Magazine article Journal of Services Research

Revisiting Social Marketing Mix: A Socio-Cultural Perspective

Magazine article Journal of Services Research

Revisiting Social Marketing Mix: A Socio-Cultural Perspective

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The health and wellness sector has been the primary beneficiary of social marketing. According to Goldman (2002), although social marketing started as a 'hammer and nail' concept, it now contains within itself problem solving, program planning and intervention designing strategies. Social marketing is aimed at influencing the behaviour of the target market wherein the marketer aims at benefiting the market and not self (AMA, 2013). In fact, the definition of social marketing further describes it as an area, which focuses on the improvement of the society and where the consequences are related to strategic aspects of human development. Not surprisingly, major characteristics of social marketing encompass continuous market research focusing on motives,behavioural pattern and attitudes of the target group, an integrated mix of strategic key elements, and the perpetual evaluation of all procedures (Loss et.al., 2006).

Hence, before launching a social marketing campaign, social marketers take into account a mix of 4Ps and other extended elements like publics, partnership, policy and purse strings (Weinreich, 2006).The mix represents those elements of marketing that are controllable and can be manipulated by marketing managers to ensure the maximum appeal of their campaign (Dann and Dann, 2011). It provides the campaign planner with a framework for generating ideas and an opportunity to be imagina- tive, innovative (Donovan and Henley, 2010). Together, social marketing and social marketing mix aims to change the behaviour of an individual from unacceptable to acceptable for the overall enhancement and sustainability of the society.

This paper aims at developing propositions for research on social marketing by extending the scope of marketing mix via socio-cultural factors. The key research aim addressed by the paper is to develop a theoretical link between socio-cultural factors and social marketing mix.

Numerous authors have exemplified socio-cultural factors, particularly in the health sector, which are detailed in the review of literature. However, unlike commercial marketing mix where socio-cultural factors have been significantly identified, social marketing mix does not acknowledge socio-cultural factors to a significant level.

This paper hopes to address this lacunae.

The paper includes the following sections- review of literature, development of proposition followed by implications and scope for further research.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE

According to Giddings, et al. (2002), the society ,'embraces the multitude of human actions and interactions, which takes place within a physical environment' which includes the socio-cultural environment (Aycan, et al., 2000). Social and cultural factors constitute the socio-cultural environment and they include everything, which is not a part of the political and economic system of an individual, society and a country as a whole. The socio-cultural environment also consists of the whole range of behaviours and relationships in which individuals engage in their personal and private lives, including the demographic characteristics of the population (e.g. age, sex, race or ethnicity, class, etc.), values and attitudes, lifestyles and relationships and reference groups.

Ross et al. (2006)have identified the role of culture at various levels of social marketing. They have listed few author and practitioners including Pawtucket (1995), who used culturally relevant material for people with low literacy.

Social marketing and social marketing mix have been discussed pri- marily in context of health sector in the expansive literature that is available in the public domain. Issues including smoking, TB, HIV, Polio, maternal and infant safety, vaccination, etc. have been the focus of all the social marketing exercises since 1951.

Many authors have identified influences of socio-cultural factors in-health related behaviour change processes around the world. …

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