Customer Awareness: A challenge to total customer cost approach of sustainability marketing

A normal person usually makes a mistake due to lack of information on the procedure of the act being done or its consequences. Intentional mistakes are not normal acts and are considered psychological abnormalities. As much as our education systems are meant for enhancing our understanding of existence and developing practical tools and methods for our comfort it is also meant to teach us how to avoid mistakes. Making customers aware of total cost of products by highlighting the search cost, information cost, transportation cost, use cost and post use cost can also be defined as an effort to make people avoid mistakes of being unsustainable. The tricky part in this endeavor is how well the message is being absorbed and executed by the customer. If the execution does not happen information itself is of no value. Information is indeed a key for avoiding the mistakes but it has to be acted upon. From our class discussion we have seen that feeling guilty about not being able to change our unsustainable habit is a severe problem. If this is the case for students who breathe in and breathe out sustainability we can safely assume that a layman is not in a better position as well for executing the information of sustainability. One has to have a very high level of motivation and commitment to go through the genesis of each and every product they use in daily basis. Without that motivation and commitment in the customer simply mentioning a total customer cost in a pamphlet will not make significant difference. To induce the desired behavioral change in people I believe that a systematic sustainability education should be implemented from the very basic level of our formal education system. This will complement the informative approach of sustainability marketing we have been discussing. People coming out of such education system will be more reciprocal to sustainability marketing efforts. For the producers of goods and services who are genuinely concerned about sustainability this can be a new avenue for experimenting with their sustainability marketing. Spending on educating kids about sustainability from earlier age is more likely to bring the desired behavioral changes on them and in long run it might also become more cost efficient for the producer. The cost efficiency comes from the fact that once education is imbibed enough by a society it becomes a culture and needs less investment to transfer it to next generation.         

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1 comment
  1. Good post, with some interesting political implications. I completely agree with you that sustainability issues should be taught in school, already from the beginning. I’m sure that at least in some countries there would be quite a backlash though, with individuals claiming the nanny state is once again overextending its influence into matters there’s no certainty of (think of the US for example). Related to customer cost, we’re going to be discussing convenience in the next lecture – something that can be a boon or a bane to sustainable behavior.

    Btw, good posts throughout Tara – I especially enjoyed the one with the theory of relativity.

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