Social marketing

From ArticleWorld

Social marketing is marketing for social change by influencing either the adopting or abandoning of ideas, practices or behaviour. It uses much the same techniques as are used in advertising products but instead of targeting the household budget, it targets attitudes.

Social marketing strategies are used mostly by non-profit organizations, health organizations and government agencies but corporations involved in public relations may also use the techniques.


In 1971, the book “Social Marketing” was published and so began the use of approach as a formal discipline. Beginning with a list of sad statistics about teenage smoking, cancer, infants born with fetal alcohol syndrome and so on, the book goes on to advocate social marketing strategies to initiate social change. The aim of the authors is to improve health, prevent injuries, protect the environment and contribute to the community.

Difficult goals

It is in achieving such goals that the difficulty lies. An advertiser selling a product can exploit the fact that the reward is immediate and obvious whereas in changing behaviour the rewards are in the future and perhaps not evident until after our death, as in the case of environmental protection. Many targets of social marketing indulge in addictive behaviour such as smoking, drinking alcohol and taking drugs – and trying to get them to stop would not be as easy as selling a chocolate bar.