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Social Marketing
Effecting Social Change
Chapters 1-2 Kotler&Roberto Social Marketing
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The Nature and Role of Social Campaigns

Glenn Gumulka, a Masters of Environmental Studies student AND a graduated MBA who works for Procter and Gamble, will come to speak to us about Social Marketing. Find at the end of this page Glenn's list of sources, to which he makes reference in his talk and more

You also should check out Glenn's website on sustainable living, a project which made up a good part of his final paper for his Masters in Environmental Studies degree.

"A social change campaign is an organized effort conducted by one group (the change agent) which intends to persuade others (the target adopters) to accept, modify, or abandon certain ideas, attitudes, practices, and behaviour." (Kotler & Roberto 1989:6)

Change Agent is the person or persons or organization setting out to change something

Target Adopter is what in traditional Marketing we call the "target market", whose behaviour or thinking the change agent is trying to change. We are usually asking the target adopters to do one of three things with respect to the social issue: 

Action Example
Accept  to accept that that people who suffer from AIDS are just as deserving of treatment with dignity as those with any other disease
Modify to not overeat; to not drink while driving. Note we don't ask to abandon eating or drinking, just to do it in moderation or not in certain circumstances
Abandon to quit smoking, littering, abusing children - anything which just should not be done at any time (in the mind of the change agent; these are almost always value judgments)

Most social issues are a combination of idea, attitude, practice, and behaviour, but in each case one of those will be primary. In these examples, remember that different people will have different perceptions of what is foremost, but the list should give you a general idea of the differences: 

Example: people with AIDS deserve fair treatment
Almost every social marketing concept involves an idea at some level. But while the concept that people with AIDS deserve equal treatment involves one's attitude toward the disease and might involve certain practices and long-term behaviours, we are primarily marketing an IDEA 
Attitude Example: Gays are people too
One's attitude toward gays involves the idea that they are equals, and such practices as hiring them without discrimination as to their sexual orientation, and behaviours such as treating them like anyone else in any instance from casual eye contact in the street to inviting them to your home. But the main thing we are marketing here is ATTITUDE
Practice Example: Recycling
Practice and Behaviour are difficult to differentiate, and it is perhaps ultimately on a moral ground on which we do it. Practice involves something you do regularly, customarily, habitually (to quote Webster). Recycling involves the idea of not wasting and the attitude that the earth is sacred, but mostly in marketing the concept of recycling we are marketing a PRACTICE. You also may label as Practice something which you wish your target adopter to do for a short period of time, such as writing to one's MP (as opposed to behaviour which involves doing something longer-term)  
Behaviour The most difficult to define, behaviour is really how we conduct our lives in solidarity and accord with societal norms and our own deeply held beliefs. Any of these examples - AIDS, Gay Rights, Recycling, may become a behaviour as one becomes fully committed to the concept and integrates it into their life

Social marketers reach their target market in pretty much the same way that traditional marketers do - through Channels of Communication and of Distribution, and they effect change through the same process that P&G uses to sell soap - Marketing Strategy. 

Examples of Social Marketing Campaigns through History (from Kotler/Roberto)

Why do you think the column on the right is longer? 
slavery women's right to vote
debtor's prisons vaccinations
child labour constitution
alcohol and drugs food & drug quality
drinking and driving nutrition & fitness
cholesterol safe water
AIDS clean air
smoking preservation of parks
littering adult literacy
  improvement of schools
  getting kids to study math
  merit pay for teachers
  revitalizing old cities
  boosting job skills
  attracting investors
  safe driving
  oral re-hydration
  family planning
For any of these campaigns, decide: 
Who is the change agent? 
Who are the target adopters? 
Are you asking people to accept, modify, or abandon what they are currently doing?  
Is the issue an idea, attitude, practice, or behaviour?

Why Do Information Campaigns Often Fail?

In a recent scandal over tainted water that killed 7 people in the Ontario town of Walkerton, can you identify/describe the following characters? 
Chronic Know-Nothings
All of us care about our water supply, but most of us are pretty ignorant about the water purification process
Lack of Interest
Who is this person and why is s/he so disinterested in the water issue?
Avoiding Unpleasant Information
How does this person react to the problem? Who is it? What person in what kind of role? 

Interpreting Information Differently
Think about two different people in the case and how they would interpret information differently; perhaps a mother of a new-born and the overworked supervisor looking for a quick solution

What Dilutes Mass Media Impact?

Apathetic, Defensive, or Ignorant Audience
The Message is Not Sufficiently Motivating
Message is Placed in Inappropriate Media
Provides No Way To Respond Constructively

What Makes a Successful Social Marketing Campaign? 
From the perspective of the social change agent



It helps if you hold a monopoly on the airwaves and there is not a lot out there contrary to your message. Just as it is easier to sell your brand of soap if you're the only soap manufacturer advertising on a half hour show, it is easier to reach magazine readers with the message about not smoking, now that magazines are forbidden to carry smoking ads

It helps if previous work in the same area has carved a path for your issue. For a long time, too many people took the issue of Drinking and Driving too lightly; efforts were hindered by the fact that no one had really brought the issue to the attention of the public. Once MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) started their campaign, other campaigns became easier. This term canalization comes from the concept that it is easier to sail your boat across the land if a canal has been dug.

It helps if you have help. It's easier to conduct a social change campaign if mass media efforts are supplemented by face-to-face and word-of-mouth communication 

From the perspective of the target adopter

Intensity of commitment is greater if a person is already pre-disposed toward the message; once you reach them, make the message as stimulating as possible
Knowing how and where to respond to the campaign's message
Having an actual agency, office, or retail outlet to which to go
Adequacy and Compatibility
Finding the agency able to do its job
Feeling that the effort put forth is going to be worth the end result

As the change agent you must reduce the distance the target adopter must travel; not only physically, as in the case of a recycling centre, but psychologically, as in convincing them it is their problem

It's harder to sell an idea than a bar of soap because of

Situation Involvement
Do your target adopters care about your issue?
Enduring Involvement
Will they keep caring?
Is it going to be personally worthwhile to them?
If it costs too much in money or effort
they may not want to do it
Benefit/Cost Relationship
Can they see a tangible result?
something that makes their effort worthwhile?
Pre-existing Demand
Is it something that everyone already wants? 
(clean water should be)
Are you reaching the right groups with the right marketing message?


A Successful Project
Thinking now about the social issue for your final exam substitute project, how do each of these apply? 
Monopolization, Canalization, Supplementation
Force, Direction, Mechanism, Adequacy, Distance
Situation Involvement, Enduring Involvement, Benefits, Benefit/Cost Relationship, Preexisting Demand, Segmentation

Stages of Social Marketing Campaigns

Crusade a few go-getters with enough charisma and energy to get others motivated start out to change something
Popular Campaign the idea takes off and others begin to support it
Managerial all those "others" need to be coordinated and organized
Bureaucratic it becomes more like a regular business


Types of Causes & Why They Fail

Types of Causes Why They Fail
Furnishing new information/raising awareness  lack of research
wrong media
inadequate budget
Persuade maximum number of people to change time
Induce people to change for their own well-being mass communication is not enough:
need interpersonal connections
Alter deeply felt beliefs or values threatens sense of identity and well-being
Change Strategies - Quitting Smoking

Technological Product Modification Technology - reduce level of carcinogens
Product Substitution Technology - worry beads
Product Innovation Technology - smoker's morning-after pill
Economic Tobacco subsidies issue
Political/Legal Laws restricting tobacco
Educational School programmes re: ills of tobacco
Social Marketing Putting it all together

The Social Marketing Approach To Social Change

Starting the Project
Thinking about a social change campaign you may wish to use for your final exam substitute project, do the following
Social Product
Regarding your Social Marketing Plan product: 
s it an idea? If so, 
is it a belief, attitude, or value?
Is it a practice? If so,
is it an act or a behaviour?
Or is it a tangible object? If so, what?
Target Adopter Group
For the target adopter, list the 
          Socio-Demographic Characteristics
          Psychological Profile
          Behavioural Characteristics
Influence Holding Groups
List the 
          Permission-Granting Groups
          Support Groups
          Opposition Groups
          Evaluation Groups  
Social Change Management Technology
        What need is not being met or met well enough?
        What will be involved in positioning your idea?
        If it is a tangible product, where will you sell it?
        What personal service might be involved? 
        What changes might you have to make
             as the campaign progresses?  
Social Marketing Management Process
List three broad objectives for your social marketing campaign and for each one an example of a kind of behaviour you want to see in your target adopters 


Glenn Gumulka's List of References

Check out Glenn's website on sustainable living

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     Shambhala, 1997.
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Gardner Gary. "Escaping Hunger, Escaping Excess". Worldwatch July/August 2000. pp. 24-35.
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Hanh, Tich Nhat. Present Moment Wonderful Moment: Mindfulness Verses for Daily Living. Berkley:
    Parallax Press, 1990.
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    RPR 2. Aneilski, Mark, and Jonathan Rowe "The Genuine Progress Indicator -- 1998, Executive Summary"
    RPR 3 "What is Wrong with the GDP"
    RPR 4 "Why Bigger Isn't Better: Genuine Progress Indicator 1999 Update"
    RPR 5 "Case study No.1, Food For Thought: The GDP is Padded with Fat - Ours"
    RPR 6 "Case study No. 2, Consuming Kids" 
The Center for Commercial-Free Public Education Reports - all available online
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    CCFPE Report #2 Press Reports
    CCFPE Report #3 "About the Center"

Other Units

Introduction Effecting Change Social Marketing Plan Environment Product
Place Costs Promotion Action/Service Influence Groups

Return to Course Syllabus

AP/ADMS 4280 3.0 Social Marketing
York University, Toronto
M Louise Ripley, M.B.A., Ph.D.