by Dr Samanthika Gallage
In my day to day life, I always hear people say that marketing is all about selling, it is about creating demand, it is about manipulating consumers by corporations to make profits. Do you think the same? Without a doubt marketing is powerful and it has a strong convincing power. Do you think marketing can use this powerful discipline for a greater good in the society?
In 1952, G. D. Wiebe raised the question “Why can’t you sell brotherhood like you sell soap?” What do you think? Do you think we can sell brotherhood like we sell soap? Decades ago a few marketers were inspired by this idea and started seeing marketing in a different light and they chose the term SOCIAL MARKETING to define this novel approach. In a nutshell, it is an approach of using marketing principles for a social transformation.
Kotler et al. (2002, p.394) defined social marketing as “the use of marketing principles and techniques to influence a target audience to voluntarily accept, reject, modify or abandon behaviour for the benefit of individuals, groups or society as a whole”. It has gained much attention from scholars and practitioners over the years. Most of the developed and developing countries have benefited from social marketing interventions in addressing problems such as excessive drinking, smoking, obesity, HIV and other diseases.
There have been various successful social marketing campaigns such as
- “Go sober” to promote alcohol abstinence while raising funds for McMillan cancer support.
- “know your limits campaign” to promote responsible drinking.
- “Headsup” campaign to promote health and well-being among men.
- Change for Life for health prevention
These campaigns have marketing tools and techniques to persuade consumers to make healthy choices and thereby to encourage a social transformation. This sub discipline and faces many challenges due to lack of funding, lack of understanding, contextual issues etc. Yet, there is more room for improvement, new knowledge to fight back with these challenges. It has made a good progress over the last 50 years and there are more social marketing researchers (like me) and practitioners out their trying to use this powerful technique for a greater good of the society.
If you are interested in any research collaborations or projects or even a chat about this concept please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr Samanthika Gallage 01782 29 4352