Gaining Competitive Advantage through Customer Satisfaction, Trust and Confidence in Consideration of the Influence of Green Marketing
Abstract: Research Question/Purpose: Due to environmental legislation, economic influences and increasing concern about the environment among the general public, today’s businesses are becoming more committed to environmental issues. Some enterprises yet have implemented a green strategy. This thesis aims at identifying issues that determine the long-term efficiency of green marketing and how confidence and trust plays a role in order to gain competitive advantage through customer satisfaction and customer retention. The common denominator of both, CRM and green marketing is the creation of confidence, trust and value for customers. So, focus is laid on measures that lend credibility to companies’ green marketing by interviewing experts and observing their opinions about green marketing and eco-labeling. Design/Methodology/Approach: Interviews conducted with company professionals from IKEA and Konsum Gävleborg and a member of the municipality in Gävle, as well as findings from secondary sources of the company Nestlé were used to investigate the companies’ ways to respond to environmental concern and how they deal with green issues and ecological responsibility. The interviews provide valuable insights of the success of green marketing depending on the confidence between company and customer. Findings: By analyzing the results of the interviews with the literature review, the thesis reveals that environmental responsibility and ecological orientation needs to be based upon the entire business strategy of a company and implemented in its core principles in order to deal effectively and efficiently with this issue. Conclusions: Companies respond in different ways to ecological issues, through eco-labeling, cooperation with NGOs and energy-saving production processes. In conclusion, it can be said that the need for customer relationship commitment, trust, confidence and loyalty as a result of satisfaction are as important in customer relationship management as in green marketing, because competitive advantage can be achieved by environment-related activities and motivates companies to go green to promote ecologically sustainable practices. Research Limitations/Implications: There is a number of literature focusing on customer relationship management and implications of green issues for business strategy, but there are only a few on green marketing yet and the interaction between green marketing and CRM is missing attention, so far. Originality/Value: This work seeks to make a contribution towards bridging the ends of CRM and green marketing. It indicates a relationship between eco-orientation and company performance and implicates, on the basis of the theoretical and empirical findings, that integrating ecological features and good performance in a company is not impossible. Trust and confidence are as important concepts in green marketing as in CRM.
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