Negative social marketing campaigns that warn about consequences are also effective, whether the consequences are personal, such as drug use, or general, such as saving the rainforests. Awareness is the key element for negative social marketing. For example, most people had no idea that the plastic shopping bags they throw away every day make their way into natural environments, where they're deadly to wildlife such as sea turtles and dolphins. Several social marketing campaigns have been created to bring this issue to light, and today many people shop with reusable cloth bags, or choose paper over plastic.
For public sector agencies, social marketing is often used as a way to encourage people to follow rules and regulations, and practice general safe behaviors. For example, police departments campaign with slogans such as “Buckle up for life” and “Click it or ticket” to encourage people to wear their seat belts—showing either the positive rewards for this action (saving lives) or the negative consequences for ignoring the law (getting a traffic ticket).
Courses like qualitative and quantitative research help professionals prepare for the intensive research that goes into creating social marketing campaigns. Research is a key element for success in social marketing, and with a strong understanding of the different techniques for researching an issue, it's easier to find and use the necessary information.
In developing a consensus definition of Social Marketing iSMA, ESMA and AASMworking group acknowledged the dynamic and contested nature of elements of Social Marketing theory and practice as a strength and manifestation of the sophisticated nature of the Social Marketing field. In developing a consensus definition the intention was not to close down the helpful and inevitable on-going debate about the nature and focus of Social Marketing. The aim was to help build a common narrative that could be used by the supporting associations to promote Social Marketing as a valuable core component of social programmes aimed at improving the human condition.
Before we discuss social marketing further, however, it's important to have a grasp on the principles of commercial marketing, since that is what it's based on. As community health workers, or members of non-profit organizations, the idea might seem a bit odd. We're used to a completely different mindset. Terms like "marketing" may conjure up images of big business and corporate greed; they certainly don't make us think of programs to try to help our neighbors.
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