Last week, three leaders in the field, Nancy Lee,1 Michael Rothschild2 and William Smith3, published a declaration of what social marketing is and isn't on the Georgetown Social Marketing List serve. As they state in their transmission message, this comes from their frustation with "the breadth of interpretations of social marketing and the lack of distinction between what social marketing and other behavior change paradigms purport to do." (Amen sister and brothers!) They approach this by stating: 1) what principles social marketing shares with other disciplines; 2) what principles are unique to social marketing; 3) distinctions between social marketing and other approaches to behavior change (commercial marketing, communications, regulation, social media and non-profit marketing). They also provide a definition of social marketing and state its unique value proposition.
As a sneak preview, they identify these four principles unique to social marketing:
- Value exchange
- Recognition of competition
- The 4Ps of marketing
Whether these strike a familiar chord or not, you can read the whole declaration here: Social Marketing Declaration of Distinctions Final.
The authors note that they are responsible for the declaration, "with insights provided by a number of other colleagues [including yours truly]." They go on to say, "We do not mean to imply that this represents the field or should immediately be accepted as an official stand for the field. We do, though, hope that this is the beginning of a discussion that does lead to some agreement as to what social marketing is and stands for."
I say we should print this out, post it above our desks, and carry a copy in our pocket to share with all our colleagues!
1Nancy Lee is a co-author with Philip (father of social marketing) Kotler of seven books on social marketing and marketing, an an independent consultant. 2Mike Rothschild is Emeritus Professor or Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 3Bill Smith is former Executive Vice President of the Academy of Educational Development.