Social Marketing

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Definition: Social Marketing

Social marketing is the use of marketing to bring a social change in the society. Social marketing can be used for achieving specific behavioral goals from the society by using various marketing & advertising tools. Social marketing is the use of marketing and its techniques as a tool not to benefit in monetary terms to the business but the general public at large. The causes for which social marketing has been used cover environmental issues, health, safety, ethics, law, human rights, peace etc. which benefit the society as a whole.


Importance of Social Marketing

Social marketing originated in 1970’s when Philip Kotler realized that the effective techniques of marketing & advertising which can alter the buying behavior of people can be used for social good by influencing sustainable behavior of the society. Organizations also use the social marketing techniques to gather donations for the causes of benefit. Effective images, audio, video and other tools are used to influence the emotions of the potential donors and generate donations. This kind of social marketing can be used to reduce smoking habits, use of seat belts, use of helmets while driving, focusing on cleanliness, how to have basic healthcare etc. When done for a charitable cause, it is known as causal marketing.

Social marketing works towards achieving certain objectives such as educating the society about some particular topic, creating awareness, providing solution, influencing practices, highlighting prevailing problems, awareness about welfare schemes and propaganda of social organizations. Negative social marketing campaigns which make the public aware about the problems are also very effective such as using images of mouth cancer and ulcers on smoking packs in India with the aim for reducing the consumption of smoking. The basic human nature is to do well to the nature and the society and social marketing plays on those emotions to resurrect the thoughts and emotions of doing good towards the society. It uses various statistical tools to forecast and analyses demand and consumption patterns of certain products and services, uses the experts review to design the marketing strategy for the campaigns, uses public funds to be used and has relevant cost analysis and return on investment in terms of behavior influence and uses media tools to broadcast the message to the public.

Social marketing should not be confused with social media marketing as both the marketing concepts are entirely different. Social marketing is solely for the purpose of nonprofit while social media might or might not be used for monetary benefits.

Social Marketing


Steps & Process for Social Marketing

The steps & processes for having a social marketing campaign are:

1. Identification of goal for social cause

2. Target audience definition for social marketing

3. Creating of message & channels be used

4. Event, activities, seminars etc to be used in social marketing

5. Implementation of activities & events

6. Evaluation of effectiveness & improving goals


Examples of Social Marketing

There can be several examples of social marketing, which help in working for a social cause. Some examples are:

1. The social marketing campaign of giving up the subsidy on LPG cylinders by the Indian citizens who are capable of affording at retail prices to benefit the people who cannot pay. Those subsidies would be added to the schemes of social benefit by the Indian government.

2. Prominent examples of social marketing include the environmental and biodiversity preservation campaigns by the WWF. It replaced the tissue dispensers in the washrooms and implanted an African map. The white tissues were replaced with green tissues and with each tissue paper being used, the level of green cover of African forest was depleting. This type of interactive marketing approaches helps in setting the behavior of the people and making them aware of the underlying problems.

3. An NGO can use social marketing for reducing smoking habits in the society, this can be done by spreading awareness through bill boards, hoardings, pamphlets, seminars etc.

Hence, this concludes the definition of Social Marketing along with its overview.

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