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Saturday, March 12, 2011

The principles and use of Social Marketing

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. 
                                                                      Tom Brokaw

I recently came across the term social marketing and since I had no idea what it was I decided to research a little bit about it and I found really interesting things. So let me share them with you. Social marketing was “born” when people realized that the marketing principles that are applied in order to sell products, can also be applied for selling ideas and attitudes. Social marketing has as a goal to change social behaviors and not to benefit the sales of a product or a service. If you still find  hard to understand what social marketing is, let me make it simpler for you. For example, if you want to convince people to wear their seat belts or in more complex occasions to make more people become organ donors, then social marketing is your ultimate tool.
A very important aspect of social marketing is of course the audience. It is very important to know what it wants and needs. In contrast with traditional marketing, the product is not consumer goods but  ranges from services and practices to even more abstract ideas like the protection of the environment. As you can understand research is vital. Sometimes people find hard to understand that they have a problem. Social marketing practitioners should make people understand this problem and encourage them to take action. Sounds tricky right?
To make it more clear I found the case of condom social marketing which was emerged in the 80’s in order to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in many countries. The program focused on raising awareness of the risks of infection and how to prevent it as well as focusing in high-risk groups. What this means is that condoms became easily accessible and “destigmatized”.

Social marketing programs can motivate people change behavior but as you probably understand that is not enough. Sometimes there is an immediate need for change of policy or even laws. The procedure of accomplishing  such goals is complicated and time-consuming  and of course  funds are needed  from  foundations, government grants or donations. Social marketing needs a key strategy that focuses on the audience and plans according to the needs of it. Despite being a very difficult task, the benefits of it have a huge impact in the well-being of society and the way we understand the world.

1 comment:

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