Social marketing is a form of marketing in which, it is aimed at developing or changing people’s behavior for the sole purpose of benefitting the individuals and the society as a whole. It is majorly an approach rather than a concept. The need of combining the social sciences with the marketing techniques leads to social marketing. Social marketing is a tool which is proven and is used for influencing the behavior in a very sustainable and cost-reducing way. Social marketing helps in deciding which people to work with, how to measure it, how to channelize the behavior to influence and the tools to enhance it. When the ‘social good’ meets the ‘commercial marketing’ it leads to social marketing. Social marketing tends to develop and integrate the concepts which are widely used in marketing procedures and some other approaches, for influencing the behaviors. It seeks to integrate research, best practice, and theory as well as audience and partnership insight. Social marketing is presumably said to have two parents – ‘social parent’, which includes social science and the approaches related to social policy and secondly a ‘marketing parent’ which includes public sector marketing and commercial marketing altogether. The marketing has evolved naturally from a one-dimensional reliance which was prominent in the public service announcements to a much advanced and sophisticated mode of approach which initially draws out from the majorly successful techniques used extensively by the commercial marketers. The 1970s was the time when the social marketing got its launching pad. ‘Consumer’ term got evolved into a depth research and constant re-evaluation of every aspect which was necessary for the program. Social marketing adds some ‘Ps’ in the marketing mix’s collection of ‘P’.
It is not necessarily a physical product in the social marketing. It includes tangible as well as practices which can be labeled as products. It can also include services provided and intangible ideas presented. For giving a viable product, the consumer must first perceive and identify their genuine problem which the product can fulfill. Research work behind this is very necessary to discover the consumer’s needs and perception about the particular product or the service.
‘Price’ here refers to what the consumer must pay to abstain the product which is offered in the social marketing. The cost indicated may be monetary or exchange with some other intangible or tangible items. Time or effort can also be included here. If a situation arises such that the cost outweighs the overall benefit which the consumer gets from the product, then the consumer might develop a perception about the product which is negative. On the other hand, if the benefits outweigh the price, then it is the solitary part about the product resulting in positivity related towards the product from the customer. The setting of the price is very crucial. If a product’s price is set too low, the consumer may think of it being a lower quality product. On the other hand, if the price of the product is set too high, the consumer might not be able to afford it. So, the pricing must be set with good thought processing and knowledge. These perceptions of costs and benefits can be determined through research and used in positioning the product.
The place is very crucial as it determines how the product will reach to the consumer. If it’s the case of a tangible product, then warehouses, trucks and sales force come into work. If it is an intangible product, the place is not that important but the quality of preservice of the product matters. The accessibility and service delivery offering also comes in question. The marketers and researchers determine the distribution and storage factors as per the consumers’ availability and satisfaction.
The last ‘P’ is about the promotion of the product. If the product’s visibility in the market and in front of the consumers is good then it is easier to sell the product. Due to visibility, promotion is often mistaken to be the whole of social marketing. But as we have seen earlier, it’s just one of the pieces of the whole social marketing. Promotion basically consists of the integrated use of public relations, advertising, promotions, and media advocacy for the increased visibility of the product to the consumer. Personal selling and entertainment vehicles are also a part of this promotion. The main focus here is to sustain the goodwill of the brand in the market or industry. One important thing is the research work here. Good and sound research work leads to good promotion on different levels. Research helps in identifying the most effective and efficient vehicles for reaching the target audience and increase the demand naturally.
Social marketers have the variance of different audience groups with their program. Their program has to reach as well as address the audience in a fully understandable way, so as to succeed. ‘Public’ is referred to both internal groups in a company as well as the external groups of a company. Target audience, policymakers, shareholders, gatekeepers, etc. are part of the external publics of a company, whereas internal publics are those who are involved directly with the company like the board of directors and employees.
Both social and health issues are important to look after, but one agency can’t make any difference to that. The agencies need to team up with other agencies or organizations to be really effective. The organizations which have the similar goal or objective are more helpful. The identification of ways is necessary.
Social marketing is very much helpful in motivating the behaviors of individuals in the external publics as well as the internal publics. But it is also not that easy to sustain that particular behavior. The environment needs to support the change for the sake of long run. The policy change is often needed and also the programs related to media advocacy. They can be an effective complement to the social marketing program.
Most of the organizations and agencies develop social marketing programs, which can be operated through initial funding which is provided by various sources such as the government funds, foundations, donations or grants. This helps in adding another dimension to the strategy development of the agency.
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