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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Social Marketing-Is It The Way to Go?

Social marketing is an approach to marketing with a systematic application that has other techniques and concepts that are applied. It can both promote goods and cater for providing society with knowledge of avoiding defective goods. Social marketing versus commercial marketing has social good and not financial aims.

Commercial marketers can contribute toward social good achievements. The main aim of social marketers is to influence behaviors on a social level and not for marketer‘s benefits. These techniques were mainly used for the purpose of health programs as well as diverse topics ranging from heart disease to drug abuse and organ donation.

In the 1980′s, there existed health campaigns that used social marketing. By 2007 the United Kingdom Government announced this marketing strategy for all health aspects. Several countries progressed with the theory and practice of social marketing including Canada, the United States, Australia, UK and New Zealand.

Social marketing has a wide range of benefits of social good for the securing and maintenance of customer engagement. Standard marketing strategies by the public sector institutions improve promotion of relevant services as well as aims of their organizations. While commercial marketers sell products and then seek ways to influence buyers to purchase the products; whereas social marketers deal with goals like cigarette smoking reduction or encouraging the use of condoms, and have difficult challenges of inducing behavioral change on a long term. Social marketing is usually restricted to specific spectrum’s of clients such as non-profit and charity organizations, health service groups and government agencies. Art funding structures also fall within social sector of marketing.

An approach which is “customer oriented”; with usage of tools and concepts, are utilized by commercial marketers for pursuance of social goals, such as campaigns for anti-smoking, or NGO fundraising, is used. Social marketing was initiated in 1971, and thereafter, introduced to public health communities in the year 1988. The public health sectors noted the need for behavioral change requirements on a large scale for the improvement of public health.

There are essentially eight concepts existing. They include; realizing social goals, goods exchanging on a voluntary basis between consumers and providers, and researching segmentation strategies and audience analysis using formative research in message and product design, as well as pre-testing materials. Additionally include distribution channels analysis. Marketing mix tools for plan and implementation of price, product and promotion. It should have a tracking system process that integrates and controls functions. Another element required is a process of management involving analysis of problem, implementation, planning and functions of feedback.

Recent years have seen important developments of distinguishing between marketing that is strategic social and operational social. Case examples and literature focus mainly on marketing on an operational social level for achieving behavioral goals. Increased efforts are on the rise for the ensuring of upstream social marketing.
This goes with strategic methods of informing strategy on strategy development and policy formulation.The focus is far less on specific audiences; but on effective customer insight and it works. Social marketing is based on understanding and is used as a guide to inform effective policy and development of strategy.

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