Essentially, Social Marketing is the application of commercial marketing concepts to social concepts in order to improve the common good. The primary goal of Social Marketing is to achieve the common good by changing people’s behaviors.
Change people’s behavior for the social good
Changing people’s behavior for the social good requires understanding the reasons behind people engaging in undesirable behaviors. While communication campaigns and other tactics can be helpful, they often fail to produce meaningful change. Instead, they simply yield small results. This is why social and behaviour change extends beyond individual behavior to include changes in social networks, public policies, and the establishment of social norms. Ultimately, this approach aims to empower individuals by lowering structural barriers.
Using these strategies, the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics has undertaken a wide range of projects with partner organizations around the world. The center leverages their expertise in measurement and analysis to identify systematic behavioral drivers. These insights, paired with community and scientific knowledge, help to design more effective programs. These approaches are especially useful for organizations seeking to engage people in change initiatives.
The six principles of persuasion can be used to influence positive change. These strategies are rooted in the psychology of persuasion and the social contexts in which they are most effective. They can be applied to a variety of circumstances, such as marketing, public relations, and education.
Encourage consumption of socially desirable goods
Using social influence to encourage consumption of socially desirable goods can be an effective way to influence consumer behavior. While most approaches involve some form of rational argument, there are also emotional levers that can be effective. For instance, people are more likely to engage in a new behavior if they feel positive emotions about it. Similarly, consumers are more likely to make a commitment to a sustainable cause when they are given praise or public recognition for their support.
Companies can make it easier for consumers to become more environmentally responsible through their design features. For example, many restaurants in California no longer provide single-use plastic straws. Alternatively, companies can use incentives to encourage consumers to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. The most effective approach is to make a sustainable behavior the default option. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including making the sustainable behavior effortful and making it more evident.
A number of other studies have found that integrating sustainable consumption into a brand’s messaging has a powerful impact on consumers. For example, IKEA conducted a study of its sustainability journey among a core group of customers. They discovered that consumers who participated in the company’s campaign were more likely to save energy than those who did not. Other researchers have shown that promoting eco-friendly hand sanitizers and high-efficiency automobiles has similar effects.
Contribute to eradicating social ills
Whether social marketing is an appropriate strategy to help address social ills is a question of debate. The nature of the underlying issue and the political philosophy of practitioners both shape the way in which social marketers think. This in turn influences the information and resources that are used in social marketing programmes.
There are various versions of social marketing, ranging from behavioural marketing to public health to social enterprise. Each version has different paradigms. The language used in each can be important in a culture’s context. This can be especially true with regard to the relationship between business and society. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any social marketing program is dependent upon the creativity and resources that are invested.
Social marketing is also influenced by the knowledge of science in social change. This varies by organisation and individual. However, a basic understanding of science can be a critical factor in determining how to contribute to eradicating social ills. The US Department of Health and Human Services has recognized social marketing. This is due to its role in educating people about a health or welfare issue. In addition, the CDC has established quality guidelines for information dissemination.
The role of social marketing is not only to educate about an issue, but also to match programs to the right groups. For example, if a person’s livelihood is at stake, social marketing could coordinate a program that would provide financial management, personal safety, or employment opportunities. In the case of an anti-obesity campaign, for example, a program might reduce stigma, encourage healthy behaviours, and improve access to health care.
The key to success for social marketing programmes is to understand the information and resource needs of policymakers. This involves identifying their preferences for information and communication. Then, designing a program that meets these needs. This can be achieved through the use of a co-creative organization model, which identifies the need for management platforms and enables stakeholders to interact and reshape existing value networks. This can be especially effective in a community that has a history of ignoring social issues.
A number of governments have recognized social marketing. For example, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization have all acknowledged the practice.