Thursday, December 14, 2017

Socialization - A Modern Marketing Strategy

Social marketing was established as a discipline when marketing experts Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman, in the 1970s, realized that principles of marketing to sell consumer products can also be used to sell ideas and attitudes or behaviors. Social marketing then is the planning and the implementation of certain programs, which are designed to promote social change with the use of proven commercial marketing concepts and techniques.

Social marketing in the form of health promotion campaigns started in the late 1980s when it was introduced by Craig Lefebvre and June Flora. The early practice on the structure or framework of social marketing in health promotion notably took place in Australia where Victoria Cancer Council developed an anti-tobacco campaign and campaign against skin cancer.

The technique of influencing social behaviors to benefit the target audience or the general society and not the marketer has been extensively used in international health programs. Such technique is especially being used frequently in the United States, like contraceptives and oral rehydration therapy (ORT). Social marketing is also used to address issues like Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and breast cancer screening all throughout the world.

Social marketing is distinguished with any other management approaches by these six principles: (1) the framework of the concept of management is used to design behavioral change interventions; (2) the recognition of competition; (3) consumer orientation; (4) understanding consumer’s desires and needs through formative research; (5) partitioning of population and deliberation of the selective target audience; and (6) continuous monitoring and revision of help tactics in the program to achieve desired outcome.

Like commercial marketing, social marketing takes the planning process by focusing on the consumer and, thus, addresses the elements of the marketing mix. Marketing mix refers to the decisions about the product, the price, the place, and the promotion. These are often called the “Four Ps”. How the marketing mix in traditional marketing differs from that of social marketing is described below.

• Product – This is not a tangible item; social marketers sell behaviors in particular. These behaviors are those what people don’t usually want to do (e.g. conserve water, exercise, etc.).
• Price – costs in social and emotional price is considered much more than the monetary cost.
• Place – the need to provide the target audiences of the opportunity to learn about the product and act on the behavior at a time and a place they are comfortable of doing so.
• Promotion – creative ways to convey the products to those hard-to-reach populations including those who may be low-income or uninterested in making any positive changes in their lives.

Furthermore, social marketing added a few P’s, which include publics, partnership, policy, and purse strings.

• Publics – refers to different audiences being addressed to with the programs. It refers to both the internal groups – people who are either involved in the approval and/or implementation of the program and the external groups (e.g. target audience, policymakers, gatekeepers, secondary audiences) involved in the program.
• Partnership – refers to team up with other organizations in the community which has similar goals as yours where complex issues can be effectively addressed.
• Policy – motivating of individuals in the sustenance of behavior change along with the environment they are in. The intervention of public policy is one of the neglected areas of social marketing. A line has been drawn between marketing and regulation, where arguments state that marketing stops to where policies and regulations begin. More often than not, change in policy is needed.
• Purse Strings – provision of funds by sources, like foundations, donations, and/or government grants.

It has been perceived that social marketing is the next edge in Internet marketing. With online customer interaction in online businesses, social marketing is the way beyond integrating the marketer into his online community. These include: participation in forums; leaving comments in people’s writings to be made known; helping potential customers; interacting with colleagues in the industry; adding opportunities for prospective customers in the personalization of their experience in the site.  There is also a down side regarding privacy for all of this.  If a company is interested in hiring someone they can hire a pre-employ company to research all the candidates social media on the Internet.

There are many other things to consider before jumping on to the social marketing bandwagon. Foremost, one must consider that in social marketing, only 20% is marketing; the other 80% is social.