Marketing Public Health:
The CDC Experience
Jeffrey W. McKenna
Elizabeth H. Howze
Dorothy S. Knight
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In 1992, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adopted a 5-year plan to make health communications an integral component of all its programs to promote health, foster healthful environments, and improve the quality of life. This chapter presents a sampler of current CDC activities that employ marketing strategies for making health communications more effective. These activities, as presented at the 1995 Society for Consumer Psychology Conference, include programs to reduce tobacco consumption, promote HIV prevention behaviors, improve nutrition and physical activity, increase use of health information services, and improve public understanding about essential public health services.
Peters and Waterman ( 1984) described eight functions that contribute to, or are essential to success. If seven of these were eliminated, then it would be marketing that remains. It is the one that focuses on the end result. "Marketing is not peripheral to success, but central" ( Peters, 1984, p. 17).
Andreasen, in his opening remarks at this conference, noted that some parts of CDC have adopted marketing principles to their programs to a significant degree. Perhaps the word "adapted" should be used here for