Social Marketing Principles Enhance Enrollment in the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation

Article excerpt

Purpose of the study: Using focus group data, this article discusses the use of social marketing principles to enhance enrollment in the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation (CCDE). Design and methods: Focus groups were conducted in person and by conference call in two CCDE states, Arkansas and Florida. In Florida, Department of Elder Affairs and Developmental Services Program (DS) staff participated in seven focus groups. In Arkansas, four focus groups were conducted with professionals likely to come into contact with Medicaid consumers who are eligible for Arkansas' cash option program. Focus group transcripts were coded according to the project research questions. Results: Several important lessons emerged including the importance of (a) conducting process evaluation activities, such as the social marketing focus groups, early during program implementation; (b) using multiple approaches and contacts to inform potential consumers and their families about a new, complex program; (c) carefully selecting and training personnel to conduct outreach and enrollment activities; and (d) developing specific messages to include in marketing the cash option. Implications: Using social marketing principles to examine CCDE enrollment has provided important information to enhance this program.

Keywords: consumer directed care; elders; social marketing; process evaluation

Social marketing . . . puts customers at the center of everything.

Alan R. Andreasen

Consumer direction in long-term care starts with the premise that individuals with long-term care needs should be empowered to make decisions about the care they receive.

Robyn Stone

[In social marketing], the customer is always the figure who drives the program-not vice versa.

Alan R. Andreasen

Consumer direction includes a continuum that ranges from consumers having a role in developing their plan of care to having complete control over services.

Linda Velgouse & Virginia Dize

A basic assumption of marketing is that human behavior is a moving target . . . market research recognizes the need to continually integrate action with research.

William Smith

A consumer-directed approach to personal care services operates under the philosophy that people of all ages with disabilities who need assistance with personal care services should have control over the decisions about their care. This approach to personal care service puts the consumer in the center of the decision-making process (Mahoney et al., 2004). Social marketing, the process of applying marketing technology to influence behavior change, is based on the same consumer-centered principle. Social marketing involves constantly going back and forth to the consumer before and after program planning and before and after program implementation.

During the last 20 years, social marketing principles have been applied to nonprofit ventures focusing on promoting socially desirable behavior (Andreasen, 1997). This trend has occurred while there was growing interest in consumer-directed approaches to personal care services (Simon-Rusinowitz et al., 2000). Both movements illustrate an increasing focus on consumers' views about their own needs. This article discusses the use of social marketing principles to enhance enrollment in the Cash and Counseling Demonstration and Evaluation (CCDE), a national social experiment testing a consumer-directed approach to long-term care services. Specifically, this article reports on focus groups conducted during the demonstration implementation period.

The basic goal of social marketing is to influence behavior by using marketing principles for societal benefit rather than commercial profit (Smith, 2000).Originally used to influence behavior in the commercial sector, marketing principles were applied to a variety of nonprofit enterprises in the 1970s, including universities, performing arts, and hospitals (Andreasen, 1997). …