“Yes, my dear love, you have changed my life so!!!! I pledge my heart, my soul…” OH, hello!! Just starting my celebration of a very significant anniversary! The 40th Anniversary of Kotler and Zaltman’s 1971 article in which they coined the phrase social marketing! Social marketing’s ruby anniversary! Come celebrate with me!
My own love affair with social marketing only goes back 14 years, and I was a reticent lover at first. It took four exposures before my feet were swept out from under me. (The usual excuses: “Social what? Didn’t the Berlin Wall just fall?” “Well, that is interesting, I suppose, but it sure seems like a lot of work!” “Could you make this subject ANY dryer?!”)
BUT BOY, when I fell, I fell hard! It was like the skies opened up and a silver platter came floating down with all these wonderful ways to make the lives of people better and make the world a better place! AND I HAVE NEVER LOOKED BACK!
And I am not the only one who has had this crush! Look at these “love letters” (I know I will miss counting something here!):
- A newly formed international social marketing association
- 2 international list serves (one at least 15 years old, with 3,000+ members)
- At least 6 conferences in 5 countries (including one in its 21st year)
- 2 dedicated journals
- 10+ textbooks
- Curricula in multiple colleges (20 and counting…)
- 6+ major firms and non-profits
- Social marketing centers in Scotland, Canada, Poland & Australia
- Use by national governmental agencies in the US & the UK
So, why have I remained so smitten? Just some of the reasons I am willing to divulge…
Marketing expresses a basic quality of what it is to be human, dating back to our ancestors, when the tribe by the river had plenty of fish but no way to cook them, while the tribe on the hillside had plenty of wood for cooking fires, but no tasty fish…then they got together and exchanged wood and fish.
It gets us out of our interventional silos and provides a logic model to tie together all of our interventions (services, outreach, education, advocacy, products, technology, policy and environmental change).
You get to meet some way cool people, who are all pulling on the same oar to make the world a better place!
I found my heart's desire, my vocation (as in the Latin, voco, vocare, “to call").
“…Yes, my dear love, you have changed the world so! And so, my darling, I re-pledge thee my troth for the next 40 years…! And you who witness this, will you be there, too?!