Belfast Telegraph

People and planet first, that's route to profit

Going by the book opens up new approaches to the bottom line

By Ron Immink

I've just finished reading Marketing 3.0 by Philip Kotler. I'm sure all of you who have studied marketing are familiar with Kotler. He wrote the textbook on marketing.

Great book. Spot on. Talks about things such as “human spirit marketing”, about the importance of authenticity, and identifies purpose and culture as the main business drivers. It talks about mind, heart, spirit, business transformation and brand integrity.

I can sense that people are now making ‘puke’ gestures and wondering if Philip has started to wear sandals, woolly socks and flowers in his hair. Not at all. He makes a compelling case for re-thinking marketing and business in a 3.0 world.

In a 3.0 world, everybody is connected (social media), is ultra competitive and the power is with consumers, with an increasing awareness of depleting and increasingly scarce resources.

As a result, companies will have to think triple bottom line (profit, planet, people). Not only to maintain and develop the brand, but also to capture the opportunities that sustainable business practice will deliver. And last, but not least, this will impact on your future cost productivity.

You can take it as a given that your cost in areas such as energy and transport will go up in the foreseeable future. In fact it makes no business sense at all, not to embrace sustainable business practices.

The only choice you have is whether you are quick in adopting the triple bottom line approach, learn and develop a competitive advantage (such as companies in Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Holland) or decide to wait.

In my view waiting is business suicide. I think Philip Kotler would agree.

Accompanying this column are interviews with the owners of three Irish companies that have developed, introduced or are marketing products or services that are sustainable or help people be more sustainable.

As they’ll tell you, ‘green’ makes good business sense.

Ron Immink is founder of

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Belfast Telegraph