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Louise Ripley

Social Marketing
Channels for the Social Product
Chapter 8 Kotler&Roberto Social Marketing  
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Making the Social Product Available: Distribution Channels
The strategy defines the social market mix for each target segment. Each sub-strategy will be explained in relation to how it will respond to the opportunities, threats and key issues that the plan identified earlier. (Kotler and Roberto p. 278) 


Distribution Channel
A network of institutions and agencies involved in the task of moving products from points of production to points of consumption
A Distribution Channel in Social Marketing
Point of Production: the social change campaign
Points of Consumption: the target adopters

Distributing a Tangible Product
For tangible products, the channels and the relevant issues for social products are much the same as for traditional products. The same advantages of channels help determine the choice of doing it yourself (in-house) or hiring someone to do it for you (intermediary): economies of scale and avoidance of overlap of functions. Who will do the better job most efficiently and effectively?

Channel Level and Length

Type of Marketing Origin Middle End
Traditional Marketing Producer  Intermediary Consumer
Social Marketing Change Agent Intermediary Adopter
Types of outlets
Location of outlets

Patronage of Outlets

Patronage is an inverse function of outlet's distance from target adopter
Adopters will travel only within a certain threshold distance or travel time
Adoptions are dependent on transportation factors, types, comfort and reliability of transport

Channel Position - Location of a channel member in the channel network

Channel Role - Behaviours expected of the channel member

Channel Roles
What behaviours are expected of each of the members of your social marketing plan's channel of distribution? 
Managing Channel Conflict
Outside Help
Strengthen Mutual Interests
Legal Processes

Distributing an Intangible Product
Channels is one of the most challenging areas of any Marketing and conceptually one of the most interesting (says she who did her doctorate in channels and is a little biased). It is particularly interesting in the distribution of an idea, value, or practice.

Distributing Ideas
How do you distribute an idea? 

Marketers always talk about how the Four P's are intricately interrelated and in the distribution of an idea or value or practice we see it fully. The media, and particularly Advertising, becomes the channel

Three Alternate Models for the Flow of Distribution of a Non-tangible Social Product

Model Flow

Social Marketer 



Social Marketer


Initial Adopters

Later Adopters

Social Marketer

Ad Agency


Other Social Marketers    

Other Ad Agencies 

Other Media

Initial Adopters

Later Adopters

(The links here are multiple and non-linear; see text) 


Flow Models
Which model best fits your social product? 


Mass Communication Media

Mass Communication Media
Using the information in Table 8-1 of your text, decide which of the four media would be best for promoting your social product. This book was published in 1989 and contains almost nothing about the web. How useful will the web be in distribution of your social product? 


Professionals and Volunteers as Part of the Channel 

Channel Motivation
Professionals Coercive or Legal Power
Rewards and Benefits
Volunteers Personal Interest and Need 
Belief that Campaign Will Benefit Society
Desire To Help Other People

Other Units

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

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