Marketing and Innovation
"Marketing and Innovation in Renewable Materials" is designed to expose you to the basics of business-to-business marketing with an included emphasis on innovation management.
The following is a summary of a course paper written by Annie Simmonds. She has given permission to post it here to give prospective students an example of what they will learn as RM majors. The course requires you to write a paper on any appropriate topic regarding its importance in the industry and relevance to marketing and marketing strategy.
Here’s an excerpt of what Annie had to say:
The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Marketing Strategies for Renewable Materials
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is defined in Strategic Marketing in the Global Forest Industries as the actions that a corporation takes – beyond what is legally required – to sustain the availability of resources, investments and profits, and to ensure a healthy future for society (Hansen and Juslin, 2011). CSR happens when a corporation takes steps beyond what it needs to do to stay in business in order to benefit local or global society.
CSR is especially important in the forest products / renewable materials industry because of the green movement. Renewable materials are considered to be better for the environment because they are sustainable and are considered carbon-neutral. The sustainability of renewable materials means exactly what their name suggests – with proper land and harvest management, replacement trees or other plants can be sown and ready for harvest cyclically for generations to come. Companies in this industry, therefore, may have an advantage if they can cause customers to perceive forest products as environmentally responsible; the companies will simply need to live up to that reputation.
CSR in the Industry
CSR is important to companies of all sizes and stages. Oregonized Builders and JELD-WEN are two companies at opposite ends of the development spectrum, but both companies hold CSR near and dear to their corporate hearts.
CSR is a core competency of Oregonized Builders, a start-up company that has been developing the Interlocking Construction System (ICS) for the past three decades. James Roman, owner of the business and inventor of the ICS process, considers CSR a core value of his company: “Although it has not ‘to date’ brought me the wealth of monetary gain, I feel it has brought me a sense of inner/overall balance to believe and act to strive for corporate social responsibility.” The company’s vision for the future includes providing a safe, non-toxic environment for inhabitants of their product; providing a longer product life with a stronger product that can be re-used during remodel; and developing self-sustainable, clean, energy efficient manufacturing facilities that utilize sustainable raw materials (Roman, 2011).
JELD-WEN is a privately-held company that was founded in 1960 and produces a wide range of high-quality windows and doors that offer mass-customizable options. The company carries out its environmental goals by selling energy efficient (many of which are ENERGY STAR® qualified) products (JELD-WEN, 2011) and through its recent partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency as a SmartWay Transport Partner to reduce the environmental impacts of trucks throughout the distribution chain (Souders, 2011).
As these two examples show, CSR is very important to companies in the forest products / renewable materials industry. A corporation that acts in an environmentally sustainable manner with regards to its raw materials supply and production processes will be able to sustain the life of the company into the future because it will be able to maintain its supply and will not substantially contribute to the demise of its ecosystem, therefore allowing a longer operation life and overall life of the corporation."
Integration of CSR in Strategic Marketing
CSR can be an important component of a company’s marketing strategy. The Integrated Model of Marketing Planning (IMMP) outlines the process of marketing and shows that marketing planning begins with strategies which must follow the confines – and more than likely will influence while being influenced by – the corporate structures. The strategy has four components that must be defined: products, customers, geographical area, and core competencies (Hansen and Juslin, 2011).
A corporation can non-verbally express its commitment to CSR through its products. This can be achieved through the development of more socially responsible products, such as FSC-certified lumber. By designing packaging from recycled or renewable sources and by reducing the amount of packaging used, a company can increase the environmental responsibility of its products. Finally, processes could be redesigned to be more efficient and emit fewer pollutants. Any of these actions could signal to the customer that a corporation is acting in a socially responsible manner.
Customers are the source of a corporation’s profits, so they are a very important component of the marketing strategy. Companies in the forest products / renewable materials industry usually provide specialized items, for which a customer-focused marketing strategy is best. However, even when the product is a commodity like stud lumber and the focus is on as many customers as possible, CSR can still help build positive rapport with customers because a goal of CSR is to improve the quality of life for the society in which a company operates. This good public image would then be shared throughout the supply chain.
The geographic area in which a corporation operates can influence its CSR activities. CSR for a theoretical global company could include refusing to do business with overseas suppliers whose practices may not be ethical, or helping the supplier manage for emissions and employee safety. On the other hand, a company with a local market area might focus on helping to improve the community in which it operates. Opportunities to practice CSR exist no matter the geographical scope of the market, and the company that takes advantages of such opportunities will have an advantage regarding public image and rapport.
CSR can be considered a core competency in the forest products / renewable materials industry (JELD-WEN, 2011; Roman, 2011). A core competency is “a unique ability that a company […] develops and that cannot be easily imitated. Core competencies are what give a company one or more competitive advantages, in creating and delivering value to its customers in its chosen field […]” (WebFinance, Inc, 2011). A corporation can build a culture of community involvement, environmentalism, or other socially responsible beliefs by including CSR in its mission.
It is important for a company to gather information about their operating environment when integrating CSR into their marketing strategy. The company will be able to make better decisions regarding CSR when it possesses knowledge of what the society that it operates in wants and needs from the company. CSR has the potential to affect demand, and it will affect supply choices. It affects warehouse and transportation decisions, and it can have great influence on all customers.
This report discussed the importance of CSR in strategic marketing for corporations in the forest products / renewable materials industry. CSR is especially important in this industry because of the green movement; renewable materials are viewed by society as a responsible raw material, so companies in this can industry benefit if customers perceive their products as ‘healthy.’ They must be careful, then, to uphold this reputation.
CSR will almost certainly become even more important in the future. Society will seek out companies with the least impact on the environment; they will expect responsible and ethical interactions with and from developing countries; and public image will become even more critical to corporations.