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Societal marketing

The societal marketing concept is an enlightened marketing concept

that holds that a company should make good marketing decisions by considering
consumers' wants, the company's requirements, and society's long-term
interests. It is closely linked with the principles of corporate social responsibility
and of sustainable development.The concept has an emphasis on social
responsibility and suggests that for a company to only focus on exchange
relationship with customers might not be suitable in order to sustain long term
success. Rather, marketing strategy should deliver value to customers in a way
that maintains or improves both the consumer's and the society's well-being.

Most companies recognize that socially responsible activities improve their

image among customers, stockholders, the financial community, and other
relevant publics. Ethical and socially responsible practices are simply good
business, resulting not only in favorable image, but ultimately in increased sales.

Early papers on the topic include those by William Lazer[1] and by Philip
Kotler and Sidney Levy.[2] The Journal of Marketing presented a comprehensive
discussion of societal marketing in July, 1971.

Societal marketing should not be confused with social marketing. The

societal marketing concept 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 orientated” 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.

History of social marketing

Social marketing began as a formal discipline in 1971, with the publication

of "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change" in the Journal of
Marketing by marketing experts Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman.

Craig Lefebvre and June Flora introduced [verification needed] social marketing
to the public health community in 1988, where it has been most widely used and
explored. They noted that there was a need for 'large scale, broad-based,
behavior change focused programs' to improve public health (the community
wide prevention of cardiovascular diseases in their respective projects), and
outlined eight essential components of social marketing that still hold today.

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They are:

⇓ A consumer orientation to realize organizational (social) goals

⇓ An emphasis on the voluntary exchanges of goods and services between

providers and consumers

⇓ Research in audience analysis and segmentation strategies

⇓ The use of formative research in product and message design and the
pretesting of these materials

⇓ An analysis of distribution (or communication) channels

⇓ Use of the marketing mix - utilizing and blending product, price, place and
promotion characteristics in intervention planning and implementation

⇓ A process tracking system with both integrative and control functions

⇓ A management process that involves problem analysis, planning,

implementation and feedback functions

Speaking of what they termed "social change campaigns," Kotler and Ned
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.In recent years there has been an
important development to distinguish between 'strategic social marketing' and
'operational social marketing'.

Much of the literature and case examples focus on 'operational social

marketing', using it to achieve specific behavioural goals in relation to different
audiences and topics. However there has been increasing efforts to ensure social
marketing goes 'upstream' and is used much more strategically to inform both
'policy formulation' and 'strategy development'.

Here the focus is less on specific audience and topic work but uses strong
customer understanding and insight to inform and guide effective policy and
strategy development.

1.What is Social marketing?

It is the systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts

and techniques, to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good.

Social marketing can be applied to promote merit goods, or to make a

society avoid demerit goods and thus to promote society's well being as a whole.

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For example, this may include asking people not to smoke in public areas,
asking them to use seat belts, or prompting to make them follow speed limits.
Although 'social marketing' is sometimes seen only as using standard
commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals, this
is an over-simplification.

The primary aims 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' = social sciences and social policy, and a 'marketing parent' =
commercial and public sector marketing approaches.

Beginning in the 1970s, it has in the last decade matured into a much more
integrative and inclusive discipline that draws on the full range of social sciences
and social policy approaches as well as marketing.

2.What is social marketing?

Social marketing is an approach used to achieve and sustain

behaviour goals on a range of social issues.

While definitions vary, three key elements commonly appear:

 Its primary aim is to achieve 'social good' (rather than commercial

benefit), with clearly defined behavioural goals.

 It is a systematic process phased to address short, medium and

long-term issues.

 It uses a range of marketing techniques and approaches (a

marketing mix). In the case of health-related social marketing, the
‘social good’ can be articulated in terms of achieving specific,
achievable and manageable behaviour goals for improving health
and reducing health inequalities.

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What are its key features?

The following features and concepts are key to understanding social

marketing. We have incorporated these into our ‘customer triangle’ model and
benchmark criteria.

Customer orientation - A strong customer orientation, with importance

attached to understanding where the customer is starting from, their knowledge,
attitudes and beliefs, and the social context in which they live and work.

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Behaviour and behavioural

• goals - A clear focus on understanding existing behaviour and key influences

upon it, alongside developing clear behavioural goals. These can be divided into
actionable and measurable stages, phased over time.

• Theory - Using behavioural theories to understand human behaviour, and to build

programmes around this understanding.

• Insight - Gaining a deep understanding and insight into what moves and
motivates people.

• ‘Exchange’ - Use of the ‘exchange’ concept – understanding what is being

expected of people, and the real cost to them.

• ‘Competition’ - Use of the ‘competition’ concept. This means understanding

factors that impact on people and compete for their time.

• 'Intervention mix' and 'marketing mix' - Using a mix of different interventions

or methods to achieve a behavioural goal. When used at the strategic level this is
referred to as the 'intervention mix'. When used operationally it is described as
the 'marketing mix'.

• Audience segmentation - Clarity of audience focus using segmentation to

target people effectively.

What are the key stages involved?

Social marketing has a number of key stages. The diagram below

summarises these in our Total ProcessPlanningmodel.

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Most of these stages will be familiar to anyone involved in project or programme

development. However, we highlight the importance of the scoping stage, which
needs to drive the process. The primary concern here is with establishing clear
actionable and measurable behaviour goals to ensure focused development
across the rest of the process.

The effectiveness of social marketing rests on whether it is possible to

demonstrate direct impact on behaviour. It is this feature that sets it apart from
other communication or awareness-raising approaches, where the main focus is
on highlighting information and helping people to understand it.

This model is being developed further by the NSMC to provide practical support
and tools to enable those applying this approach.

Why is social marketing important?

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The government White Paper, Choosing Health, set out a commitment to

improve the nation’s health by helping people to make healthier choices. Along
with the Wanless Report, it recognized that encouraging positive health
behaviour (and related behaviour change), can be complex and challenging. To
achieve this requires sustained and coordinated action across sectors and at all

While awareness-raising approaches to health communication are

important, it is increasingly recognized that these on their own are unlikely to
achieve the improvement in health and reduction in health inequalities required
in the government's PSA targets.

Social marketing was, therefore, specifically highlighted in the white paper

as an important and under-used approach that had real potential to enhance and
make a significant contribution to both national and local work.

"The cross-government white paper therefore announced the

commissioning of a major review of social marketing and work on establishing
the first national social marketing strategy for health."

This focus on social marketing recognizes that while there have been
some important and positive examples of social marketing work in this country,
we have not been fully realising the potential of the approach. And in relation to
some countries (such as Canada, America and Australia), we are under-
developed in this area.

Now that the white paper commitment has been achieved and our
independent review report it’s our health! Has been produced, the Department
of Health has accepted the basis of its findings and is working on its strategic
response to implement its recommendations. One part of this will be agreeing
resources and a new work programme for the NSMC to follow up and help build
capacity and skills in social marketing across the country.

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