Sufficiency-Promoting Marketing to Strengthen Sustainable Ways of Consumption


Companies influence what we consume with their range of products and services. In general, marketing strategies aim at creating new consumption needs and increasing sales. Digitalization reinforces this effect, since e.g. personalized advertising increases materialistic consumption. Given the unresolved sustainability challenges, promoting lifestyles oriented towards sufficiency is also the responsibility of companies. In research, the debate about motives for and effects of sufficiency-promoting marketing is still in its early stages.

Sustainability and marketing

The central question of this dissertation is: how can companies support patterns of consumption that focus on moderation and reduction within the framework of their marketing activities, and what opportunities does digitalization offer for sufficiency-promoting marketing? In fact, digitalization allows companies to align their offers more strongly with individual customer needs (e.g. Big Data) and to change the way they interact with customers (e.g. crowdsourcing). However, these very same improvements are also associated with the risk of generating rebound effects. This dissertation identifies and conceptualizes motives and barriers for sufficiency-promoting marketing within a systematic literature analysis. The results will then be tested in a qualitative interview study with companies. Subsequently, the perception and effect of sufficiency-promoting marketing in social media will be tested experimentally using two intervention studies with consumers. The findings will finally be discussed at a workshop with companies.