2017-04-05T16:53:23-04:00As social marketers and change agents, our theories drive how we understand and describe problems and propose and test different solutions to them. What is a theory? In science, it is a way in which we think about how the... As social marketers and change agents, our theories drive how we understand and describe problems and propose and test different solutions to them. What is a theory? In science, it is a way in which we think about how the world works - what are the problems, what questions do we ask in our research, what interventions do we design, how do we evaluate outcomes (either positive or negative), and do the expected outcomes really make a difference in the big picture? While there are many theories to choose from, many change agents have only the slightest idea about a few of them if they had a survey course of ‘behavioral theories.’ If they haven’t had a such a course, the use of any commonly agreed upon, and research-tested, framework to think about and change the world plummets. If every social entrepreneur and change agent has their own “theory of change” - good luck with that. Innovation in tackling wicked problems also suffers from unfamiliarity with theories of change as people simply repeat what others have done: there is little exploration of insights that different theories can guide us towards. Learning about other ways of thinking about the world, call them ‘theories,’ can help us adopt different points-of-view about a problem, provide different analogies for thinking through possible solutions, weigh the benefits and risks of selecting one strategy over another, and broaden our perspective (Ness, 2015). And perhaps the bottom line is the conclusion reached by Hornik (2002) that the use of the wrong theory to define and solve a problem is one of the key sources for program failure. Let’s look at the evidence for using theory in solving problems. Hornik & Yanovitsky (2003) argue that designing interventions and evaluations of complex interventions such as social marketing are extremely difficult without a theory of change to guide what variables to measure/change and how to attribute success to the intervention. I suggest you consider that social change is so complex that, without a theory of change (with the caveat that it has research evidence to support it), you are wandering in the wilderness of what and how to develop interventions. Noar et al (2012) reported that only 15/34 (44%) of HIV/AIDS mass communication campaigns reported using theory on which to ground their approach - an improvement from <20% of interventions in the previous decade. Yet, the use of theories in social marketing is largely unexplored despite several systematic reviews of its application. The key reason is that creators of benchmark criteria for social marketing did not include use of theory. Thus, reviews of social marketing interventions by Stead et al. (2007), Fujihira, et al. (2015), Carins & Rundle-Thiele (2014) and Xia et al. (2016) are silent on this basic scientific question - are social marketing interventions based on explicitly stated theories or just made up? I found one review of the use of branding in social marketing programs. Evans et al (2015) found that of 69 articles they reviewed that used branding, 77% of them contained enough information to identify one or more theories that were used in the design and implementation of the branding effort. In one study that did not use benchmark criteria to qualify 155 articles of “social marketing effectiveness,” Helmig & Thaler (2010) found that nearly 2/3rds did not explicitly reference a theory on which the intervention was based. So are theories being applied in social marketing programs? So far most reviewers don’t consider them important when asking the question ‘what makes social marketing effective?’ Perhaps the new definition of social marketing that includes “[an integration of] research, best practice, theory, audience and partnership insight, to inform the delivery of competition sensitive and segmented[...]
2017-04-06T08:12:04-04:00Applying marketing to improve communications about social issues is an important part of social marketing for me. While I do not like to see mass communication campaigns or social media projects passed off as ‘social marketing,’ I do believe that...Applying marketing to improve communications about social issues is an important part of social marketing for me. While I do not like to see mass communication campaigns or social media projects passed off as ‘social marketing,’ I do believe that marketing can help make health communication, risk communication, or any other type of science communication more effective, efficient, sustainable and equitable. And, some times, theories and research in communication have lessons to be learned and applied by social marketers as well. The new report from the US National Academy of Sciences, Communicating science effectively: A research agenda [pdf], is one that you should read. Chapters are devoted to using science to improve science communication; the complexities of communicating science; the nature of science-related public controversies (which some of our work also gets embroiled in); communicating science in a complex, competitive communication environment (note the use of the word ‘competitive’); and building the knowledge base for effective science. In most social marketing programs, what we are working with is how to translate science-based evidence and findings into products, services, messages, policies and, yes, behavior change programs. In one form or another, we are science marketers. So what can we learn from those who communicate about science? I am not going to review each section in detail. Rather, I am going to share some statements and paragraphs that resonated with this social marketer - maybe they will for you too. “…the most widely held, and simplest, model of what audiences need from science communication—what is known as the “deficit model”—is wrong. A common assumption is that a lack of information or understanding of science fully explains why more people do not appear to accept scientific claims or engage in behaviors or support policies that are consistent with scientific evidence. The research on science communication, however, shows that audiences may already understand what scientists know but, for diverse reasons, do not agree or act consistently with that science. People rarely make decisions based only on scientific information; they typically also take into account their own goals and needs, knowledge and skills, and values and beliefs. A related widespread assumption in both the scientific and science communication communities is that if only science communication were done “better,” people would make choices consistent with scientific evidence. This assumption has not been fully tested in diverse situations. And although people may need to have more information or to have information presented more clearly, a focus on knowledge alone often is insufficient for achieving communication goals.” (p. 3) Think about this the next time you are discussing objectives, benefits, value, barriers or challenges to behavior change or picking over the phrasing of your messages to ‘make them better’ or ‘more persuasive.’ How many social marketing programs, articles and textbooks can you think of that subscribe to this deficit model in one form or another? Communication, knowledge change, or understanding risks and benefits, are not enough, period. "Audiences for science sometimes are blamed when science communication appears to have failed (“the public does not care”; “they were too uneducated to understand”). However, communicators themselves can introduce barriers to effective communication. For example, they may fail to identify clear and feasible goals for their communication, including what information people need to know. At the same time, communicators tend to overestimate what most people know about a subject, as well as to overrate the effectiveness of their efforts." (p. 12)[...]
2017-01-27T15:57:31-05:00It seems like a good time to revisit some big ideas about our mental models and the use of social, mobile and other technologies for helping people adopt new behaviors. How well do you utilize the 5Es? "...it is not...
It seems like a good time to revisit some big ideas about our mental models and the use of social, mobile and other technologies for helping people adopt new behaviors. How well do you utilize the 5Es?
"...it is not the technologies we use in our programs that need to change, but our frames for looking at the world and thinking about what we do. In designing interventions that will effectively lead to behavior change, we have to ask ourselves: 1) Do we harness the ability to educate people about issues and problems that are relevant to them (not us); 2) Is what we do engaging them in positive and meaningful ways; 3) Is there an entertainment value to our offerings; 4) Do people believe and feel empowered as a result of their experiences with our programs (products and services); and 5) Do we take advantage of every opportunity to let our customers and clients become our evangelists? If we fail to do all five, we are failing them and ourselves. And failure in our work is not an option."
Read the full article here.
2017-01-05T09:23:38-05:00What are some of the best papers published in social marketing this past year? This list of 10 represent the best work I came across in journals outside of the social marketing journals - Journal of Social Marketing and Social...What are some of the best papers published in social marketing this past year? This list of 10 represent the best work I came across in journals outside of the social marketing journals - Journal of Social Marketing and Social Marketing Quarterly. Hopefully these papers will expand your awareness of what is happening in social marketing theory, research and practice. The papers are selected from journals outside of social marketing to remind us that social marketing is indeed a multi-disciplinary and far-reaching enterprise. The articles present a breadth of interests (feeding programs for infants and young children; reducing obesity among youth; health disparities; global health concerns of HIV, reproductive health, child survival, malaria and tuberculosis; physical activity), insights and processes for improving social marketing programs (see Longfield et al and Venturini); different levels of intervention focus (macro-level social marketing programs and mobile health apps); and a critique of the 'upstream-downstream' metaphor (one that I believe since its use as a wake-up call to social marketers to focus on more than "blaming the victim' has outlived it usefulness for social marketing theory and practice). For those new to these reviews, here are the links to the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 selections - yes, I missed 2015. Each of the papers is presented in an extended format that draws from their abstracts as well as details in the papers. I'm interested in your feedback, especially if you have other papers you would like to recommend (use the Comments box or email me). Happy 2017 and I hope that you find inspiration for your work in one or more of these papers. Aaron et al. (2016). Assessing program coverage of two approaches to distributing a complementary feeding supplement to infants and young children in Ghana. PLoS One; Oct 18;11(10):e0162462. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162462 Two strategies were evaluated for distribution of a food supplement to infants and young children in Ghana. The supplement was designed for point-of-use (home fortification) as a micronutrient powder added to children’s food. Each approach was designed to reach different populations: Delivery Model 1 for the rural poor and Delivery Model 2 for more affluent and more populous urban and peri-urban populations, with the aim of developing programming models suited for use as context-specific components of a scaled-up program. Delivery Model 1 was conducted in the Northern Region of Ghana and used a mixture of health extension workers (delivering behavior change communications and demand creation activities at primary healthcare centers and in the community) and petty traders recruited from among beneficiaries of a local microfinance initiative (responsible for the sale of the complementary food supplement at market stalls and house to house). Delivery Model 2 was conducted in the Eastern Region of Ghana and used a market-based approach, with the product being sold through micro-retail routes (i.e., small shops and roadside stalls) in three districts supported by behavior change communications and demand creation activities led by a local social marketing company. Both delivery models were implemented sub-nationally as 1-year pilot programs, with the aim of informing the design of a scaled-up program. Behavior change communication and demand creation activities included promotion of generic infant and young child feeding practices by Ghana Health Services (both models), cookery demonstrations and tastings (both models), billboards and posters (both models), house-to-house sales (specifically in model 1 as door-to-door hawkers were not targeted by model 2), songs-based and street-theatre based messaging (model 1 only), nutrition and h[...]
2016-02-03T12:06:46-05:00There is a palpable tension in the behavior and social change worlds between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing can be used for good. This tension gets played out in program planning meetings,...There is a palpable tension in the behavior and social change worlds between people who believe that all marketing is evil and those who believe marketing can be used for good. This tension gets played out in program planning meetings, conferences, policy debates and resource allocations (such as found in RFPs and TORs). Not everyone who works to solve wicked problems needs to be a social marketer; yet, learning some basic marketing skills may work to their advantage. I just came across this article by Liz Elfman in which she describes 5 reasons for why everyone needs marketing skills. I've lightly edited it to better frame it for a social change world. I have also included links to other posts that provide you with more ideas. 1. You’ll Learn to ListenMarketers are constantly listening, looking for ways to maximize opportunities, leverage relationships, and connect to people. And while anyone can be a good listener, doing so as a marketer requires a fair amount of analysis—it’s an active process, not a passive one. By being trained in customer analysis, focus groups, and audience alignment, you’ll start to learn how to really listen to what your priority groups and stakeholders want. 2. You’ll Make Better DecisionsKnowing how to find and interpret data about your priority groups and stakeholders means that you’ll better understand your problem - and how to address it in new ways. Not to mention, you’ll also get in the habit of cutting through a lot of extraneous noise and honing in on the numbers and consumer insights that are most important. 3. You’ll Gain TactThe best marketers learn how to gain insight into different personality types and take different approaches for engaging with them, based on what makes them tick. In other words, they learn how to be tactful. 4. You’ll Get ScrappyEveryone is on a shoe-string budget. Ruthless prioritization of resources is a must for small and large governments and NGOs. Being creative about who you select and concentrate on, how you reach them, and how to do more with less will ultimately help you turn into an efficiency machine. 5. You’ll Become More Aware Marketers have to be aware of what’s going on in their world. This means they read, go to parties, try to figure out what’s going on in pop culture, and generally pay attention to the zeitgeist. No matter what industry you operate in, learning to check in with your surroundings can only help you. While it’s tempting to get bogged down in the details of your specific position, training yourself to focus on the bigger picture will ultimately help you do better in that role. Not to mention, you’ll probably end up getting interested in a lot that’s going on around you, which makes you a more interesting person all around. If you want more reasons why you and your colleagues should learn to think and act more like marketers, consider reading Daniel Pink's To sell is human: The surprising truth about moving others. And if you're ready to dive deeper in how you can apply marketing to your environmental, public health, transportation or social issue, explore the USF Social Marketing Conference and Training Academy to be held 15-18 June 2016 in Clearwater Beach, Fl. [...]
2016-02-02T17:11:04-05:00.. any marketing element in a program, whether it starts with a “P” or not, needs to be modifiable to meet the unique needs, problems, and aspirations of a priority group. If a P is so complex or ubiquitous as..... any marketing element in a program, whether it starts with a “P” or not, needs to be modifiable to meet the unique needs, problems, and aspirations of a priority group. If a P is so complex or ubiquitous as to defy a fit with the priority group, then it is no longer a marketing variable. (Lefebvre, 2013, p.310). Many social marketing academics and practitioners like to propose, argue and otherwise distract themselves from people's concerns by talking about 5, 6...(up to 20 I've read) Ps - adding things like Politics, Purse strings, Partners, People, Positioning...you get the idea. Other people contend that this 'producer' oriented "P" approach (what 'we' do for 'them') needs to be rethought as a customer-centric set of Cs - Customer (wants and needs), Convenience, Cost and Communication to which more Cs can easily be appended - collaborators, co-creation, co-operation, etc. And yes, they don't seem like more than semantic differences - the core issues are the same. Many other proposals for how to think about the marketing mix are out there as well. Yes, there can be some dogmatism about whether you use Ps, Cs, Vs, or any other set of attributes to describe your marketing mix - usually expressed by peer reviewers and people at podiums. The important thing to remember is that the use of a single letter, or even an acronym, is in an effort to help us to remember to touch all the bases. However, when they shift from focusing on what's important to members of our priority group to what's important (or clever) to us, and don't have obvious implications for how to design our program, then I think it's time to put your head down and ignore them [and yes, I can make arguments for including or excluding Ps and Cs with the best of them, but why bother]. The marketing mix is near the core of the social marketing approach. A marketing effort is more than a mass media or advertising campaign (a 1P or 1C effort), a nudge or removing a barrier (another type of 1P or 1C effort), or designing opportunities to try a new behavior or making products and services more accessible (yet another 1P or 1C approach). The marketing mix is there to remind us that we have to tailor offerings to different groups of people based on their shared needs, problems, aspirations and other characteristics; that is, we have to segment them first. Then we develop a unique marketing mix for each priority group - it's not one size fits all. If Ps and Cs help you remember to do that, and not default to your typical 1P solution, then it works. Now test your ideas with your priority groups. Let's take as an example the many conversations I have with people over social media and mobile phones. Early on in these conversations the question comes up, "How are you going to use it?" More often than not it's to be used to 'communicate messages' or perhaps 'nudge' people in a priority group - a 1P solution. What if that social media or mobile tool was thought about as a product (or app) or a service - not simply a new channel for messages? How could this technology be used to make information or action more convenient or accessible? How would it reduce current barriers to action, or provide incentives to try? How could it be harnessed for peer learning or support when making behavior changes (oops! Not in those Ps and Cs)? How would someone use it to solve a problem (find value using it) - and what exactly is their problem that this social media or mobile technology is suppose to solve? Oh, and how will your priority group learn about it? Too often the answers are along the lines of "Well, we haven't thought about that." The marketing mix is a decision aid to get you thinking about those things - those are the quest[...]
2016-01-21T18:19:04-05:00Rapid changes in dietary habits, coupled with a decline in levels of physical activity, have led to an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US and around the world. The consequence of these changes has been...Rapid changes in dietary habits, coupled with a decline in levels of physical activity, have led to an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US and around the world. The consequence of these changes has been an increase in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The challenge for health authorities is to benchmark their efforts to slow and eventually reverse these trends. What to benchmark to? I suggest to what has been found to work, not what fits into rhetorical frameworks. In reviews of over 300 studies on the use of health communication, social marketing and community-based approaches to address health risk behaviors, especially poor dietary habits and increasing levels of physical activity, across a wide range of socio-demographic groups around the world, a number of lessons have been learned about what constitutes the more successful programs (Carins & Rundle-Thiele, 2014; Garcia-Marco et al, 2012; Snyder, 2007; Wakefield et al, 2010). I have added to their findings several other features that more recent experiences suggest can improve program effectiveness. Note that while many of these studies have focused on nutrition and physical activity behaviors, the ‘Ideal Features’ list below could be applied relatively well across efforts to change many different behaviors and address other wicked problems. For your consideration and comment: The Ideal Features of Social Change Programs (with links to previous posts) Select and concentrate on priority groups Identify the value each priority group finds in adopting healthier behaviors Understand and address the incentives and costs of change – financial, opportunity, psychological, social, scarcity, etc Design products, services and behaviors that fit people’s reality Position the new behavior as more compelling, relevant, and potentially more valuable to people when they practice it, in comparison to the alternatives Test program strategies and elements before implementation Not rely only on mass communication campaigns Increase access to information, places, food choices and services that reinforce desired behaviors Locate a service, distribute a product, and create opportunities for members of our priority group to engage in healthier behaviors Utilize community-based programs and citizen engagement to facilitate collaborations and create healthier environments and policies Consider policies that include incentives and disincentives for specific dietary and physical activity behavior Explore how social networks and social media can influence norms about, and diffusion of, healthier behaviors and lifestyles References Carins, J.E. & Rundle-Thiele, S.R. Eating for better health: a social marketing review. Public Health Nutrition, 2014; 17(7):1628-1639. Garcia-Marco, L., Moreno, L.A. & Vicente-Rodriguez, G. Impact of social marketing in the prevention of childhood obesity. Advances in Nutrition, 2012; 3:611S-615S. Ogden, C.L., Carroll, M.D., Kit, B.K. & Flegal, K.M. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA, 2014; 311(8):806-814. Snyder, L. (2007). Health communication campaigns and their impact on behavior. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior; 39(Suppl.):S32–S40. The GBD 2013 Obesity Collaboration, Ng, M., Fleming, T., et al. Global, regional and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults 1980-2013: A systematic analysis. Lancet. 2014;384(9945):766-781. Wakefield, M. A., Loken, B., & Hornik, R. (2010). Use of mass media campaigns to change health behaviour. Lancet; 376:1261–1271. [...]
2016-01-20T14:14:00-05:00Social marketers should note the Coca-Cola company announcement of its new 'One Brand' global marketing strategy yesterday in Paris. It's something worth taking a careful look at, especially if your work encompasses trying to change eating patterns, reduce consumption of...Social marketers should note the Coca-Cola company announcement of its new 'One Brand' global marketing strategy yesterday in Paris. It's something worth taking a careful look at, especially if your work encompasses trying to change eating patterns, reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and/or tackle the wicked problem of obesity. There are several points in their strategy that are useful to consider when developing social marketing and public health campaigns. First: 'Drinking a Coca-Cola, any Coca-Cola, makes the moment special.' The intent here is not to worry so much about selling a specific brand (regular, diet, caffeinated or not). As long as it's a Coke, it's the right choice. Now think about how you talk about alternatives to unhealthy eating patterns, SSBs and other behaviors related to obesity prevention and control (such as physical activity). Does your program focus on just one behavior or several? Are they somehow connected with each other - or could be? Do any of those behaviors 'make a moment special?' If not, how do you expect to compete (short of trying to ban all Coca-Cola advertising)? The 'One Brand' strategy is articulated as: Extends the global equity and iconic appeal of original Coca-Cola across the Trademark, uniting the Coca-Cola family under the world’s number one beverage brand. Comes to life in a global campaign - “Taste the Feeling” – that uses universal storytelling and everyday moments to connect with consumers around the world. Features the product at the heart of the creative, celebrating the experience and simple pleasure of drinking a Coca-Cola, any Coca-Cola. Underscores the Company’s commitment to choice, allowing consumers to choose whichever Coca-Cola suits their taste, lifestyle, and diet. With obesity and SSBs becoming a global concern, are there ways of creating global equity and iconic appeal either with an existing brand (for argument's sake, such as the UN or WHO)? Thinking more locally, are there cities, states or countries that have invested in a 'brand' that could lead social marketing efforts in this space? If you don't think you have a brand, maybe you need to look around and find one that already exists in the minds of your priority group. How can we use story-telling, not facts and certainly not fear appeals, to position options in the context of people's everyday moments? Again, not the facts, and not the typical exhortations to 'don't eat or drink that!' How do healthier choices connect with people around the world (what are some of the universal situations and experiences you could use to connect with people and not just communicate to target audiences)? What are the 3-4 specific behaviors you could focus on that would help people celebrate their experiences and the simple pleasures of trying something different? And finally, note that there is a commitment to choice (yes, as long as it's a Coke) - but the idea of choice is one that resonates with most consumers and is sadly one that too many public health people are abandoning. But remember, it's not a 'healthy choice' that most people are looking for (the ones that want to make those choices don't need our programs). Many times I have talked about Coke's strategy of 'being within an arm's reach of desire' and how social marketers (and public health professionals) need to focus on distribution of, and access to, opportunities to engage in healthy behaviors. ... what if instead of focusing so much of our efforts on changing the rules (policies), we thought harder and more deeply about how other behaviors could[...]
2015-07-07T15:00:24-04:00The biggest change in formative research that social marketers are still learning how to do well is concept testing. As I described it in my book, concept testing is the phase of research “in which options for the target behavior...The biggest change in formative research that social marketers are still learning how to do well is concept testing. As I described it in my book, concept testing is the phase of research “in which options for the target behavior and its associated value or benefits are validated among members of the priority group” (p. 185). It is VERY different from pretesting draft messages (in all their formats) and prototypes of products and services before putting them into final form. If I can do only one type of formative research, I always choose concept testing. Why? Concept testing pits the ‘expert-driven’ decisions of what behavior people ‘should’ engage in and the theoretical hypotheses of ‘why’ they are (or are not) motivated to do so against the realities of the priority group we seek to serve. Concept testing focuses social marketers on being close to people, audience-driven versus maintaining an expert role in which decisions are made and carried out without considering the POV and voice of people. Decisions about what people are expected to be able to do, versus what their capabilities, resources and circumstances allow them to do are rarely examined by these experts. What motivates people to do what they do, or decide to engage in a new behavior, are presumed to be ‘determinants’ of behavior – not the actual thoughts, emotions and experiences people have when confronted by our messages, products and services. If our assumptions about what’s feasible and desirable for people to do are not challenged with concept testing, our messages, materials, products and services are doomed. Too many ‘pretests’ are in reality ‘disaster checks,’ and while the participants in these tests are often kind to us in their responses, lukewarm receptions do not bode well for effective behavioral, organizational or social change. And receiving negative feedback on our work often comes too late in the planning and budgeting of projects to allow for much else than cosmetic changes. The fundamental flaws in the strategy are beyond repair. Concepts are the ‘big ideas’ for your campaign or program. They bring your positioning statement to life (and if you aren’t crafting a positioning statement before starting down the implementation path, that’s another challenge you can read more about here). For example, the VERBTM campaign to increase physical activity among preteens had the positioning statement: “We want tweens to see regular physical activity as something that is cool and fun and better than just sitting around and watching TV or playing video games all the time.” The first key issue that the ‘big idea’ or concept needs to grapple with are what are these ‘regular physical activity’ behaviors – walking, team sports, bicycling, swimming, etc...? Experts will decide which ones to focus on by, as more common than you think, what they see their kids doing, or their kids’ classmates, or what a recent survey has found as the most popular ones. They’ll then go on to create materials and programs that feature these activities – or just a single one – and then pretest them. The second question a concept needs to address is: How do we make these physical activity behaviors more compelling, relevant and valuable (beneficial) to tweens than the alternatives (TV and video games)? Yes, our research may tell us that ‘cool & fun’ are the answer, but what exactly is cool & fun to tweens – and more importantly, how do we present cool & fun to tweens in a credible way and not come across as saying ‘this is what we think you think[...]
2015-03-09T11:19:17-04:00How can social marketers put more creativity and innovation into their work to inspire and move people and communities to better health and improved well-being? That is a question that bedevils many staff, managers and administrators who find that they...How can social marketers put more creativity and innovation into their work to inspire and move people and communities to better health and improved well-being? That is a question that bedevils many staff, managers and administrators who find that they need to stop the insanity of doing the same thing over and over again to achieve the same small effects. Being ‘creative’ or ‘innovative’ doesn’t happen by simply giving people permission to do so. Especially in the public and nonprofit sectors, it’s not that easy. Many managers and staff come from academic backgrounds where creativity and innovation are never directly addressed in their coursework, field (work) placements or internships (though there are exceptions). Others work in organizations where the fear of failure, and CYA, keeps people from taking chances. Unless you have had direct experience working with one or more creative directors (and that only happens in well resourced environments that can contract with outside agencies), the mystery of what they do can seem impenetrable and difficult to do on your own.People who work on environmental, public health or social issues have the ‘research evidence’ beat into them: stray from the evidence base and there will be consequences. 'Being creative' is not in most of our job descriptions - yet each of us deeply believes that, if given the chance, “Hey, I can be creative!” When the opportunity to ‘show some creativity’ is offered, in my experience the results usually fall not far from the evidence tree. Those programs come from the cooks who follow the beaten path of program development protocols and apply the evidence with a sprinkling of ‘creativity’ (often seen these days as trying to use a new social media channel - Meerkat anyone?) - preferably in the original, science-based language so that everyone else in their bureaucracy will ‘approve’ it. These planners rarely have the calling to seek the perspective of people they wish to serve. Yet many of them are sometimes very open about their wish that they could break out of their usual approach and be more creative, to do something different and potentially more valuable for the people they serve. For those of you who have similar yearnings, an article in this month’s PharmaVoice (March, 2015) on Creative directors’ secrets to success has some concrete suggestions. 1. The very first one is to gather and keep resources for inspiration, not just journal articles from your professional organizations and affiliations, but creative ones as well. Try design magazines and websites, marketing websites, and groups that feature campaign reviews and awards (see Warc prize for social strategy, PRSA anvil winners, Clios and Osocio).2. Learn the fundamentals of strategy, branding, copywriting, and design - maybe someday we’ll see courses like these in schools of business, engineering and public health, Until then, try those last four links. And if you have opportunities to work with people who have these skills, respect them and don’t try and turn them into one of you. Unfortunately, I have seen public health people do that to creatives more often than not. Embrace them as part of your interdisciplinary team who are bringing new ways to think about problems and solutions. You may not think that their approach makes sense, but withhold your judgment until you see what people who are the priority group think about it.3. When working with creative projects concern yourself with directing and guiding the work, putting the right people in place, and the[...]
2015-02-07T11:04:52-05:00Scarcity is more than an economic idea of there being limited resources to meet everyone’s every need. Having less than what we perceive we need – whether it is food, money, friends or time – is having less than we...Scarcity is more than an economic idea of there being limited resources to meet everyone’s every need. Having less than what we perceive we need – whether it is food, money, friends or time – is having less than we feel we need. What makes scarcity an important idea for social marketers and other change agents is that it captures the mind; scarcity changes the way we think. Scarcity causes us to ‘tunnel’ – to adopt a mindset that focuses only on what seems, at least at that moment, to matter most. Scarcity, as you might expect, can lead us to do some not so smart things. That is the core of the book, Scarcity: Why having so little means so much. It extends the insights from behavioral economics beyond the nudges and defaults we are now so familiar with to how we think and feel when we have too little; it changes our thoughts, choices and behaviors. While we recognize how scarcity can make us more attentive and efficient in managing immediate needs – think of the last deadline that was looming over you – it also reduces what the authors refer to as ‘bandwidth.’ They consider bandwidth as a short-hand for our cognitive capacity and executive control that are currently available for use. Simply put, when scarcity captures our mind it helps us focus on doing a better job with our most pressing needs; yet it also makes us less insightful, less forward-thinking and less controlled. The bad news is that the associated reduced bandwidth can lead to more scarcity as we continue to ‘tunnel,’ or neglect other, less immediate concerns that then becomes tomorrow’s, or next month’s or next year’s pressing need. It is the tunneling phenomenon that is the central culprit for poor decision-making and behavior choices. They illustrate the scarcity and tunneling problems through reference to several studies in both the laboratory and in the field of how poverty is a major contributor to reducing bandwidth. Consider some unsuspecting shoppers in a mall who were asked to imagine a scenario in which they either had (a) a $300 estimate, or (b) a $3,000 estimate to repair their damaged car of which their insurance would pay half the cost. Do they get the car fixed, or take the chance that it will continue to run a little longer? They were given a test of cognitive ability, the Raven’s Progressive Matrices, before being given the scenario and then a few minutes after considering their response. In the $300 scenario there were no significant differences in participants' test performance, regardless of their reported income level. But as you might now suspect, there were significantly lower scores for the people with lower incomes than for those with higher ones in the $3,000 scenario. The authors’ explanation is simple, yet may provide the insight for many programs serving the poor: the $3,000 scenario got poorer people to consider their own money scarcity (“How could I come up with that?”) and this tunneling (or preoccupation) carried over to their performance on the Progressive Matrices in the post-test. Their performance was, in fact, worse than for people who have been sleep deprived. The authors note that these differences correspond to a drop in IQ of 14 points (a shift in an intelligence score of this magnitude can result in a person of average intelligence being reconsidered as ‘borderline deficient’ – just because of the bandwidth tax imposed by thinking about one’s tight financial situation). The same effect, they show in another study, holds true for farmers in India before harvest (when times are [...]
2015-02-05T10:32:29-05:00The 3rd biannual World Social Marketing Conference is coming up 19-21 April 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Jeff French, the Conference Chair, has developed a Top 10 list for why you should be there: 1. Hear the most up-to-date evidence and... The 3rd biannual World Social Marketing Conference is coming up 19-21 April 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Jeff French, the Conference Chair, has developed a Top 10 list for why you should be there: 1. Hear the most up-to-date evidence and thinking about how and why social marketing is being applied around the world. 2. Meet and talk with the world’s leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners. 3. Grow you professional network and set up joint projects and interventions. 4. Promote you own organization and what it’s doing, and find collaborators to work with you. 5. Share and showcase your work and learn from others around the world about cutting edge projects and innovation. 6. Discover hundreds of new social marketing projects and practitioners. 7. Take part in specialist seminars and training events that will enhance your professional practice. 8. Be inspired by world class keynote speakers who will stimulate and challenge your thinking 9. Contribute to debates and Q&A sessions. 10. Chose from over 90 keynote sessions and seminars on all aspects of social marketing theory and practice. The full conference program is now available and booking information is here. I will be conducting a workshop ‘Exploring New Strategies and Tools for Social Marketing Research and Practice’ on the 19th and hope that some of you will join me. In the workshop we'll be talking about and working with innovative methods that, when combined, offer an entirely new approach to thinking about and planning social marketing programs. Based on past conferences, I predict that you will leave (reluctantly) with enthusiasm for applying marketing principles to social problems; new knowledge, skills and professional relationships; and will be talking about your experiences there for years to come. [...]
2015-02-03T12:25:26-05:00I find that there are five fundamental approaches to how people approach solving wicked social problems and pursuing social change. They are distinguished by the first question each of them asks when thinking about possible solutions and approaches. I was...I find that there are five fundamental approaches to how people approach solving wicked social problems and pursuing social change. They are distinguished by the first question each of them asks when thinking about possible solutions and approaches.I was reading a profile of a Harwood Institute Public Innovator that crystallized this idea for me. It concerned a relatively circumscribed problem (not the scope or scale of reducing global HIV incidence or childhood obesity) where, even in those circumstances, the differences in approach become clear. The problem was how to improve the narrow, gravel walking path near a church so that it was more accessible for people who used the path while pushing their spouses who had had a stroke in a wheelchair. When the college advisor who was leading the project was asked how he came up with the idea, he said it was a project to improve the lives of these caregivers.The Harwood Institute teaches an idea of ‘turned outward’ - a straightforward approach that fits easily into a social marketing model. Turned outward techniques involve ‘working with your community to find out what people truly want – not just assuming or thinking you know what people and communities want.’ So far, so good. So our public innovator asked the advisor how confident he was that a more accessible walking path was what caregivers wanted. Well, he had walked the path himself and had seen first-hand how difficult it would be for someone who was trying to push a wheelchair on it. But ‘No,’ he had not asked any caregivers about the idea. The innovator’s suggestion was to hold a few small discussion groups with caregivers of people who had suffered a stroke and, as you might expect, the responses to his idea were a deafening ‘not interested.’ There were more important jobs-to-be-done in caring for a spouse who had had a stroke such as better transportation for stroke patients, training in one-on-one caregiving and accessing respite care facilities with short-term accommodations for people with special needs. Even though the walking path project had already been funded, the advisor had the courage to shift course (or ‘pivot’ if you like). Instead, he and his students used the funding to set up free courses for issues the caregivers said they wanted help with: how to modify their homes to make them easier to navigate, ways of safely moving stroke victims into and out of their wheelchairs, fall prevention and self-care tips. Jobs that were much higher on their priority list. These courses have now become an ongoing program in that community. The story illustrates how different change agents approach the same problem, and what can happen when the first question is changed. A technocratic ‘planner’ would take the plan selected by the advisor and ask the question: ‘I have identified a problem that I think is important and has a solution I can implement, what do I do next?’ And gone ahead with fixing the path. Another more top-down, autocratic approach would be: 'I have identified a problem, how do I make people fix it (by, for example, threatening a lawsuit or fines against the church if the path isn’t made compliant with ADA Standards for Accessible Design)?' A planner using a third method, let’s call it the ‘educational’ or ‘informational’ one, would be asking: ‘What can we do to inform caregivers of alternative paths to use when pushing a wheelchair to the church?’ Or warn them of the risk[...]
2015-01-24T19:06:10-05:00The reform of education - it’s products, policies, processes and people - poses all kinds of wicked problems, from what should (and should not be) in curricula, to how classes and schools are designed to achieve better outcomes for students...The reform of education - it’s products, policies, processes and people - poses all kinds of wicked problems, from what should (and should not be) in curricula, to how classes and schools are designed to achieve better outcomes for students and parents, how success is measured, and what the role of school personnel are in this most modern of ages. Innovations are widely touted, but few seem to be broadly adopted. Top-down approaches are rarely swapped out for more bottom-up processes (see these examples from the BIF Student Experience Lab for some exceptions). In over 4 decades of work in social marketing, I have seen few examples published in the literature that apply marketing ideas to solving some of these issues. And I wonder why?I have many different hypotheses ranging from total indifference to ‘outside the box’ thinking to real or imagined concerns that introducing ‘marketing’ into education will somehow trivialize and contaminate the lofty aspirations (and ideologies) that educators and policy makers have of their calling. In work I have done with STEM education initiatives and school readiness, my involvement seems to start and end with the ‘planning’ meetings (“We’d like to have a social marketer’s POV”). And then…nothing seems to take shape. At one meeting a brand marketer also involved in STEM issues and I were pushing the idea to explore student-driven STEM communication and programming strategies. Our progress was summed up when he shouted out in exasperation near the end: “Doing it the way you’ve always done it (expert-driven directives and ‘messages’) is DOOMED!” [See The change we need: New ways of thinking about social issues] The opportunities for me to insert a marketing perspective into education discussions and arguments are few and far in-between. So when I learned that a noted education reform specialist was coming to town to talk about initiatives underway in Sarasota and Manatee (Florida) county schools through the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, I decided to drop in and listen. Ralph Smith, the campaign’s managing director, had many encouraging things to say about what he experienced during his visit. We also heard from the principal of one exemplary grade school in Sarasota. You may have been in similar types of discussions. Philosophies and data are cited to make the case for “Why this problem [reading at grade level by 3rd grade]?” Emotional appeals to do what’s right for children and their parents. Exhortations that ‘we must all work together’ and that it ‘takes a community to educate a child.’ Glimmers of hope, such as offered by the school principal, into what might be working. Calls for ‘scaling up.’ What can a social marketer add to these discussions? Near the end of the 90 minutes of the town hall meeting there was time for a Q+A session. I had several questions going through my mind: How do we focus people on an objective of children in the 3rd grade reading at that grade level when there are so other many competing concerns and issues that schools and communities face every day? How can nonprofits (not just the Casey Foundation, but local nonprofits who are supporting the program) who invest in these innovations design sustainability (or exit) strategies and not endanger the systems, people and processes they put into place to make the program work in the first place? How can local media continue to [...]
2015-01-22T16:22:47-05:00Can social marketing be used in community settings? Involve real people from the community? Focus on more than just individual behavior change? The International Social Marketing Asoscation's (iSMA) webinar series continues with several of my colleagues from the Florida Prevention...Can social marketing be used in community settings? Involve real people from the community? Focus on more than just individual behavior change? The International Social Marketing Asoscation's (iSMA) webinar series continues with several of my colleagues from the Florida Prevention Research Center (FPRC) at the University of South Florida College of Public Health talking about the evolution of community-based prevention marketing practice and research. The dates and times are: Time One: Thursday, January 29 at 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time/ 1:00 pm EST / 6:00 pm UTC+0 (GMT). Time Two: Thursday, January 29 at 4:00 pm Pacific Standard Time/ 7:00 pm EST / 12:00 am UTC+0 (GMT) / Friday, January 30 at 11:00 am Australian Eastern Daylight Time. "Community-Based Prevention Marketing (CBPM): Evolution from Programming to Policy Development to Systems Change" is based on over 15 years of work developing and testing CBPM. CBPM provides community coalitions with a marketing driven, systematic planning framework and toolkit for selecting, tailoring, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based interventions. Building on the achievements of CBPM for Program Development and its successor, CBPM for Policy Development, the FPRC is taking CBPM to the next level by bringing advances in systems science to the development of CBPM for Systems Change. This webinar will provide an explanation of CBPM for Policy Development and its effectiveness. Participants will also be introduced to CBPM for Systems Change. By understanding the different levels of systems, and then designing social marketing strategies based on those insights, social marketers can have greater impact. Lessons learned from research and development of these frameworks will be shared to illustrate ‘upstream’ social marketing. Presented by Carol A. Bryant, Distinguished USF Health Professor & Co-Director, FPRC; Alyssa B. Mayer & Mahmooda Khaliq Pasha, Doctoral Students (FPRC); Tali Schneider, Administrator (FPRC); and Brian J. Biroscak, Assistant Professor (Yale University) & Evaluation Lead (FPRC). Space is limited to 150 participants per presentation. iSMA members receive early registration privileges. • iSMA members may register for the webinar for free. • Non-members may register for $50 per webinar; Note that a standard annual iSMA membership costs only $49.95, $24.95 for students and $4.95/$2.95 for those from developing countries. Register at https://isma.memberclicks.net/webinarsAlso available at this link are the archives from the previous 10 webinars, including full recordings, handouts and slide presentations. [...]
2015-01-14T13:07:50-05:00Keeping up with the evolution of social marketing research and practice can be a tough problem. To help you out, this is my fourth annual review of papers that document in the peer-reviewed literature how the field is developing (here...Keeping up with the evolution of social marketing research and practice can be a tough problem. To help you out, this is my fourth annual review of papers that document in the peer-reviewed literature how the field is developing (here are the links to the 2011, 2012, and 2013 selections). I do not consider papers published in our two journals, the Journal of Social Marketing and Social Marketing Quarterly, as I presume that people are looking at them already. I am also interested in how social marketing is presented outside our immediate orbit.One of my priorities in reviewing the work is how they help strengthen the evidence base for the discipline. Just collecting more stories, or case studies, about social marketing needs to end; we need a stronger focus on research with better descriptions of methods, collection and analysis of relevant data - not convenient ones, and the use of experimental designs. Pick up most textbooks on social marketing and read the references. I have, and was stunned by the lack of citations to research studies about the effectiveness of social marketing (my highest count was 10 - about as many as are in this post, and was something I deliberately set out to change with my book). I have heard from colleagues that they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, teach a course in social marketing in their department using available textbooks because there was a lack of ‘scientific rigor’ in them (or words to that effect). Practitioners can carry on about the ‘art’ of social marketing (I do it as well), but if social marketing is to be taken seriously by others (leading academic institutions and policy makers to name two) it needs data, not stories, to demonstrate its value.Two controlled trials caught my attention. The article by Cates et al discusses their project to increase HPV vaccination rates among preteen boys in 13 counties in North Carolina, USA and compares the outcomes with another 15 control counties in the same state. Randomization by organizational unit, in this instance churches, was an especially strong experimental approach employed by DiGuiseppi et al to investigate how social marketing can increase recruitment and retention of older adults into balance classes in order to reduce fall-related injuries. It is note worthy that these studies explore applications of social marketing to topics outside the mainstream of msot social marketing articles: vaccinations and injury prevention.Other research studies that merit your attention are the work of Bhagwat et al and Firestone et al. Yes, the Bhagwat piece is two case studies, but I can take a story that is sprinkled with data and demonstrates a new application of social marketing - to food fortification programs in India. The Firestone et al study does not have a comparison group, but when you are involved in large-scale programming across five countries in Central America to reduce HIV risk, the correct decision, in my mind, is Go Big and leave the small stuff to other investigators. They present a wealth of data, and I was particularly impressed to see the attention to measures of program exposure - and that exposure was related to behavioral outcomes. Measuring the relevant, not convenient, variables is the lesson in this study. One article that should be in the social marketing canon is the results of a comprehensive review of the literature by the US Community Preventive Services Task Force by Robi[...]
2015-01-05T14:56:15-05:00Thank you to the over 35,500 people who have visited this blog over the past year. I am really delighted that you come from all over the world. In 2014, about ⅓ of unique visitors came from the US, followed... Thank you to the over 35,500 people who have visited this blog over the past year. I am really delighted that you come from all over the world. In 2014, about ⅓ of unique visitors came from the US, followed in the top ten by Great Britain (UK), India, Australia, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa and France (and then another 179 other countries). What brings people to this blog? Searching for information or a solution to a problem has a lot to do with it. But whether you are an email subscriber, get a RSS feed, follow new posts on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn), or are one of the searchers, we all share a passion for understanding and learning how to do good better. And for many of us, that means how to apply marketing thinking and techniques to solve the wicked social problems we have chosen to seek answers to (social + marketing). So what have been people searching for answers to in 2014 that brings them here? Here’s what your colleagues landed on in 2014.EAST: A Method for Applying Insights in Social Marketing Programs EAST (Make behaviors Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely) is the most recent device created by the Behavioural Insights Team to help policy-makers incorporate behavior change principles into policy-making. While it does have some strengths in helping you become a better solution seeker, I also discuss some of its limitations.How Social Marketing Can Improve the Effectiveness of Social Entrepreneurs Like me, you have probably seen or heard about some social entrepreneur who becomes the momentary darling of an organization, funder or social media meme. Once you get past the hype, or wait a year or two, that entrepreneur and their program prove to be less effective than their promotion suggests (if they have any data at all) or they have fallen off the radar (“sweet dreams and flying machines…”). I am continually amazed at how little attention social entrepreneurs seem to pay to basic marketing principles. In this post I review an article that demonstrates how a social marketing analysis and approach could strengthen a program that is designed to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviors.Demarketing Obesity I have had several posts on the use of demarketing strategies to reduce unhealthy behaviors. Indeed, a post on The 4Ps of Demarketing Tobacco Use was the overall most viewed post last year (first published in 2009). In Demarketing Obesity I look at how a proposed “nimble” approach to obesity prevention falls short of being effective. Proposed solutions to the obesity problem such as more calorie counting, more explicit nutrition labeling, and banning advertising of junk foods to children may be well intended, but off the mark. What if we applied marketing approaches, and not simply educational and communication ones, to changing the obesogenic environment?Recharging Tobacco Control Efforts Tobacco control efforts headline global approaches to the wicked problem of the growing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases. In the US, tobacco control efforts are getting a boost from the FDA and the launch of its The Real Cost campaign. This post highlights the Persona for the campaign and other elements of its strategy along with links to campaign materials. However, a strong community teffort is also needed to complement these efforts, and I look at the latest evidence for best practices in community-based tobacco[...]
2014-11-29T15:43:04-05:00Health care professionals (HCPs, that includes dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians and physician assistants among others) receive too little support in changing their practices, processes and policies to improve the health of their patients. In many cases they are simply given...Health care professionals (HCPs, that includes dentists, nurses, pharmacists, physicians and physician assistants among others) receive too little support in changing their practices, processes and policies to improve the health of their patients. In many cases they are simply given clinical recommendations to follow and are viewed as passive ‘channels’ to provide ‘authoritative and credible’ information to their patients. I talked about this as a ‘swamped channel’ in Pediatricians Drowning in Advice and noted a study that documented 162 separate pieces of verbal advice pediatricians are recommended to provide their patients by policies established by their professional association. And then there are the hundreds (thousands?) of ‘tools’ that are distributed to HCPs to guide diagnosis and treatment decisions, counseling aids (including numerous ‘shared decision-making tools’ that include the patient and family in the process), and legal requirements such as for ‘meaningful use’ of electronic health records (EHRs). Diffusing information, products and services to HCPs is a symptom of the producer orientation (or top-down perspective if you like): the expectation is that if HCPs are given these guidelines, tools and incentives, they will use them. Time and time again we see this is not the case. For example, estimates are that between 18-37% of US health spending is wasted. Wasted health care payments include those due to failures of care delivery - poor execution or lack of widespread adoption of best practices, such as effective preventive care practices or patient safety best practices; overtreatment, or care that is driven by providers' preferences, ignores scientific findings, and is motivated by something other than providing optimal care for a patient; and costs incurred while treating avoidable medical injuries, such as preventable infections in hospitals (Lallemand, 13 December 2012, “Reducing waste in health care,” Health Affairs). Better dissemination of ‘best practices’ is often called on to address these sources of ineffectiveness, inefficiency and waste in health care. In reality, adoption and sustained use of best practices is what is needed. How do we develop fewer expert-driven recommendations and more market and user-focused approaches to better practice? This is the type of puzzle that social marketing could be used more frequently to solve (see Chapter 13 - Social marketing for diffusion and program sustainability, Lefebvre, 2013, and Harris et al, 2012, A Framework for Disseminating Evidence-Based Health Promotion Practices in Preventing Chronic Disease).It was from this perspective that I agreed to chair a session on “How to reach professional audiences,” knowing full well that ‘reach’ is not the problem. While each of the three presentations in the session provided useful information (you will find links to their abstracts through the last page link), they focused on conducting formative research and developing more toolkits for physicians. I had read these papers before the conference and was ready to exercise the chair’s perogative to make some comments at the end of their presentations. Here are some of the points I made and that you might consider when the subject of prioritizing HCPs or conducting outreach to them [...]
2014-09-25T08:07:03-04:00Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group pledged yesterday to cut beverage calories in the American diet by 20% by 2025 through promoting bottled water, low-calorie drinks and smaller portions. From The Wall Street Journal, “Under the voluntary agreement…the...Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group pledged yesterday to cut beverage calories in the American diet by 20% by 2025 through promoting bottled water, low-calorie drinks and smaller portions. From The Wall Street Journal, “Under the voluntary agreement…the companies said they would market and distribute their drinks in a way that should help steer consumers to smaller portions and zero- or low-calorie drinks. They also have committed to providing calorie counts on more than 3 million vending machines, self-serve fountain dispensers and retail coolers in stores, restaurants and other points of sale.” E.J Schultz at AdAge added: “Marketing could play a key role in the effort, with the beverage companies saying in a statement that they will 'engage in consumer education and outreach efforts to increase consumer awareness of and interest in the wide array of no- and lower-calorie beverages and smaller portion sizes available.'"AdAge reports that the companies would also put special emphasis on communities where there is less access to lower-calorie beverages. They may, for example, feature only reduced-calorie beverages at highly trafficked store areas such as checkout displays. Communities in Los Angeles and Little Rock, Ark., are expected to be the first places where these targeted efforts will occur.The press release from the American Beverage Association also notes: “Each beverage company may undertake additional activities including: introducing and expanding new lower-calorie products and smaller-portion packages; product placement such as end aisle and checkout displays featuring only reduced-calorie beverages; merchandising efforts such as repositioning reduced-calorie beverages on shelves; providing coupons and other incentives promoting no/lower-calorie options; and taste tests/sampling programs in and out of store.” [Ed Note: I’ll underscore the ‘mays’ that are embedded in many of these promises.]This news can be either welcomed or criticized. Who better than the marketers of these products to put their energies into ‘doing the right thing’ and making a contribution to reducing the obesogenic environment in the US? For example, in an analysis of the association of soft drink consumption, overweight, obesity and the prevalence of diabetes in 75 countries, it was found that a 1% rise in soft drink consumption was associated with an additional 4.8 overweight adults per 100, 2.3 obese adults per 100 and 0.3 adults with diabetes per 100. These findings were consistent across low- and middle-income countries as well.Another perspective could be more cynical: are these companies trying to put a PR spin on what is already a losing cause for many of their products? Mike Esterl in the WSJ article highlights that soda's share of U.S. beverage consumption peaked at 29.6% in 1998 and stood at 23.1% last year. "Consumption trends are moving in this direction already, so they might be promising something that will happen no matter what they do," said Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, in USAToday. Related to this point of corporate self-interest, not social responsibility, is the question of whether focusing consumers on choosing smaller containers will actually boost their bottom-line. There[...]
2014-09-20T11:41:44-04:00What should be the minimal requirements for someone who wants to learn about and practice social marketing? That discussion has been bounced around the field for many years, and yes, everyone has an opinion. The good news is that with...What should be the minimal requirements for someone who wants to learn about and practice social marketing? That discussion has been bounced around the field for many years, and yes, everyone has an opinion. The good news is that with the emergence of the International Social Marketing Association, Australian Association of Social Marketing, and the European Social Marketing Association there are now platforms on which to develop consensus about these and other issues (such as the recently formulated Consensus Definition of Social Marketing). Yesterday, following similar actions by the AASM and EASM, the Board of the iSMA gave its final approval to what these basic competencies should be. The text of the document that was approved by all three Boards follows. The academic competencies for social marketing outlined in this document are intended as guidance for instructors of academic courses and designers of academic and nonacademic certificate programs in social marketing. They provide a set of participant-focused benchmarks for the development of course curricula and certificate completion requirements. These competencies are not meant to prescribe or restrict the content of academic social marketing degree programs. It is anticipated that degree-granting programs in social marketing may have more competencies than are outlined here. The development of these competencies was formally begun at a collaboratory held at the Social Marketing Conference in Clearwater Beach, FL, USA in June, 2012. Since then, the full list of competencies generated by that discussion have been reviewed and revised by the AASM, ESMA and iSMA Boards of Directors. The iSMA Board approved this version September 19, 2014. The ESMA and AASM approved them earlier in September 2014. It is planned that these competencies will be revisited in 2016 and potentially revised. ACADEMIC COMPETENCIES IN SOCIAL MARKETING (September, 2014) Upon completion of a social marketing certificate or academic course, a participant should be able to: Describe social marketing to colleagues and other professionals and differentiate it from other approaches to influencing behaviors and social change. Work with colleagues and stakeholders to identify community, state, province, national, regional, and/or international priorities, and identify those for which a social marketing approach may be appropriate. Identify and segment populations and select appropriate, high priority segments. Prioritize and select measurable behaviors (not just awareness or attitudes) of individuals, organizations and/or policy makers to influence. Design and conduct situational analysis and formative research, employing mixed methodologies needed to understand current audience barriers and benefits, as well as competing behaviors and direct and indirect competition. Select and apply relevant social marketing, behavioral, exchange and social science theories, models, frameworks and research to inform development of a social marketing strategic plan, one that meets the needs and wants of the intended audience. Create an integrated social marketing mix strategy that extends beyond communications only campaigns, with consideration of all appropriate evidence-based tools and theory needed to influence a desired behavior. Critically reflect and [...]