, p8) define social marketing as a "process that applies marketing principles and techniques to create, communicate, and deliver value in order to influence target audience behaviors that benefit society (public health, safety, the environment and communities) as well as the target audience". These definitions demonstrate the relevance of value in social marketing. Yet, there is a relative paucity of empirical research in this area. This paper examines the extant literature on value in marketing and social marketing, identifying that perceived value being currently only identified with goods and services is limiting. We argue that it is imperative that the value concept is extended to consider perceived value-in-behaviour. In making this proposition, we identify some important areas for conceptual development, and for empirical research to advance knowledge. Value research has predominantly emanated from mainstream marketing, but is an emerging area of social marketing scholarship (Domegan et al., 2013; Zainuddin et al, 2011; 2013). Traditional conceptualisations of value originate from the value chain framework (Porter, 1985), and an industrial and supply-chain perspective. This approach views firms as value determinants, creators, and deliverers; and consumers as value consumers and destroyers. Much of the existing work in operationalising value has been goods-orientation (e.g. Sweeney & Soutar, 2001); and used a value-in-exchange perspective that is outcomes oriented (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). However, more recent conceptualisations of value have moved towards a value-in-use perspective (Vargo & Lusch, 2004). Value-in-use proposes that consumer value is realised during the consumption experience, rather than being embedded within goods or services (Sandström et al., 2008). Moving further, value creation proposes that value is a process in which multiple actors provide inputs at various stages of a consumption experience. Most research exploring the value-in-use and value creation concepts is situated within services marketing. This has contributed to the dominant service-orientation of value and the rise of Service-Dominant logic (Vargo & Lusch, 2004).

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