What’s Social Marketing?

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What is Social Marketing?

From Nedra Kline Weinreich

The health communications field has been rapidly changing over the last two decades. It has developed from a one-dimensional dependence on public service announcements to some more complicated approach which draws from successful techniques utilized by commercial marketers, termed social marketing. Instead of dictating the manner that data is to be hauled in the top-down, public health professionals are learning to listen to the needs and desires of the target market themselves, and constructing the program from there. This concentrate on the customer demands comprehensive research and continuous re-evaluation of every element of the application. In reality, evaluation and research together form the very cornerstone of the social marketing procedure.

Social marketing was created as a discipline from the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman recognized that the exact same marketing principles that were used to sell merchandise to customers could be utilised to sell ideas, attitudes and behaviors. Kotler and Andreasen define social marketing as differing from different areas of marketing only connected to the aims of the marketer and his or her business. Social marketing seeks to influence societal behaviours not to benefit from marketer, but to gain the target market and the overall society. This technique has been used widely in global health programs, particularly for treatment and oral rehydration therapy (ORT), and is being used with greater frequency in the United States for such varied topics as drug abuse, heart disease and organ donation.

Like commercial marketing, the main focus is always on the customer–on understanding what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to purchase that which we happen to be generating. Marketing talks to the customer, not on the product. The planning procedure takes this customer focus into account by fixing the components of the marketing mix. This describes decisions about 1) the thought of a item(two) Price, 3) distribution (Place), and 4) Promotion. These are often known as the Four Ps of the marketing. Social marketing also adds a few more P. At the end is a good illustration of the promotion mix.

The social marketing product isn’t always a physical offering. A continuum of goods is different, ranging from tangible, physical goods (e.g. hens), to solutions (e.g. medical tests), clinics (e.g. breastfeeding, ORT or eating a more heart-healthy diet) and ultimately, more abstract ideas (e.g. environmental protection). So as to have a viable product, folks must first comprehend that they’ve a real problem, and that the merchandise offering is a fantastic solution for this issue. The use of research here is to detect the customers’ perceptions of the issue and the product, and to determine how important they feel it is to do it against the issue.

Price identifies what the customer must do so as to acquire the societal marketing merchandise. This cost could be financial, or it might instead require the user to provide up intangibles, such as time or effort, or even to risk embarrassment and disapproval. When the costs outweigh the advantages for an individual, the perceived value of the offering is going to be low and it’ll be unlikely to be embraced. But if the advantages are perceived as higher than their prices, chances of adoption and trial of the product is a lot greater.

In establishing the price, especially for a physical product, like contraceptives, there are several issues to think about. If the product is priced too low, or provided free of charge, the customer may perceive it as being low in quality. On the flip side, if the purchase price is too high, some will not be able to afford it. Social marketers need to balance these factors, and often wind up charging at least a minimal fee to increase perceptions of quality and also to confer a sense of dignity into the trade. These perceptions of benefits and costs can be set through study, and utilized in positioning the product.

Set describes the manner in which the product reaches the customer. For a tangible item, this describes the distribution system–including the warehouse, trucks, sales force, retail outlets where it is sold, or places where it is given out free of charge. For an abstract item, place is less straightforward, but describes decisions regarding the channels through which consumers are reached with information or training. This could include physicians’ offices, shopping malls, mass media vehicles or in-home demonstrations. Another element of location is determining how to guarantee availability of the offering and high quality of the service delivery. By determining the activities and habits of the target market, as well as their experience and satisfaction with the present delivery process, researchers can pinpoint the most ideal way of distribution for the offering.

Lastly, the last P is advertising. Due to its prominence, this component is often wrongly considered as containing the whole of societal marketing. But as could be understood from the prior discussion, it is only 1 piece. Promotion is made up of the integrated use of advertising, public relations, promotions, media advocacy, personal marketing and amusement vehicles. The focus will be on creating and sustaining demand for the product. Public service announcements or paid ads are just one way, however, there are different methods such as coupons, media events, editorials, Tupperware -style parties or business displays. Research is essential to find out the most effective and efficient vehicles to achieve the target market and boost demand. The principal study findings themselves can also be used to obtain publicity for the program at media events and in news stories.

Additional Social Marketing P’s

Publics–Social marketers often have many distinct audiences that their program must tackle in order to be prosperous. Publics identifies both the external and internal groups involved in the program. External publics include the target market, secondary viewers, policymakers, and gatekeepers, while the internal publics are those that are involved in some manner with either approval or execution of the program.

Partnership–Social and health issues are often so complicated that one agency can not make a dent alone. You need to group up with different businesses in the community to truly be effective. You need to find out which organizations have similar goals to yours –not always the same goals–and determine ways it is possible to do the job together.

Policy–Social marketing applications can do well in motivating individual behaviour change, but that’s hard to sustain unless the environment they are in supports that vary for the very long run. Often, policy shift is necessary, and press advocacy programs can be a great match to your social marketing plan.

Purse Strings–Most organizations that develop social marketing programs function through funds provided by sources such as foundations, governmental grants or donations. This adds yet another dimension to the plan development-namely, where will you have the money to create your program?

Example of a Marketing Mix Strategy

As an example, the marketing mix plan for a breast cancer screening effort for elderly women might comprise the following components:

  • The product may be any of these three behaviours: getting an annual mammogram, seeing a physician annually for a breast exam and performing monthly breast self-exams.
  • The purchase price of participating in these behaviours includes the fiscal costs of the mammogram and exam, possible distress and/or embarrassment, time and even the chance of really finding a lump.
  • The location that these educational and medical services are offered could be a portable van, local hospitals, clinics and worksites, determined by the requirements of the target market.
  • Promotion might be done through public service announcements, billboards, bulk mailings, media events and neighborhood outreach.
  • The publics you may want to address contain your target audience (let’s say low-income women age 40 to 65), the folks who affect their choices such as their husbands or physicians, policymakers, public service managers in local radio channels, as well as your board of supervisors and office personnel.
  • Partnerships could be cultivated with local or national women’s collections, corporate sponsors, health care organizations, service clubs or media outlets.
  • The coverage characteristics of the effort may revolve around gaining access to mammograms through lower prices, requiring insurance and Medicaid coverage of mammograms or raising federal funding for breast cancer study.
  • The bag strings, or where the funds will come in, could be governmental grants, like in the National Cancer Institute or the local health department, base grants or an organization including the American Cancer Society.

Each element of the marketing mix should be taken into consideration as the application is designed, for they are the center of the promotion campaign. Research can be used to re evaluate and shape the final product, price, location, promotion and associated decisions.

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