The importance of Social Marketing

What is Social Marketing – First, let’s define what Social Marketing is not. Social marketing is not Social Media Marketing. Social Marketing is not non-profit marketing. This last one is based on the creation of fundraising campaigns in order to get financial support and trying to get people to act in a certain way in order to get funds or volunteer for the company/organization.

Social Marketing is a marketing practice that serves the purpose to achieve social goods.

What does it mean? While traditional marketing aims to modify consumers’ behaviour in order to achieve a benefit that can be economical or in terms of brand image, social marketing aims to work together with people and society to improve their life. It is about the co-creation of new habits and a new environment that helps people to improve their life or maintain positive behaviour.

It can be done by governments in order to promote healthier behaviour but also by private companies that want to bring a positive change in society.

It is an approach that combines theories, concepts, and techniques from social sciences and traditional marketing with the intent of promoting changes of attitudes and/or behaviours through marketing communication and co-creation in individuals or in society.

How it works – Social marketing is an approach used to develop activities aimed at changing or maintaining people’s behaviour for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole. Combining ideas from commercial marketing and the social sciences, social marketing is a proven tool for influencing behaviour in a sustainable and cost-effective way.

Social Marketing could be a campaign that aims to increase the number of people that are going to get a vaccine by working around their values and habits and understanding what are the barriers (physical and psychological) that stop them from getting vaccinated.

Another great example could be trying to understand what is preventing people from using the seatbelt and what could make the act of using the seatbelt more attractive to them. In regard to this issue, Volvo has developed a campaign focused on the attractiveness of using seatbelt through some fashion pictures.

Social Marketing is not about telling people what to do or do not and how to behave but is more about making things more attractive to them removing the physical and psychological barriers and giving a different perspective.

Why it is important – It is a profession for helping people to do something or act in a certain way that would benefit them and the society they are immersed in. It could be about many different topics, recycling, quit smoking, asking for psychological support, ask the community to participate in social activities, anything that is about improving or maintaining a high standards of life. It is about listening to people and changing the request based on what they want. Making things easy, fun, and popular.

It is not about scaring people and telling them what NOT to do. It is about giving a better alternative, something to say yes to. Understanding who people are and creating products and services that meet their needs. It changes the context in which people are immersed and giving them an alternative.

Social Marketing is a marketing tool that has an effect not only on the people that are targeted by a campaign but also on the whole society making it a better place and improving everyone’s quality of life. Social Marketing involves everybody.


Author: Valentina Bevilacqua

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