Last month I shared gems of wisdom from the founding fathers of social marketing. In this post, I offer up more of the rich content from USF--this time, comments on the current state of the field from three practitioners: Keith Goodman, Alliance for Climate Protection, in Washington, DC; Carol Bryant, founder fo the USF conference (whom I call the "godmother" of social marketing in public health); and Jeff French, CEO of Strategic Social Marketing, Ltd., and former director of Britain's National Social Marketing Centre.
- Government needs to do audience research for their program. They don't understand this (a recurring theme at the conference was the federal gov't. in the US not getting marketing--sm1guru)
- Technologies used in social marketing (e.g., mass media, social networking) are just tools
- We need to provide benefits for behavior, such as "bragging rights" through easy access into Facebook or Twitter; remember the importance of making the behavior fun
- We have the opportunity to "pile on benefits"
- We need to address the outer circles of the socio-ecological model
- Community-base social marketing has three major facets: tapping into local wisdom and sharing control; using the socio-ecological model; using social marketing basics
- Community members (i.e., the "target audience") bring tremendous local knowledge
- Sharing the social marketing process and the ecological model enables the community to make the local knowledge actionable
- We need to "get out of our social marketing ghettos," and talk to others about social marketing
- We have problems in promoting social marketing: 1) definitional and branding problems; 2) not enough proponents, and they are unevenly distributed; 3) lack of alignment with organizational strategies--social marketing is viewed as a third level of activity
- We need to get strategic, and influence policy and evaluation
- We need to develop: 1) standards and codes; 2) social networks of practitioners; 3) an academic evidence base with research and case studies
- There are opportunities in the demands for citizen-based solutions for social problems
The three take-home messages for me are that we need to: 1) focus much more on providing benefits; 2) open up our practice to the communities in which we work; 3) shore up the field academically and structurally. What struck you in the remarks? What ideas do you have about how to act on these observations? I invite you to examine your own practice of social marketing, and see how it stands up against the comments above. Are you in good shape, or do you have work to do?