Here I was, all ready to compose a nice post about using social marketing to address climate change, following up on the
1. First, I read several posts from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service Marketing blog that discussed the confusion in the UK over social media and social marketing. Apparently the press and some members of Parliament are upset over large budgets for social media, which they are calling social marketing. (There should be NO excuses for this confusion anywhere in the
2. Next I read a blog post from ISIS-INC. (a non-profit dealing with sexual health) that equates social marketing with “Facebook and Twitter,” and then goes on to talk about a web-based Youth Social Marketing Toolkit (YSMT), created by the California Family Health Council Infertility Prevention Project and the California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center to help “agencies with limited financial resources...develop a social marketing [read social media] campaign.”
I visited the toolkit. It is nicely developed. It defines social marketing correctly. It defines the 4-Ps, and adds policy. Then it trips up with the statement: “Social marketing is not always a success. If the attitudes and behavior changes you are encouraging are still not perceived as beneficial, acceptable and attainable by the priority population, it may not be worthwhile to develop a social marketing campaign at this time. [“Beneficial, acceptable and attainable”—isn’t that what the 4 Ps are about?!] In this situation, it is better to introduce a behavior change recommendation by developing connections with community and agreeing on a unified goal before planning a social marketing campaign.” It trips up, and continues the long fall throughout the rest of the site by talking about how to do communication campaigns!
3. Next was a post on the web site 4Hoteliers; Hospitality, Hotels and Travel News. It acknowledges the origins of social marketing with Kotler and Zaltman, then says of social marketing: “It delivers a two-way communication link between the consumer/customer and the brand. While social marketing was originally developed from the desire companies had to capitalize on commercial marketing techniques, it has evolved into a more integrative and comprehensive discipline that draws on a wide array of technology, from the traditional media to new media referred to as “’social media.’” It continues to discuss social media.
4. Finally, there was a meeting last week where a colleague of mine says at a meeting, “Social marketing is a way to make communication more effective, right?”
Cue Eduard Monck’s painting, “The Scream!”
How did those of us involved in promoting health, community well-being and positive behavior change around other issues get so enamored with communication and messaging? Do we think just telling someone about something, or to do something leads to their doing it? Do any of us have children?! Are we looking at what works in behavior change efforts? Not only did we “drink the Kool-Aid” on communication and messaging, we tied cement blocks to our feet and jumped in!
I AM NOT “DISS-ING” COMMUNICATION! I am “diss-ing” our over-reliance on it as the panacea for all problems! I am “diss-ing” the confusion of social media and using communication with social marketing.
1. Communication may be a necessary condition for behavior change, but it may not be a sufficient condition;
2. Social marketing is more about removing barriers to behavior, and increasing benefits and facilitators, than it is about communicating;
3. Social media is a communication tactic. Social marketing is a strategic process for effecting social change;
4. Social marketing (and commercial marketing) utilizes a mix of Product, Price, Place and Promotion;
5. If I Hear Someone Mention Messages, Communication or Social Media in the Same Breath as Social Marketing, I WILL KICK THEM IN THE SHINS!
(To be continued…!)