What is your favourite example of Social Marketing?
There are lost now, but one I really like is the Birmingham City Council and PCT ‘Beactive programme’
Why that one?
Because it’s a UK example and many of the more often quoted examples are formthe USA. But more importantly because it demonstrates all the key social marketing principles. It was driven by a clear behavioural goal, to get more people form poorer backgrounds taking physical exercise. It is underpinned by robust market researchand clear insights about what will help people take up exercise and what will not. It has clear segmentation and target groups, it uses a mix of interventions, it is being sustained and it has clear ongoing evaluation. Most of all I like it because it works , it has so far helped over 38,000 more people start taking more physical exercise.
How can Social Marketing go wrong?
If it is not done systematically. If it is not underpinned by research and insight. If it isconfused with just information giving, if it is not managed properly and not evaluated.Often programmes go wrong because they are not funded to a level that they canhave a measurable effect and or they are not sustained over a long enough timeframe. Another big problem is if there is not senior management understanding and buy in for the approach. Sometimes senior managers get impatient for quick resultsand just want to see things happening even if they are not based on what is knownabout what works.
How do we know that it works?
If the programme is set up correctly it with have SMART objectives and clear behavioural goals. If these are clear then evaluating them is simple. Measuring theactual behaviour change and some indicators of progress such as attitudinal shift and intention act as markers of success. There is also a growing body of evidenceabout the power of social marketing and lots of great case studies, many of theseare written up in social marketing books but also there is a good selection on theNational Social Marketing centres website.
Social Marketing has been used widely in health. To what extent has it beenused in other policy areas?
Social marketing is being used and has been used for many years in areas other than health. It’s a shame that some people think that it is a health focused approachwhich it is not. There are some big national and regional programmes like the PerthTravel Smart programme promoting active travel and lots of examples focused onenvironmental issues focused on issues as diverse as fishing conservationbehaviour of fishermen and promoting more efficient home energy use, there arelots of good examples at:
In what other areas do you think there is the greatest scope for its usage
As well as health and environmental behavioural issues I think social marketing hasa lot to offer the field of crime and crime prevention. Some police authorities arestarting to take an interest in social marketing and apply its principles to planning interventions. I also think that the behavioural challenges associated with issuessuch as saving and better use of public services are ripe for social marketing.