Marketing in the age of sustainability

Giles Hedger

Ten years ago, marketing was at the peak of its influence within business. In contrast, the first decade of the 21st century will be remembered as marketing's Perfect Storm.

History will identify a number of different crises – material and philosophical – developing in parallel, converging around the global economic crisis and triggering a fundamental re-think.

This article attempts to make sense of the storm, and lays out some of the principles that might guide marketing back to sustainability.

1) CRISIS OF PURPOSE

Today, we know that the Earth is not flat because we have travelled to the edge and seen that it does not exist. We know that parallel lines can theoretically meet, because we have gone beyond empirical study into the world of quantum mathematics. We know that matter can be created and destroyed, because nuclear physics has found ways of destabilising matter itself.