I don’t know. Anyone? But I do know that a social marketer would have fun trying. On the train back from a meeting with members of the CIM social marketing group a friend and I were observing what a great bunch of people they were and how energised we felt from spending time with them. Could it be because, perhaps, social marketers are most likely to believe that change is possible? Continue reading
Tag Archives: social marketing
I’ve been holidaying offline most of the summer and now I’m back to the internet with a vengeance, trawling Google Scholar for examples of how social marketing has been applied to the problem of increasing the use of research by policymakers and practitioners.
It’s slim-pickings so far (anyone? anyone?) but this short opinion piece by Allan Lazar of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows I’m not the only one who thinks the idea is worth pursuing. He makes the point that the average time lag for evidence-based medical knowledge to get into use is 17 years (this statistic is referenced here). Although this is specifically referring to the knowledge from clinical trials, research uptake in other sectors is still too S-L-O-W and unequal in who it reaches.
Time to widen my net, and dare I say it, omit “social marketing” from the search terms I’m using.
I’ve just had a rummage inside the National Social Marketing Centre’s Planning Guide and Toolbox. I liked it so much, it now has pride of place in my ‘Kitchen’. Don’t be put off by having to register; it’s free and very quick to do. Once in, you’ll find the resource is divided into six stages e.g. Getting Started to take you through planning, implementing and evaluating a social marketing project.
I like that the tools are downloadable and editable and include reflective activities e.g. the self assessment tool in Word “Do I think like a social marketer?”.
Nice, clean design to the online toolbox so the visitor isn’t overwhelmed by the amount of material (although it’s clear there’s a lot there if you dig around).
Every few weeks I see a blog, article or listserv discussion about the language of social marketing. And the most common complaint is that the word “marketing” gets in the way of social marketers doing their job effectively. I was teaching about projective techniques recently and it reminded me of the instant and strong reactions I’ve experienced to the word “marketing” from non-marketers:
Manipulative, unethical, inappropriate to our work, communications, postcards, selling, making people do things, selfish, spamming, hot air, etc. etc.
Among the politer responses is a bemusement about what it’s all about and a tendency to associate marketing with the physical evidence of adverts, news coverage, etc. And then the question arises, isn’t it the same as PR or advertising?
Among for-profit marketers, this negative brand is unhelpful, but at least the clients are business-oriented. When the clients are in the public sector, and possibly because they are disenchanted with commercial behaviour, this presents the social marketer with a huge problem – if the key stakeholders don’t accept marketing it can threaten the success of the project or at best, create delays while trust is built.
The choices in this situation seem to be: apologise for the word, as though it were the bad sheep of the family; use a different word altogether and pretend it doesn’t exist; or do try to change the client’s perception? My instinct is to go for the last option. I’m proud to be a marketer and of the power marketing has to change society for good or for bad. If social marketers turn their back on “marketing” then it will never realise its potential. Like a teenager who’s got into bad company, marketing has the potential to make a positive difference to the world, if it is supported, but if we give up on it, because it’s too challenging, then we only have ourselves to blame if the less scrupulous marketers sully its reputation.