Social Marketing Part I

Social Marketing has been around over 25 years, it’s nothing new, it’s just called something new. In the simplest of definitions – social marketing is the implementation of programs developed to bring about social change and to serve the public good. The bottom line goal is to change behaviors. Examples are often shown as techniques used by the CDC or other health organizations with the goal being to change social attitudes and alter behaviors. onzepagina The marketing of these programs generally use concepts employed by and from commercial marketing. Now, they also utilize social media to create buzz in real time. The dependence on social sites to create word of mouth is a huge part of social marketing.

It has evolved from “limiting” reliance on public service announcements to a more sophisticated approach, which draws from successful techniques used by commercial marketers and termed “social marketing.”

Social marketing is the new public relations… except now the use of social sites for greater exposure are implemented. Gone are the long-term relationships built with print outlets, or knowing the writer who covers public service at the local newspapers. Social marketing no longer waits to see if their press release or story will be chosen or published. The sharing of knowledge regarding the public good is as quick as you can make it viral, which means social sites, and in real time.

The social marketing and commercial marketing goals are similar or the same in the following ways:

The goal of each is to influence action.
The message creates or addresses a need for the benefits promoted.
Message target believes the benefit will be greater than any cost involved.
The need of the benefits creates “word of mouth”.
The campaign targets the needs to different segments of the market.
Message/marketing must address the different segments and their needs.
Social marketing differs from other areas of marketing only with respect to the objectives of the marketer and his or her organization. Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to directly benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience or general society. Even though it is consumer/society driven, it still continues to benefit the organization promoting the product or action. You most often see this technique being used extensively in national/international health programs, like birth control, drug abuse, stop-smoking campaigns or heart disease.

Since social marketing is confusing for most, there will be several posts covering this topic. If there is information or answers you would like to see, please send me an email at

R&S Marketing is a full service advertising agency in St. Louis providing services in promotion, web development, broadcast media, social media, search engine optimization, production, graphics and design.

Alice J. Ross is the President of R&S Marketing, a St. Louis based advertising agency. The principals of R&S Marketing, bring over 60 years of public relations and advertising experience to your account. They have a proven track record of producing for the client and have built their successful business on the premise that direct owner-to-client contact best represents the needs of our clients and results in a winning marketing formula.

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