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How do you change the attitudes and behaviors of people? From TED talks to motivational videos to punishment, there are many ways of doing this. But did you know that even marketing can serve the same purpose? Social marketing is a type of marketing that aims to do this.

Let us start by first learning that social marketing is not the same as social media marketing. The addition of the word ‘media’ completely changes the concept. The problem is that even google cannot differentiate between both and it shows you results for social media marketing if you simply search for social marketing.

Social Marketing aims to plan and develop activities that can change the behaviour of people for their benefit and for the benefit of society as a whole. But we know how difficult it is to change one person, let alone the entire society. But the right kind of message can strike at the right spot to bring about change.

Is social marketing intended towards selling a product or service? Well yes, but the product sold here is actually human behaviour. It aims at creating well-being for society as a whole.

Who uses social marketing?

This includes anyone who wishes for societal well-being. This includes:

  • Government Agencies

  • Non-Profit Organizations

  • Charity Foundations

  • Health, Fire and Police Departments

  • Emergency Services like ambulances

Who constitutes the target audience?

The target audience need not be the entire society in all cases. Social marketing can also be targeted towards a section of society.

Sometimes negative campaigns might be employed to indicate that consequences can be personal. For example, a campaign targeted towards saving rain forests since climate change has a direct impact on humans.

What constitutes an effective social marketing strategy?

1. Knowledge of customers

Like any marketing campaign, it is very important to know your customers well. Conducting surveys and holding conversations can help understand how your audience perceives the problem and how receptive they are towards the solution.

For your campaign to be effective, your audience should be aware of the “price” they have to pay. Here, price refers to the amount of time, difficulty and emotional cost that people would incur to make a shift.

2. Triggering emotions and actions

Once you’ve understood your audience, the next step is to design your campaign with powerful slogans and visuals. A picture that speaks a thousand words is always better than any description.

3. Picking the right channel for communication

If you want your campaign to reach your target audience, you should choose an appropriate medium or channel like video, television, banners, posters, digital newsletters, brochures etc.

Social Marketing is a powerful tool that can induce change in people for the greater good. With numerous channels that are available today, communicating the message has become easier. However, a good understanding of the concept, the message itself and the target audience is important to devise a great campaign.

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