*With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
It is the time of year again when I do quite a few presentations about social marketing for classes and conferences. Questions inevitably come up about how I got into social marketing, what I like about it, etc. I always have to confess that I fell madly in love with social marketing. I thought it would be a good time to confess my love here, too--and why!
- Social marketing gives me a 360 degree view of the causes of a problem and potential solutions.
- Social marketing provides a logic model that links together all of my interventions.
- It makes me think in terms of barriers and benefits of behavior--which I think are the quintessential determinants of all behavioral choices (and which I think is brilliant!).
- Because of this, it breaks down our "intervention silos" ("We have to raise awareness," "Policy change is the only way to go," "Dear 'ol Professor Whosit taught me this," "I heard this at the last conference"), and opens up the intervention landscape to what will move the needle on behavior change.
- Social marketing is a mindset and a process. Thus, it is portable to any setting, applicable to any problem, and usable regardless of my resources.
- Because it is based in commercial marketing, which is always evolving, it keeps me on the cutting edge of what works (and thus is fun, because there is always something new to learn).
- Marketing reaches people and locations health and human service programs deem "unreachable."
- It allows me to meet and work with some very way cool people--who are passionate, very willing to share, and pulling on the same oar to make the world a better place.
- It brings together so many, many of my skills and interests and gifts.
O la la! Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?! It was not always this way. The first time I was exposed to social marketing I thought, "Isn't socialism dead? Didn't the Berlin Wall just fall?" The next two times I was exposed I thought, "Well, that is interesting, but it sure seems like a lot of work." Then the fourth time...sigh...I heard Carol Bryant, from the University of South Florida, talk about it. The key went in and turned. The heavens opened (pretty literally, but social marketing as a mystical experience is another post!), and I felt like I had just received a silver tray with all these goodies on it--goodies to help me finally understand why all my good communications didn't always work, goodies to understand why people do or don't do things, goodies to help me have a lasting impact for good. I began the journey of discovering my heart's delight...sigh...
...Social marketing, it is my soul craft!