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A lot of work and behind-the-scenes planning goes into developing an effective social marketing campaign. Naturally, the first step is to identify the behavior that the campaign will aim to change (such as using too many plastic shopping bags). The marketing team does a lot of research on the behavior by looking at existing statistics and often performing surveys to find out how prevalent it is.
Smokey Bear and his admonition, "Only you can prevent forest fires," when seen alone on T.V., are again just an advertisement. But taken in context of all of the work done by the U.S. Forestry Service, the result that emerges is a social marketing campaign. Smokey is trying to change a particular behavior (being careless with fire); his message is targeted at a specific audience (six to ten year olds), and information he provides (on commercials, on the Internet and elsewhere) overcomes two major barriers to children being careful with fire: ignorance and also the scientific, "it's no fun" barrier. Further, the message is supported with information provided to parents at the campsites, making it more likely they will provide reinforcement to the message. That's social marketing. It uses targeted marketing, reinforcement, and it reduces barriers--three key elements missing from the two examples above.

This campaign was created by the New York City-based nonprofit organization Partnership for a Drug-Free America, known today as Partnership at Drugfree.org. The spot has been copied, quoted, and spoofed countless times since, and still lives on today as one of the most memorable and effective examples of social marketing—a specialized form of advertising that aims not to sell products, but to change the world.


There’s no avoiding it: internet marketing is critical for the success of your business in 2018. But with all the gimmicks and tricks, it can be difficult to distinguish short-term wins from effective long-term strategies, which is why we’ve created an ultimate guide. Here, we’ll cover everything from marketing strategies to real-world examples, to ensure your business reaches the right people out of that four billion.

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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