What is social marketing?

Social marketing can be used to organize an event.

Social marketing is the use of advertising practices to effect good social change. Some examples include advertising campaigns aimed at getting people to stop smoking or marketing advertisements that encourage people to eat healthier foods. This type of marketing differs from business marketing in that it aims at positive social change, while business marketing aims at increasing financial benefit.

Social marketing is used by some professionals, as models, to be recognized.

Social marketing combines social policies and marketing practices to achieve defined social behavioral goals within a target audience. This marketing use was developed in the 1970s when two business advertisers, Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman, began using traditional marketing tools to sell behavioral concepts and practices rather than products. Business marketing tries to find out what problems consumers might have and then offers those products in a way that meets their perceived needs. Social marketing researches what problems the public or community may have and then seeks to determine what behavioral changes would be needed to remedy that problem. Health promotion is one of the biggest industries that uses this type of marketing, encouraging positive health choices among consumers, without offering a specific product. An example of a social marketing campaign promoting healthy choices would be advertising campaigns across Africa that encourage safe sex practices to stop the spread of AIDS.

Social marketing is used by companies to promote their image and win new customers.

The main objective of social marketing is usually to create positive social change; for example, not all non-profit marketing is necessarily considered social. Nonprofit marketing can have alternative goals outside of “good” social change, such as electing a political candidate or raising money for specific charities. This type of marketing may incorporate some social messages that promote positive social change, such as adapting to environmentally sound energy sources or raising awareness of the causes of cancer, but these messages may not constitute the main focus of the marketing campaign and therefore not would be considered social marketing.

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Social marketing can be used as an organizational tool by different groups.

Business marketing makes use of the marketing mix to establish a target audience and develop an effective campaign to reach that audience. This mix consists of identifying the so-called four Ps of marketing: product, price, place and promotion. Social marketing typically operates within these same parameters, putting behavior change in place of product. A social marketer usually first identifies the behavior that needs to be changed within the target audience. Next, the price an individual pays for behavior change is established, such as the potential for social embarrassment. The marketer would then identify which venues would be appropriate to advertise the need for this new type of behavior, and finally decide which promotional materials they could use to persuade consumers to change.

Social marketing can use social networking sites as a way for businesses to connect with customers.

Social marketing often works best when the price of behavioral changes is overshadowed by the benefits the target audience receives. New social policies and attitudes often compete with existing social attitudes, creating a behavioral trade-off for which social marketers must account when developing their marketing campaigns. Long-term social change typically occurs when policies are defined that correspond to the behavior change being affected or recommended. A highly effective tool that social marketers use to reach their target audience is the media. According to agenda-setting theory, the media can influence both the public agenda and the political agenda, persuading target audiences to switch to recommended good behavior and policymakers to enact new laws that enforce such behavior.

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