Tip #421: Introduction to Social Marketing in Amman

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself. Peter Drucker

I forget to mention an extraordinary thing I observed when we visited Pella. Our male waiter was wearing shoes that had greatly extended pointed toes that turned upward at a 45-degree angle!  According to Mona, that is the new fashion!

I spent the day with Maha D. (not to be confused with Maha K.) (re)designing a one-day training program on social marketing. The concept of social marketing is fascinating, because the focus in on changing a specific individual behavior that will benefit either water or energy conservation or solid waste management.

Both in Lagos and here in Amman, they have dual flush toilets. One social behavior that a US AID grantee might focus on could be using the least amount of water necessary when flushing. Or turning off lights when not in a room. Or gathering picnic materials rather than littering in a park.

According to Wikipedia:

Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good.  Social marketing can be applied to promote merit goods, or to make a society avoid demerit goods and thus to promote society’s well being as a whole. For example, this may include asking people not to smoke in public areas, asking them to use seat belts, or prompting to make them follow speed limits.

Although ‘social marketing’ is sometimes seen only as using standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals, this is an over-simplification.

The primary aim of social marketing is ‘social good,’ while in ‘commercial marketing’ the aim is primarily ‘financial.’ This does not mean that commercial marketers cannot contribute to achievement of social good.

Increasingly, social marketing is being described as having ‘two parents’—a ‘social parent’ = social sciences and social policy, and a ‘marketing parent’ = commercial and public sector marketing approaches.

Beginning in the 1950s when Weibe asked ‘Why can’t you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?’, it has in the last two decades matured into a much more integrative and inclusive discipline that draws on the full range of social sciences and social policy approaches as well as marketing.

Shaklee Corporation, who pioneered social marketing over 50 years ago, has trademarked the term ‘Social Marketing.’ ”

Maha D. had a tough time explaining so that I could understand the 4 P’s of marketing and how they pertained to behavior change. The 4 P’s, for those of you who, like myself, know nothing about marketing, are Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

Here are the descriptions of the 4 P’s from Mona:

Product refers to the desired behavior you are asking of the audience, associated benefits of doing the desired behavior and any tangible objects or services that support or facilitate the desired behavior.

Price refers to the cost and barriers the target audience faces when changing to the promoted behavior. Non-monetary costs, such as physical, emotional, time and/or psychological cost should also be considered. The benefits of changing to the new behavior must be greater than the cost in order for the target audience to adopt it.

Place refers to where the target audience will perform the desired behavior or where the product or service is made available to the target audience. Place is often associated with the problem if it is geographic.

Promotion refers to persuasive communications designed and delivered to inspire your target audience to action.

I’ll be working with Maha D. and Maha K. to design this training, which I anticipate titling Creating a Social Marketing Campaign. It will have to include modules on change management (a topic with which I am comfortable and have content) as well as the 4 P’s.

May your learning  be sweet.


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