Prof R K Gupta
BE (Hons), MBA, FIE
Aravali Institute of Management
Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
E-mail : /

There are several issues in Public administration and Welfare that can be tackled with demarketing techniques, which have been used in Business in several ways. Let us first see what it is about?

Demarketing - marketing aimed at limiting growth; practiced, for example, by governments to conserve natural resources, or by companies unable to serve adequately the needs of all potential customers
It can also be Advertising, which urges the public to limit the consumption of a product, as at a time of shortage.

It could also be viewed as strategy for pruning the marginal markets and can be used to maintain customer goodwill in times of shortages.

Some issues in Demarketing by Government:

Modifying socially unacceptable behaviour. Discouraging consumption of product or service that is against social interest, against ecology or is in short supply.

Some examples of urgent attention in India could be>

- Tourism congestion- Like Miami Florida USA; Goa, India
- Consumption of Alcohol particularly by students
- Modifying behavior of organizations, like Police-(1996 program launched on TV by Delhi Police)
- Discouraging Tobacco consumption
- Discouraging Energy consumption based & environmentally hostile products
- Limiting use of private cars and promotion of Rapid mass Transportation systems

Societal marketing concept - unfortunately, satisfying customers' short-term needs may not be compatible with society's needs. For instance, your customers may prefer large automobiles, disposable diapers, hamburgers, no-deposit bottles, etc. Society is better off if we drive small cars, use cloth diapers, and eat soy burgers. Should a firm worry about its customers' short-term needs, or consider what is best for society? Think about this.

Sometimes it is necessary to demarket a product. There are two types of demarketing: general demarketing and selective demarketing. General demarketing is used when a firm (or government) wants to demarket to everyone. For instance, the government demarkets cigarettes and alcohol (discouraged goods) and illegal drugs (a banned good).

There are situations in which a company demarkets to one specific market segment. This is called selective demarketing. An example of this would be a resort in the Poconos that does not want the business of singles and prefers couples. Also, some areas in Florida prefer elderly vacationers and demarket to college students. This is accomplished by promoting in a way that attracts the desired target market and is unattractive to the demarketed segment. Photographs of elderly people in a promotional brochure that describes exciting bingo nights and shuffleboard tournaments should do the trick.

Demarketing is necessary when there is a limited supply of a product and very heavy demand. In the past, gasoline was demarketed (general demarketing) and it is quite likely that electricity will have to be demarketed if the supply situation does not improve soon. Water is becoming scarce in many regions and general demarketing will be necessary. This is the reason Municipal Corporations instal water meters in homes. One way to encourage conservation of water is to charge by amount of usage.

Tools used to Demarket include:

Higher prices -
This is one justification for high taxes on cigarettes and liquor.
Counter-advertising - e.g., counter-ads advising young people not to take crack, cocaine, or heroin.
Limiting advertising - Cigarettes, for example, may not be advertised on television.
Limited distribution - Alcohol may only be sold in stores with a license.
Warning labels.

Development of substitutes for products or services.

Social & welfare support and Information dissemination of information

Case of limiting Film-Induced Tourism

Film is a most powerful imaging medium, especially when the storyline and site are closely interrelated (Tooke and Baker, 1996). Such images are often retained by consumers for extended periods, as in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where visitors to Devils Tower National Monument still recalled that movie as their first image of the Monument some 11 years after screening (Tooke and Baker, 1996). Film-Induced Tourism Demarketing Strategies:

Beeton (2001) and Benfield (2001) propose a wide range of possible demarketing strategies, the most relevant to the film-induced tourism cases being:

-  Increasing or introducing entry fees
-  Increasing advertising that warns of capacity limitations
-  Reducing sales and promotion expenditure
-  Separate management of large groups
-  Educating potential visitors regarding appropriate behaviour in promotional literature
-  Educating journalists and associated media regarding appropriate behaviour
-  Encouraging 'desirable' markets through the image presented in promotional material
-  Discouraging 'undesirable' markets through the image presented in promotional material
-  Notifying visitors of banned activities and access at the point of information gathering
-  Permitting certain activities or access only under supervision

These strategies fall into three basic categories, namely limit supply through making access more difficult, limit demand through restricting advertising or educating potential visitors at the point of decision-making (through marketing material). The first two can be considered prescriptive and somewhat difficult due to the lack of influence destination marketers have over commercial film imaging, whereas the third can have some effect by dealing with visitor attitudes and expectations prior to their actual visit.

Case of discouraging Tobacco smoking:

Tobacco smoking is now well recognized to be harmful to health having carcinogenic effect on human body particularly lungs. Considerable scope exists in demarketing of tobacco products by combination of health care programs, advertising, and pricing of cigarettes.

The implementation of a comprehensive package of tobacco control measures in the state of Massachusetts has led to a major fall-off in cigarette consumption and 240,000 smokers successfully quitting according to Dr Gregory Connolly, Director, Tobacco Control Program of the state's Department of Health. Dr Connolly was speaking at a seminar organised by the Office of Tobacco Control (OTC), Smokers - Attitudes, Behaviour and Cessation. The seminar was opened by the Minister for Health and Children, Micheál Martin TD, and was held in the King's Inns, Dublin.

Gregory Connolly says that the experience of Massachusetts since 1993, when it introduced a comprehensive campaign to curb smoking, shows that smokers helped to realise their ambitions to quit through comprehensive tobacco control programmes. Dr Connolly, who has visited Ireland on many occasions, says that the Massachusetts' experience has many positive implications for the introduction of smoking cessation initiatives in Ireland. In this context, Dr Connolly highlighted a number of key achievements of the Massachusetts' programme:

In 1993, Massachusetts launched a comprehensive campaign to curb smoking. Over the next ten years, the state raised cigarette taxes, prohibited smoking in public places, offered smoking cessation services directly to smokers or through their health plans and conducted an aggressive paid advertising campaign on the dangers of ETS (excessive tobacco smoking) and second-hand smoke (Passive smoking).

Case of limiting use of car in Metros

Professor Chris Wright, head of the Transport Management Research Centre, Middlesex University Business School, contends that traffic jams and congestion on the roads could be reduced if perceptions of the car "…as a status symbol and a convenient accessory of modern life…" are successfully challenged and changed. Professor Wright believes that bodies such as public transport corporations; local authorities, health organisations and environmental lobby groups are better placed than central government to influence public attitudes towards car use.

It is widely recognised among transport professionals that the demand for car travel - particularly in cities - must be limited in some way if the road network is to be used more efficiently," Wright continues. "However, whilst the concept of de-marketing a product or brand has been around for a long time, when applied to private car ownership there is no easy solution for convincing individuals that they should be prepared to make only limited use of their vehicles for some sort of abstract greater good. Individuals do not necessarily see themselves as the cause of the problem and, even if they did, might still not see any personal advantage in moderating their car use."

 In practice, de-marketing car use may actually be more effective than de-marketing car ownership. Owners already put up with several barriers to car use, and they are already convinced that a lot of the traffic out there shouldn't be cluttering up the roads. The issue is one of individual freedom set against the welfare of others.


It can been seen that usually what is called Social marketing and Demarketing get associated in practice, since most of their objectives are common. In India we can do a lot of public good by applying successful technique of demarketing learned by experts in various parts of the world. Government in modifying behaviour and response to public need of various government organizations like public utilities, police can also effectively use demarketing.

Prof R K Gupta
BE (Hons), MBA, FIE
Aravali Institute of Management
Jodhpur (Rajasthan)
E-mail : /

Source : E-mail

Important Note :
Site Best Viewed in Internet
Explorer in 1024x768 pixels
Browser text size: Medium