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Social Marketing Theory

Dhanashree Patane Mar 11, 2020
Social marketing theory is a combination of theories that include commercial marketing strategies and techniques. Get a glimpse on its major aspects in more detail here.
Human behavior gives rise to a social environment. The nature of this environment has two parts. Just like yin-yang, there is a good and there is a bad social culture. The aim of this article is to focus on the reasons / causes of the bad or harmful social behavior, and eradicate it to spread good will, good attitude, and a better social nature among the people.
Social marketing means to analyze, design and implement the ideas that will affect the social mass, individually and socially as well. This medium is the change that influences the economic, social, physical and emotional circle in an individual or in a group. It follows and addresses these issues by theories and principles used in commercial marketing.

Social Marketing

It is deeply influenced by the marketing philosophy, that people will make efforts to change their behavior, thinking and attitude, if they perceive the give and take between the social marketer and them of good value to their investments. The concept is just like other commercial marketing or profitable marketing that convinces people to buy the product.
It focuses on the concepts like research, the structure of ideas, market segmentation, communication, execution and provision of their services. Unlike commercial marketing that profits the marketer or producer, social marketing profits the consumer / audience. The primary goals include welfare, safety, security, environment and awareness. It strongly determines to bring out behavioral changes and practices for good.

Social Marketing Principles

This theory relies on basic principles, we can term them as the four Ps - Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Let us understand a little more about these techniques and their nature of work.
  • Product: Products in social marketing plan can be described in two parts- 1. Tangible products like some 'thing', for example, oral contraceptives, vaccines, condoms etc. and 2. Non tangible (conceptual) products like behavior, addictions, attitudes, for example, eating fruits and vegetables for good health, quitting smoking etc.
It is important to understand the needs, demands and the nature of the issues to mold them in products. Effective research plays an important role here.
  • Price: The economic definition of price contrasts the social marketing meaning of price. Here the price refers to investment by the consumer/ audience. This investment or price can be non monetary like efforts, time, psychological and social costs, the embarrassment and guilt, the feeling of not being able to enjoy a certain habit, etc. 
The price the consumer has to pay, should not be higher than the benefits that he will reap from the product. Low costs ensure the selling of the product. The strategy should convey the benefits being of full value to the cost or price the consumer pays, this will draw more audience and hence the sale.
  • Place: The distribution of products requires a platform to ensure good and smooth distribution. To make the product reachable and available to the consumer, a wide and effective platform should be chosen. 
For tangible products, place means the method of distribution, whereas for non tangible products a better platform is achieved, as the place can be in house demonstrations, shopping malls, public places, offices, and other media options. The place should be visible to your consumer, as they will not hunt for your products and messages.
  • Promotion: Selling of a product hugely relies on its promotions. In social marketing, promotions means the various methods used to create visibility of the product. This can be closely related to promotions of commercial marketing as well, where various streams are used for promotions. 
Examples of promotions are using advertising, media events and programs, coupons, etc. A large view of promotions is gathered by advertising, public relations, personal selling and encouragement by the media. Enhancing the product value, creating and sustaining the market position of the product also is a major responsibility in promotions.
Apart from these main principles, other factors like funds for the product and campaign, partnerships for wider and better social marketing, policies that mark the standard of social marketing, are also an integral part of social-marketing theory. Social marketing examples are strikingly visible in health care and social awareness sectors today. They have almost covered a lot of issues and have been successful in resolving them as well.
We know the need for social marketing today. It is active participation in being the marketer or even the consumer that makes a responsible social human network. Remember, 'You have the power to make a difference'.