Social marketing 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 promote society's well being as a whole. Examples of social marketing include the use of campaigns to encourage people use seat belts, follow speed limits, or not to smoke in public.
Although "social marketing" is sometimes seen only as using standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals, this is an oversimplification. The primary aim 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", including social science and social policy approaches, and a "marketing parent", including commercial and public sector marketing approaches.
Health promotion campaigns in the late 1980s began applying social marketing in practice. Notable early developments took place in Australia. These included the Victoria Cancer Council developing its anti-tobacco campaign "Quit" (1988) and "SunSmart" (1988), its campaign against skin cancer which had the slogan "Slip! Slop! Slap!"
WorkSafe Victoria, a state-run occupational health and safety organization in Australia has used social marketing as a driver in its attempts to reduce the social and human impact of workplace safety failings. In 2006, it ran "Homecomings", a popular campaign that was later adopted in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, and named the 2007 Australian Marketing Institute Marketing Program of the Year.
On a wider front, by 2007, government in the United Kingdom announced the development of its first social marketing strategy for all aspects of health.
Social marketing theory and practice has been progressed in several countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and in the latter a number of key government policy papers have adopted a strategic social marketing approach. Publications such as "Choosing Health" in 2004, "It's our health!" in 2006 and "Health Challenge England" in 2006, represent steps to achieve a strategic and operational use of social marketing. In India, AIDS controlling programs are largely using social marketing and social workers are largely working for it. Most of the social workers are professionally trained for this task.
In the U.S. the Washington D.C.-based organization "Men Can Stop Rape" anti-rape movement have successfully used social marketing in posters and other media targeting a rape-prevention message at boys and young men.
A variation of social marketing has emerged as a systematic way to foster more sustainable behavior. Referred to as community-based social marketing (CBSM) by Canadian environmental psychologist Doug McKenzie-Mohr, CBSM strives to change the behavior of communities to reduce their impact on the environment. Realizing that simply providing information is usually not sufficient to initiate behavior change, CBSM uses tools and findings from social psychology to discover the perceived barriers to behavior change and ways of overcoming these barriers. Among the tools and techniques used by CBSM are focus groups and surveys (to discover barriers) and commitments, prompts, social norms, social diffusion, feedback and incentives (to change behavior). The tools of CBSM have been used to foster sustainable behavior in many areas, including energy conservation, environmental regulation  and recycling.
Other social marketing can be aimed at products deemed, at least by proponents, as socially unacceptable. One of the most notable is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) which for many years has waged social marketing campaigns against the use of natural fur products. The campaigns' efficacy has been subject to dispute.
Not all social marketing campaigns are effective everywhere. For example, anti-smoking campaigns such as World No Tobacco Day while being successful (in concert with government tobacco controls) in curbing the demand for tobacco products in North America and in parts of Europe, have been less effective in other parts of the world such as China, India and Russia. (See also: Prevalence of tobacco consumption)
Social marketing uses the benefits of doing social good to secure and maintain customer engagement. In social marketing the distinguishing feature is therefore its "primary focus on social good, and it is not a secondary outcome. Not all public sector and not-for-profit marketing is social marketing.
Public sector bodies can use standard marketing approaches to improve the promotion of their relevant services and organizational aims. This can be very important but should not be confused with social marketing where the focus is on achieving specific behavioral goals with specific audiences in relation to topics relevant to social good (e.g., health, sustainability, recycling, etc.). For example, a 3-month marketing campaign to encourage people to get a H1N1 vaccine is more tactical in nature and should not be considered social marketing. A campaign that promotes and reminds people to get regular check-ups and all of their vaccinations when they're supposed to encourages a long-term behavior change that benefits society. It can therefore be considered social marketing.
As the dividing lines are rarely clear it is important not to confuse social marketing with commercial marketing. A commercial marketer selling a product may only seek to influence a buyer to make a product purchase.
Social marketers—dealing with goals such as reducing cigarette smoking or encouraging condom use—have more difficult goals: to make potentially difficult and long-term behavioral change in target populations.
It is sometimes felt that social marketing is restricted to a particular spectrum of client—the non-profit organization, the health services group, the government agency.
These often are the clients of social marketing agencies, but the goal of inducing social change is not restricted to governmental or non-profit charitable organizations; it may be argued that corporate public relations efforts such as funding for the arts are an example of social marketing.
Social marketing should not be confused with the societal marketing concept which 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 oriented" 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.
In 2006, Jupitermedia announced its "Social Marketing" service, with which it aims to enable website owners to profit from social media. Despite protests from the social marketing communities over the hijacking[unbalanced opinion] of the term, Jupiter stuck with the name. However, Jupiter's approach is more correctly (and commonly) referred to as social media optimization. Another similar but different marketing approach is holistic marketing which also aims to benefit society, but through aligning the values and ethics of employees and owners of a company with their marketing goals, regardless of the product being marketed.
Many scholars ascribe the beginning of the field of social marketing to an article published by G.D. Wiebe in the Winter 1951-1952 edition of Public Opinion Quarterly. In it, Wiebe posed a rhetorical question: "Why can’t you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?” He then went on to discuss what he saw as the challenges of attempting to sell a social good as if it were a commodity, thus identifying social marketing (though he did not label it as such) as a discipline unique from commodity marketing.
A decade later, organizations such as the World Health Organization and the World Bank began sponsoring social-marketingesque interventions to improve family planning and achieve other social goals in Africa, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere.
The next milestone in the evolution of social marketing was the publication of "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change" in the Journal of Marketing by Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman. Kotler and Zaltman coined the term 'social marketing' and defined it as "the design, implementation, and control of programs calculated to influence the acceptability of social ideas and involving considerations of product planning, pricing, communication, distribution, and marketing research." They conclude that "social marketing appears to represent a bridging mechanism which links the behavior scientist's knowledge of human behavior with the socially useful implementation of what that knowledge allows."
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:
- 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—using 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 2005, University of Stirling was the first university to open a dedicated research institute to Social Marketing, while in 2007, Middlesex University became the first university to offer a specialized postgraduate programme in Health & Social Marketing.
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 behavioral 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 "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.
Many examples exist of social marketing research. For example, research now shows ways to reduce the intentions of people to binge drink or engage in dangerous driving. Martin, Lee, Weeks and Kaya (2013) suggests that understanding consumer personality and how people view others is important. People were shown ads talking of the harmful effects of binge drinking. People who valued close friends as a sense of who they are were less likely to want to binge drink after seeing an ad featuring them and a close friend. People who were loners or who did not see close friends important to their sense of who they were reacted better to ads featuring an individual. A similar pattern was shown for ads showing a person driving at dangerous speeds. This suggests ads showing potential harm to citizens from binge drinking or dangerous driving are less effective than ads highlighting a person’s close friends.
See also 
- Development communication
- Agenda-setting theory
- Health promotion
- Jay Winsten
- Financial literacy
- The Tipping Point
- National Social Marketing Centre 2006
- Truss, Aiden (2010). In Jeff French, Clive Blair-Stevens, Dominic McVey, Rowena Merritt. Social Marketing and Public Health: Theory and practice. Oxford University Press. p. 20.
- "VicHealth History: Major Events and Milestones". VicHealth. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
- "Work safety campaign gets AMI top honours". B&T. Reed Business Information. 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2007-11-03.
- UK Department of Health, Choosing Health: Making Healthy Choices Easier, Cmd.6374 2004.
- "CDC - CDCynergy (NCHM)". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- Neiger, Brad L.; Rosemary Thackeray; Michael D. Barnes; James F. McKenzie (2003). "Positioning Social Marketing as a Planning Process for Health Education". American Journal of Health Studies 18 (2/3): 75–81. Retrieved 2012-01-13.
- Michael J. Murphy, “Can ‘Men’ Stop Rape? Visualizing Gender in the ‘My Strength is Not for Hurting’ Rape Prevention Campaign,” Men & Masculinities 12, no.1 (Oct. 2009): 113-130.
- McKenzie-Mohr, D. (2000). Fostering sustainable behavior through community-based social marketing. American Psychologist, 55(5), 531-537.
- Schultz P. W., Nolan J. M., Cialdini R. B., Goldstein N. J., Griskevicius Vladas (2007). The Constructive, Destructive, and Reconstructive Power of Social Norms. Psychological Science, 18(5), 429-434.
- Kennedy, A. (2010). Using Community-Based Social Marketing Techniques to Enhance Environmental Regulation. Sustainability, 2(4), 1138-1160
- Haldeman, T. & Turner, J. (2009). Implementing a community-based social marketing program to increase recycling. Social Marketing Quarterly, 15(3), 114-127.
- Peek, Liz (November 21, 2006). "Warm Weather Torments City Furriers". New York Sun. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Andrei Fedyashin, [Opinion & Analysis: World No Tobacco Day, Futile Attempt to Curb Smoking. http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20090529/155119204.html], RiaNovosti (Russia), May 29, 2009
- Lefebvre, R. Craig (2006-08-30). "Hello Jupiter? Anyone Home?". On Marketing and Social Change. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- Schatsky, David (2006-09-01). "Social Marketing vs. Social Marketing". Jupiterresearch Analyst Weblogs. Jupitermedia. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- Wiebe, G.D. (1951-1952). "Merchandising Commodities and Citizenship on Television". Public Opinion Quarterly 15 (Winter): 679.
- Baker, Michael (2012). The Marketing Book. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 696.
- Kotler, Philip; Gerald Zaltman (July 1971). "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change". Journal of Marketing 36: 3–12.
- Lefebvre, R.C. & Flora, J.A. (1988). Social Marketing and Public Health Intervention (Portable Document Format). Health Education Quarterly; 15 (3): 300, 301.
- Lefebvre, R. Craig; June A. Flora (1988). "Social Marketing and Public Health Intervention" (Portable Document Format). Health Education Quarterly (John Wiley & Sons) 15 (3): 300, 301. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- Kotler, Philip, Ned Roberto and Nancy Lee. Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life, SAGE, 2002. (ISBN 0-7619-2434-5)
- Source: http://www.mdx.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/marketing/health_soc_marketing_ma.aspx
- Martin, Brett A. S., Christina K.C. Lee, Clinton Weeks and Maria Kaya (2013), "How to stop binge drinking and speeding motorists: Effects of relational-interdependent self-construal and self-referencing on attitudes toward social marketing ", Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 12, 81-90.
Further reading 
- Andreasen, Alan R. (October 1995). Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development, and the Environment. Jossey-Bass. ISBN 0-7879-0137-7.
- Harvey, Philip D. (1999). Let Every Child Be Wanted: How Social Marketing is Revolutionizing Contraceptive Use Around the World. Auburn House. ISBN 0-86569-282-3.
- Hastings, Gerard (July 2007). Social Marketing - Why Should the Devil Have All the Best Tunes?. Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 0-7506-8350-3.
- Kaplan Andreas M., Haenlein Michael (2009) The increasing importance of public marketing: Explanations, applications and limits of marketing within public administration, European Management Journal.
- Lee, Nancy; Philip Kotler (2011). Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good. ISBN 978-1412981491.
- McKenzie-Mohr, Doug; William Smith. Fostering Sustainable Behavior: An Introduction to Community-Based Social Marketing. ISBN 0-86571-406-1.
- Social Marketing Quarterly - www.socialmarketingquarterly.com
- Weinreich, Nedra Kline (October 2010). Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Change for Good (2nd Edition). Sage Publications. ISBN 0-7619-0867-6.
- Visual rhetoric in social campaigns
- International Social Marketing Association is the nonprofit membership association for those engaged or interested in social marketing.
- National Center for Health Marketing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- On Social Marketing and Social Change by Dr. R. Craig Lefebvre
- Social Marketing Institute (SMI) at Georgetown University
- National Social Marketing Centre (The NSMC) - social marketing resources, tools and online training.
- Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling
- The Advertising Industry's Commitment to Social Responsibility and Children's Health and Wellness - a 2005 symposium by the Advertising Educational Foundation
- Social Marketing Quarterly - an academic journal on social marketing
- Online Interventions for Social Marketing Health Behavior Change Campaigns
- DKT International - a non-profit organization working in family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing