AMS Review

, Volume 7, Issue 1–2, pp 52–66 | Cite as

Strategic marketing, sustainability, the triple bottom line, and resource-advantage (R-A) theory: Securing the foundations of strategic marketing theory and research

  • Shelby D. HuntEmail author


Addressing strategic marketing's identity problem, several highly complementary works have clarified the field's theoretical foundations, nature, and scope by (1) specifying its domain, (2) defining its central concept, "marketing strategy," (3) proposing the field's foundational premises, and (4) positing its fundamental explananda. Furthermore, the works have shown how resource-advantage (R-A) theory (5) grounds major theories of marketing strategy, (6) illuminates, informs, extends, and grounds the field's foundational premises, (7) identifies three fundamental strategies ("superior value," "lower cost," and "synchronal"), and (8) explains how the three fundamental strategies promote societal welfare. However, a major unresolved issue concerns the second fundamental explanandum of strategic marketing. Specifically, Varadarajan (AMS Review, 5, 78-90, 2015) expands his second fundamental explanandum from "marketplace and financial performance" to explaining triple bottom line (TBL) performance. That is, strategic marketing theory and research should answer: "What explains differences in [social, environmental, and financial] performance of competing brands/product lines/businesses?" This article provides a background discussion on how "sustainability" and the TBL relate to marketing in general and strategic marketing, in particular. Next, it (1) examines the nature of the TBL, (2) shows how the TBL concept and certain issues regarding its measurement parallel those in the "corporate social responsibility" literature, (3) re-examines the value of the TBL framework, (4) makes clear how R-A theory accommodates the TBL, and (5) shows how R-A theory provides seven potential explanations of differences in firms' TBL performance.


Strategic marketing Marketing strategy Resource-advantage theory Sustainable marketing Triple bottom line TBL Provisioning society 



The author thanks Dale Duhan (Texas Tech University), Kiran Pedada (Texas Tech University), the editor, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on a draft of this article.


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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rawls College of Business, Department of MarketingTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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