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Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing concepts and techniques to target populations to achieve the goal of positive social change. Social marketing began as a formal discipline in 1971, with the publication of the first edition of Social Marketing by marketing experts Philip Kotler and Eduardo L. Roberto. Speaking of what they termed "social change campaigns," Kotler and Roberto introduced the subject by writing, “A social change campaign is an organized effort conducted by one group (the change agent) which attempts to persuade others (the target adopters) to accept, modify, or abandon certain ideas, attitudes, practices or behavior." Their 1989 text was updated in 2002 by Philip Kotler, Ned Roberto and Nancy Lee.
Additional well-regarded texts which further cover the subject include Alan R. Andreasen’s classic Marketing Social Change, Nedra Kline Weinreich’s Hands-On Social Marketing, and Fostering Sustainable Behavior by Doug McKenzie-Mohr and William Smith.
Differences Between Social And Commercial MarketingEdit
Although social marketing is sometimes seen as the simple utilization of standard commercial marketing practices to unorthodox (because non-commercial) goals, this can be an over-simplification. It is true that monetary profit for the organization sponsoring the effort may not necessarily be a prime goal. Government sponsorship of public health initiatives, though maintaining an awareness of budget concerns, may not aim at commercial returns at all. But commercial returns may be a central aim, if the sponsor of the marketing effort is a non-profit organization intending to raise funds. Also, whereas commercial marketing often aims at a comparatively simple influence over its target market, social marketing goals can be far more subtle and complex. A commercial marketer selling a product may only seek to influence a buyer to make a product purchase. Social marketers, dealing with goals such as reducing cigarette smoking or encouraging condom usage, have more difficult goals: to make potentially difficult and long-term behavioral change in target populations.
It is sometimes felt that social marketing is restricted to a particular spectrum of client -- the non-profit organization, the health services group, the government agency. Indeed, these often are the clients of social marketing agencies, but the goal of inducing social change is not restricted to governmental or non-profit charitable organizations; it may be argued that corporate public relations efforts such as funding for the arts are an example of social marketing.
- ^ Kotler, Philip and Eduardo L. Roberto. Social Marketing, 1971.
- ^ Kotler, Philip, Ned Roberto and Nancy Lee. Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life, SAGE, 2002. (ISBN 0761924345)
A number of existing marketing agencies have come to place a partial or complete focus on social marketing goals and clients.
- The largest such organization is Population Services International, whose efforts to reduce the incidence of AIDS in Africa have been credited with possibly saving several hundred thousand lives there.
Other noted agencies include:
- Futures Group
- Better World Advertising.
- Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is an example of a large existing advertising and marketing firm forming a branch largely specializing in social marketing efforts.
- Social Marketing Institute
- Weinreich Communications Social-Marketing.com
- Health Canada’s The Social Marketing Network,
- McKenzie-Mohr & Associates’ Social Marketing.
- The Canadian Tools Of Change web site presents a description of various components of social marketing planning and execution.
- Social Marketing Services, Inc., in Washington State provides workshops and trainings on social marketing efforts to improve health, prevent injuries, protect the environment and contribute to communities.
- Pascal & Associates offers a simple and clearly written brief introduction to the general subject of social marketing.
- The Baton Rouge Social Media marketing company, Bacon Social Media, is focused specifically on social marketing for restaurants and retailers to help business owners understand the importance of social marketing in today's marketing mix.
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