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Social Marketing Theory Cheat Sheet by

How socially valuable inform­ation can be promoted
social     marketing     theory


Social marketing theory is a collection of theories that focus on how socially valuable inform­ation can be promoted. This theory has been used by social and welfare organi­zations to help promote or discourage various behaviors. The theory is admini­str­ative in nature in such that it seeks to outline a framework that can be used to design, implement and evaluate inform­ation campaigns. The target audience is identified based on their inform­ation need. Once this is done inform­ation is packaged and distri­buted in a manner that will be easily accessible to the intended audience.

1. Creating Audience Awareness

When there is a need to promote any new idea, person or behavior, the first step is to create awareness that such a new concept or individual exists. Awareness is created by using all available channels at one’s disposal like news media and even new media like the internet. One of the easiest ways to create awareness is having a saturation television campaign. But the drawback is that’s a costly affair. The benefit of using newer media on the other hand is that a wider range of audience can be reached out to. The use of internet helps reach younger audience who may not read newspapers or depend on television for inform­ation

2. Targeting the Right Audience

When dissem­inating messages, it is important to first identify the audience that requires the message and then finding the most efficient means of reaching them with the message. This helps cut costs and ensures higher levels of audience penetr­ation. For example, if the message is intended for old people, using the internet to spread inform­ation would be a waste of time as most elderly people do not use computers. A more effective way would be to use radio and television to get the message across.

3. Reinforce the Message

When people receive a new message once, they tend to forget it easily. It’s therefore necessary to reinforce the message by repeatedly ensuring that indivi­duals are exposed to the message from different channels. Promoting the media in various mass media, going door to door, holding group discus­sions, having debates on television are ways in which messages can be reinfo­rced. People can eventually change themselves as agents when they start spreading the message that they have received from others.

4. Cultivate Images or Impres­sions

When the audience is not interested in the person, product or service being promoted, they will not seek out any inform­ation about them. In such a scenario, image advert­ising is used. Here recogn­izable and easily unders­tan­dable images are shown and the new product or service is shown in relation to that image. This helps create a favorable setting for promoting the new product. For example, watching an old couple reminisce about their college days and romance while sipping a hot cup of coffee is a tactic where a familiar event is used to attach happy emotions to a new coffee product, thus developing its image.

5. Stimulate Interest

To make audience seek inform­ation, it is necessary to grab their attention and stimulate interest. Once this is done, inform­ation should be made easily accessible to the general public. Dramatic events or unexpected actions help capture the interest of the audience. A politician photog­raphed cleaning a beach helps drive home the point that he cares for the enviro­nment. A dish washing product that claims one bottle will clean a thousand plates could organize an event where a thousand or more plates are washed in real using a single bottle. This event could be promoted as breaking the Guinness Book of World Record and immedi­ately causes people to become interested in the product. Similar ideas could be used to further social welfare schemes and products.

6. Induce Desired Result

Once inform­ation has reached the intended audience, efforts should be taken to ensure that the desired decision is arrived at. A campaign against smoking needs to ensure that people stop smoking. A new product being introduced should result in actual sales or usage.

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