Social Marketing

Social marketing evolved out of Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman's realization that the marketing principles used to sell products to consumers could also be used to sell ideas and behaviors. In 1971, Zaltman and Kotler published the article, Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change was published in the Journal of Marketing.

The only thing that separates social marketing from any other type of marketing are the objectives of the marketer. The aim of social marketing is to influence social behaviors for the benefit of the target audience and society as a whole. According to Alan R Andreasen, professor of marketing at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University and executive director of the Social Marketing Institute, social marketing is "the application of commercial marketing technologies to the analysis, planning, execution, and evaluation of programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of target audiences in order to improve their personal welfare and that of their society."

Many global health initiatives rely on social marketing as a tool in various campaigns. These campaigns may seek to promote the use of contraceptives; to fight drug abuse; or to raise awareness on topics such as heart disease and organ donation. In the 21st century, the two most popular social marketing topics are public health and environmental protection.

Social marketing may seek to promote products or, more usually, services such as medical exams, practices like breastfeeding or a healthy diet, or more abstract ideas such as environmental protection. Research is needed for the marketer to understand to what extent his audience understands that there is a problems and how important it is for them to do something about that problem. Having that kind of information facilitates the promotion of the product.

Instead of a "purchase price," for goods or services, as is normally required in conventional marketing, the "price," in social marketing is usually the thing that the consumer has to do to obtain the product or service, and is not usually monetary. One may need to give some of his or her time. As with conventional marketing, it is important that the cost of the product is not bigger that the benefit for a person. If the consumer sees the benefits as greater than the costs, the chances of adoption of the product are far better. Still, a marketer needs to keep in mind that if a product has too low a price, or comes free of charge, then the consumer may perceive it a low-quality.

In social marketing, dealing as it does so often with intangible ideas or concepts, marketers need to use different channels to reach consumers with training or information, such as doctors' offices, shopping centers or the mass media.

When it comes to promotion in social marketing, it does not differ much from all other types of marketing. Promotion includes the use of paid ads, public relations, promotions, media events, coupons, in-store displays and other channels and tools. Finding the most effective vehicle makes research is crucial for the promotion's success.

For a social marketing campaign to be successful it usually needs to address many varied audiences. Partnership may also become crucial for some social marketing activities due to the complexity and the dimensions of social and health issues. In many cases agencies and organizations with similar goals join forces to be more effective. Most organizations involved in social marketing programs use financing from donations, foundations or government grants. So the source of funding for any program is another key element of strategy development.

Social Marketing: Selected full-text books and articles

Social Marketing: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives
Marvin E. Goldberg; Martin Fishbein; Susan E. Middlestadt.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Strategic Public Relations Management: Planning and Managing Effective Communication Programs
Erica Weintraub Austin; Bruce E. Pinkleton.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Social Marketing Theory" starts on p. 283
A Cognitive Psychology of Mass Communication
Richard Jackson Harris.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004 (4th edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Media Use in Social Marketing" begins on p. 335
The Dynamics of Persuasion: Communication and Attitudes in the 21st Century
Richard M. Perloff.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Communication Campaigns"
Ethics in Social Marketing
Alan R. Andreasen.
Georgetown University Press, 2001
Health Promotion Practice
Wendy Macdowall; Chris Bonell; Maggie Davies.
Open University Press, 2006
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Social Marketing"
Social Marketing for Reduction in Alcohol Use
Sharma, Manoj; Kanekar, Amar.
Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education, Vol. 51, No. 4, December 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Moving Knowledge into Action: Applying Social Marketing Principles to Crime Prevention
Homel, Peter; Carroll, Tom.
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2009
The Application of Social Marketing to Promoting Men's Health: A Brief Critique
Robinson, Mark; Robertson, Steve.
International Journal of Men's Health, Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Realising the Management Challenges for Science Communication Outreach: A Social Marketing Perspective
Domegan, Christine; Davison, Kevin; McCauley, Veronica.
Irish Journal of Management, Vol. 30, No. 1, January 1, 2010
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Consumer Receptivity to Social Marketing Information: The Role of Self-Rated Knowledge and Knowledge Accuracy
Stanaland, Andrea J. S.; Golden, Linda L.
Academy of Marketing Studies Journal, Vol. 13, No. 2, July 2009
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Application of the Relationship Paradigm to Social Marketing
Raval, Dinker; Subramanian, Bala; Raval, Bina.
Competition Forum, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 1, 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Community Practice: Theories and Skills for Social Workers
David A. Hardcastle; Patricia R. Powers; Stanley Wenocur.
Oxford University Press, 2004 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Using Social Marketing"
Applied Anthropology: An Introduction
John Van Willigen.
Bergin & Garvey, 2002 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "Social Marketing"
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