When Communications Campaigns are labelled Social Marketing Campaigns… you set up yourself for failure

I recently saw a social marketing list serve comment that caught my eye. Some one on the social marketing list serve had asked for examples of social marketing campaigns that have not been successful. As can be expected a number of people sent examples , some quite old that have not been successful but finally Elyse Levine from AED made a very important  point . Here is what she said

“I’m glad Bob brought up the Barrow & Biersteker article as an example of “when we get it wrong.” It’s a good account of how plans for developing an intervention get compromised (no time for formative research) and how plans for an evaluation get detoured (by the priorities of practitioners, among other things). We can all empathize with these challenges, and we appreciate when they get published and added to the discussion. But beyond this, what many of my colleagues found curious was that it was called a social marketing campaign. When the intervention is limited to ads, posters, web banners, and palm cards, i.e. when it touches only promotion from the 4 P’s, it is more correctly called a communications campaign. It seems what went wrong were expectations that a communications campaign without other interventions can change behaviors. More reasonable expectations from communications are to change awareness, increase knowledge and perceived risk! (which were demonstrated to some degree in the findings). When such efforts are labeled as social marketing campaigns and expected to achieve unrealistic outcomes, we set ourselves up for failure. “

One of the things we constantly see at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing are communications campaigns masquerading as social marketing campaigns.

In order to address this problem  the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing developed a social marketing workshop and work book Social Marketing Plan in ONE DAY workshop designed not only for social marketers, but for all those involved in the planning of marketing strategies. It is very relevant to those responsible for efforts focused on influencing attitudes and behaviours that will improve health, prevent injuries, protect the environment, improve money management practices, prepare citizens for emergencies, convince youth to stay in school, and a multitude of today’s issues. It also offers a solution to those looking to acquire value-added skills to improve their expertise in strategic marketing planning.

The workshop takes you through a proven planning process to develop a customized, structured social marketing plan for your organization. It will show you how you can develop a comprehensive social marketing plan on your own, resulting in an ability to implement your initiative immediately.

The information and tools you will acquire through this workshop will not only help you achieve your organization’s social marketing outcomes, but help increase the overall credibility of social marketing through the application of proven marketing concepts and processes.

This workbook has been designed to provide you with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program. While there are many variations in the processes that can be used for developing a social marketing plan, the workbook is based on more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena, and will serve as a useful tool for marketing professionals that want a structured program that encourages critical thinking and action in key strategic areas. All examples used in this workbook are campaigns that we have  personally worked on.

For more information on the workbook and workshops go to www.publicsectormarketing.ca


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