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What is SOCIAL MARKETING? What does SOCIAL MARKETING mean? SOCIAL MARKETING meaning – SOCIAL MARKETING definition – SOCIAL MARKETING explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.
Social marketing seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with other approaches to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good. It seeks to integrate research, best practice, theory, audience and partnership insight, to inform the delivery of competition sensitive and segmented social change programs that are effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable.
Although “social marketing” is sometimes seen only as using standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals, this is an oversimplification. The primary aim of social marketing is “social good”, while in “commercial marketing” the aim is primarily “financial”. This does not mean that commercial marketers can not contribute to achievement of social good.
Increasingly, social marketing is being described as having “two parents”—a “social parent”, including social science and social policy approaches, and a “marketing parent”, including commercial and public sector marketing approaches. Recent years have also witnessed a broader focus in social marketing beyond the influences on and changing individual behaviour, to socio-cultural and structural influences on social issues. Consequently, social marketing scholars are beginning to advocate for a broader definition of social marketing, beyond behavioural change, which is equally concerned with the effects (efficiency and effectiveness) and the process (equity, fairness and sustainability) of social marketing programs.
Social marketing uses the benefits of doing social good to secure and maintain customer engagement. In social marketing the distinguishing feature is therefore its “primary focus on social good, and it is not a secondary outcome. Not all public sector and not-for-profit marketing is social marketing.
Public sector bodies can use standard marketing approaches to improve the promotion of their relevant services and organizational aims. This can be very important but should not be confused with social marketing where the focus is on achieving specific behavioral goals with specific audiences in relation to topics relevant to social good (e.g., health, sustainability, recycling, etc.). For example, a 3-month marketing campaign to encourage people to get a H1N1 vaccine is more tactical in nature and should not be considered social marketing. A campaign that promotes and reminds people to get regular check-ups and all of their vaccinations when they’re supposed to encourages a long-term behavior change that benefits society. It can therefore be considered social marketing.
As the dividing lines are rarely clear it is important not to confuse social marketing with commercial marketing. 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 use—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.
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.
Social marketing should not be confused with the societal marketing concept which was a forerunner of sustainable marketing in integrating issues of social responsibility into commercial marketing strategies. In contrast to that, social marketing uses commercial marketing theories, tools and techniques to social issues.
Social marketing applies a “customer oriented” approach and uses the concepts and tools used by commercial marketers in pursuit of social goals like anti-smoking campaigns or fund raising for NGOs.
Social marketers must create competitive advantage by constantly adapting to and instigating change. With climate change in mind, adaptations to market changes are likely to be more successful if actions are guided by knowledge of the forces shaping market behaviours and insights that enable the development of sustainable competitive advantages.