Mistakes to Avoid in Social Marketing (Behaviour Change)

I was recently asked to give a presentation in Toronto to the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling’s (CPRG) symposium, “Social Marketing for Responsible Gambling: Leading the Way to Behavioural Change”. The two-day symposium was organized by member organizations of the Canadian Partnership for Responsible Gambling .

My presentation at the conference was on mistakes I see organizations make when trying to develop and/or implement a social marketing strategy. As a managing partner and senior consultant at the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing  I keep seeing organizations make the same mistakes over and over again and hopefully this post will help those who are developing and implementing social marketing behaviour change campaigns.



  1. Campaigns being run by people who have no skills or training in social marketing

Most social marketing initiatives we see at our Centre seem to be run by individuals that have no background or training in either marketing or social marketing. Can you imagine someone in the private sector being asked to lead a marketing initiative with no formal training in marketing? Not likely, but frequently management /staff and or outside consultants responsible for managing social marketing campaigns have no basic training in the field of social marketing. Many come from the field of communications, public relations or in some cases advertising which may explain why many campaigns are heavy on communications but lack basic marketing principles (e.g. 4p’s) and techniques. Many of the campaigns we see tend to be social communications, public education/public awareness or advertising campaigns but few are really social marketing.

  1. Absence of a social marketing strategy.

This one is hard to believe, but we see clients spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention a significant amount of human resources, with out a social marketing strategy. Sometimes they will mistake a communications or advertising strategy for a social marketing strategy but in many cases there actually is no strategy just a bunch a promotional tactics weaved together and called a strategy. In addition, in many cases they have little or no marketing research so marketing decisions are not based on evidence.

  1. Failing to examine the factors that influence the adoption of a behaviour

To be effective in the field of social marketing and influence behaviour change, marketers must understand what their target audiences perceive to be the barriers to change. Good communication is certainly a key to being effective in social marketing but more often than not, simply improving communications doesn’t move the needle much. The most successful behavior change initiatives focus relentlessly on removing barriers to — and facilitating — desired behaviors.

This takes more than a clever communications or an advertising campaign. Barriers are all those things that stop people from adopting a new behaviour. They take many forms but most are either structural or personal. Personal barriers are often psychological and include things like habits, fears and beliefs. Because personal barriers are just that – personal, it’s important not to assume you know what they are.

It is a good idea to ask your target group what’s stopping them from changing their behaviour by using research methods like focus groups, surveys or phone/online interviews.

Most importantly, listen.  Communication is a two-way process. Many campaigns fail because too much time is spent telling people what they should think or do, rather than asking how they can be helped to do it. Structural barriers can also seem obvious, but even the simplest ones can be missed. Most people want to do the right thing so it’s important to remove the barriers that might prevent them from doing so.

It is also not a good idea to assume people will change behavior when presented with compelling facts. Education and Awareness alone does not lead to behavior change; People do not always change their behaviors because it is “the right thing to do”; People tend to change their behaviors when the benefit to them outweighs the barrier.

  1. Underestimating the power of environment to shape behavior.

Failure to consider upstream social marketing, which aims to change the political, social, legal, and physical or public policy environment by giving messages to industry or government. Traditionally social marketing, as a voluntary change mechanism, has targeted individuals and conceptualized social change as being the sum of individual changes, in recent years the targets of social marketing are aimed at legislative and structural changes to force behaviour change

The upstream concept involves influencing decisions makers and facilitating changes in environments so change (individual or systemic) can take place.  Think of social change as a stream. Typically, organizations do a lot of work downstream – working one-on-one on individual behaviour change.  And this is good. But until norms are shifted and the behaviour is seen as acceptable and desirable, the change can be isolated and short-lived. By moving further upstream and also involving community influencers or organizations whose actions are needed to bring about change, you have more of a chance to create widespread and sustained change.

“No matter how good you are at awareness programs; you cannot reduce problem gambling simply by changing the patterns of behaviour of the gambler. You have to look at how gambling is provided.”

  1. Not paying attention to social norms

Social norms are people’s beliefs about the attitudes and behaviours that are normal, acceptable, or even expected in a particular social context. In many situations, people’s perception of these norms greatly influence their behaviour. Therefore, when people misperceive the norms of their group—that is, when they inaccurately think an attitude or behaviour is more (or less) common than is actually the case—they may choose to engage in behaviours that are in sync with those false norms.

The social norm process works by collecting data on the actual versus perceived behavioural norms. If there is an over-exaggeration of the norms, then social marketing messages and tactics are developed to communicate the true norms that exist. By continuing to communicate the true norms, the myth that everybody is doing it is slowly eroded away until the group realizes that the majority are doing what’s right. When this positive message is sustained for a year or two, the negative behaviours of the group begin to shift downward to reflect the majority behaviour. For example, if university or college students overestimate how much their peers drink or gamble, this misperception of the norm may drive greater alcohol consumption or gambling by students.

  1. Lack of attention to strategic market segmentation

Segmentation is the key to effective social marketing but many campaigns are not targeted and focused. Very few campaigns know how to use social marketing methods for developing segmentation strategies like TARPARE, MASH analysis or know how to apply the stages of change approach to behaviour change.

Most campaigns use demographics and geographic segmentation but with social marketing you are dealing with behaviour change and very few campaigns use psychographic segmentation to develop campaigns.

You choose and prioritize target audiences by brainstorming all audiences; categorizing them as primary, influencer, or gatekeeper; identifying influencers to inspire people to change their behavior—for instance, children in households can influence parents; and finding out who the gatekeepers are—those who can prevent access to your primary audience.

Every audience has influencers: people that they look to for direction. When celebrities, business leaders, community leaders, and the audience’s most influential and connected role models are participating in the behaviour change, it’s hard to resist joining the fray.

Also most campaigns are too broad It seems obvious that it is important to target a specific audience, but there is always the temptation to broaden and broaden the scope of the campaign to reach more people. For example, in gambling it may make sense to segment the gambling population into even better defined groups—or even to tailor messages to individual gamblers based on how and where they gamble.

  1. Lack of marketing research

One of our major frustrations at our Centre is that many organizations running social marketing campaigns do not do audience research, and when it is done, it is not done well. I cannot tell you how many times we are told by organizations that they cannot afford to do proper research but meanwhile spend tens of thousands on implementing tactics.

Social Marketers conduct research to determine current behaviors, identify target audiences, identify barriers and motivations, test concepts and messages, and set baselines for evaluation.

Marketers don’t assume they know how their audience thinks and feels. They do not simply follow their instincts or let their own ideas about what the audience wants drive their programs. Social marketing requires an investment of both financial and human resources. Organizations cannot afford to try out different marketing options blindly; If their campaigns head in the wrong direction, they will have wasted their money

Also social marketers continue to monitor their campaigns while they are running to see if they are working as you may be running a campaign that is not having the desired effect so doing an evaluation after the campaign is completed is important but ongoing monitoring is as important. Because you may be wasting your money

Finally, in many cases organizations do not ask the right questions and then complain about the research.  That is why we created a marketing research template on how to conduct marketing research which is part of our social marketing workbook.

  1. Going first for big change instead of starting with small, easy successes.

You need to break down big changes into bite-sized chunks for people. Start with baby steps: specific actions that people can sustain over time. Early successes lay a foundation for long-term successes.

It’s really hard to simply stop a negative habit, so replace it with a positive one instead. It’s far more effective than trying to go “cold turkey.” Willpower is a finite resource: sooner or later it will be depleted. Everyone’s motivation ebbs and flows; what people need more than willpower is easier behaviors.

The problem with an abstract goal or objective is that there is no specific call to action. It’s important to translate goals into simple, actionable steps. It’s been shown that people are more likely to try something new if it’s similar to what they’re already doing. The use of nicotine gum as a substitute for cigarettes is an obvious example.

When seeking to discourage a specific behaviour think about what can be offered in its place. This step looks at the potential impact of the behavior change. Our advice for encouraging behavior change is to work on one behavior at a time then add others on and go with behavior change suggestions with the highest probability of change.

Also look for the lowest hanging fruit e.g. for those who use the stages of change approach it makes more sense to start with contemplators (individuals who are willing to consider the possibility that they have a problem, and the possibility offers hope for change.) than precontemplators (who are not even thinking about changing their behavior and may not see it as a problem, or they think that others who point out the problem are exaggerating.)

  1. Failure to develop monitoring and evaluation strategies upfront

Marketers start with what they want to accomplish and how they will measure it. Goals are long-term and broad while objectives are measurable ways to reach goals. Be as specific as possible with your objectives, but the process is not rigid. You may need to revise your objectives as you move through the steps.

Use research to determine current behaviors, identify your target audience, identify barriers and motivations as well as baselines for evaluation.

Create a plan before starting implementation of the campaign. You should start thinking about this at step one. i.e. at the beginning of the process. The ideal here is to measure actual behavior change. Decide how you will measure against each objective, set both monitoring and evaluation timelines, and set SMART objectives to measure impact on knowledge, beliefs/attitudes and behaviour.

If you have measureable objectives, evaluation should not be difficult. The one approach that works well for social marketers is the tracking approach. Benchmark surveys are conducted before a campaign to determine knowledge, behaviours, beliefs and attitudes of the target audience. At various junctures, the same questions are asked to the same target audience in a tracking survey. The results of these studies are compared to determine whether the campaign is having effect on the target audience(s).

At our Centre we use a logic model that organizes program evaluative measures into categories that can be measured and reported on using a “logical” flow, beginning with program inputs and outputs, moving on to program effects in terms of outcomes and impact, and ending with (ideally) reporting on returns on investment.

  1. Failure to identify and enlist partners

When developing your tactical plans, it is a good idea to consider how you can expand the reach of your campaign through strategic alliances and partnerships. You may wish to identify specific organizations or simply the types of organizations with whom you will develop alliances.

Clearly, partnerships need to be considered as an integral tool for delivering cost-effective messages to the audience(s) identified for a social marketing campaign.

Look for partners with complementary goals, audience overlap, and a history of collaboration and community involvement. Partners bring new communications channels, money and in-kind resources or incentives, data and/or data analysis, and credibility with your target audience.

When looking for partners, consider those in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors and make sure you have something to offer them. Also look for media partners.

Look for partners with:

  • Complementary mission/goals
  • Audience overlap
  • History of collaboration/community involvement
  • Things that partners can bring to the table
  • Communications channels to the target audience
  • Money/in-kind resources/incentives
  • Data and/or data analysis
  • Credibility with target audience
  1. Seeking approval by committee.

If you can’t agree with your family on what you want to watch on TV this evening, how can you expect a roomful of managers to agree on something as subjective as social marketing? Everyone’s views on entertainment is unique, and the fewer people involved in the creative approval chain, the better. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. In a perfect world (which we do not live in) the best source of approval is the target audience you are trying to influence.

So that’s it, I hope you found the information in this article useful.

 Welcome to the Social Marketing Association of North America

Over the past year, social marketers from Canada and the U.S. have been organizing the Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA). Yes, THE TIME HAS COME for a membership organization serving the professional needs of social marketers in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean/Central America! Get involved and join now!



Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

1. Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of 1-day interactive workshop

2.  Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!


Marketers Need Communications and Communicators Need Marketing


From time to time, practitioners in the field of marketing and communications get into a debate about the differences between marketing and communications and more importantly, about which takes prominence in an organization. First, let’s look at terminology. In order to clarify things, the term communications is somewhat of a misnomer. The field of endeavour is actually called “public relations” but a number of years ago, public relations became somewhat pejorative and fell out of favour. As a result, public relations organizations, especially in government and the nonprofit sectors, started calling what they do “communications”. For the purposes of this article and because of this shift, the term communications will be used.

There’s always been some degree of tension and competition between communications and marketing practitioners, especially when it comes to questions about which discipline ought to be dominant or which contributed more to their organization’s well-being. They also compete for scarce internal resources and for public attention. Some organizations use only one of these disciplines. Others use both. The degree to which they use them, and the specific ways in which they use them varies from organization to organization based on their purpose, size, and history.

Introduction of Marketing into the Public and Nonprofit Sectors

The concept of marketing in the public and nonprofit sectors was a bit of a late-comer. Marketing, up until the early nineties, was mostly associated with business. However, public sector and nonprofit marketing has become, in recent years, a burgeoning field.

For more information, see Judith Madill’s article in OptimumMarketing in Government or Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) article in Optimum The Case for Marketing in the Public Sector. There are also textbooks on both nonprofit and public sector marketing e.g. Kotler and Lee’s book on Public Sector Marketing and Andreasen and Kotler‘s book on Strategic Nonprofit Marketing .

Marketing vs. Communications

If an organization is a public sector or nonprofit organization and sees its primary goal as serving the public, then communications tends to be the more dominant function because building relationships with its publics is its over-riding concern. Most public sector/nonprofit organizations have a communications group or team, involved in public information, community relations, media relations, issues management, community and public affairs and in recent years social media engagement.

On the other hand, if you are a for-profit organization and your focus is the generation of sales, communications tends to be of secondary importance and is normally conducted to support and enhance marketing efforts. In a small company, there might not be a separate and identifiable communications group at all. In a medium to large corporation, you definitely have a good size marketing group with a smaller communications function.

Marketing in a for-profit generates sales of goods and services and directly contributes to the company’s profitability while communications coordinates relationships with various publics in order to gain public acceptance and approval of the company’s activities, including its sales activities.

Many people – even marketing and communication pros – find it difficult to distinguish marketing from communications. Some actually think they’re basically the same thing. Others, especially in the public sector, think that marketing could be useful as an arm of government engaged in selling products and services or involved in social marketing for behaviour change, but do not see the value-added that marketing can bring to the strategic communications function.

Adding to the confusion is the emersion of social media. The revolutionary, user-generated content has softened the formerly strict boundaries between marketing and communications.

Despite the confusion, there are important differences between marketing and communications. The following is a helpful, albeit non-exhaustive, list.

  • Focus. In general, marketing focuses on selling products and services. In the public and nonprofit sectors, it is also used for revenue generation, behaviour change campaigns, selling ideas, programs, and policies, while communications tend to focus on building relationships with various publics.
  • Function. Both marketing and communications are management functions. The two serve different purposes; however, in the private sector, marketing is a line function that directly contributes to an organization’s bottom line. Communications, on the other hand, tends to be a staff function that indirectly supports an organization’s goals and objectives. While in the public and nonprofit sector, we have the exact opposite where marketing usually comes under the communications function, although not always.
  • Target. Marketing’s target tends to focus on the customer/client/end-user. Marketers strive to meet the needs of the customer demands while communications target a range of publics and goals that collectively support an organization’s objectives. Examples of these publics (or stakeholders) include customers/clients/members, the media, employees, suppliers, the community, political leaders and various associations/organizations depending on the topic area.
  • Carry-over benefits. Communications’ major focus is to contribute to organizational success by building and maintaining a positive social, and political environment. Studies show a target audiences’ favorable perception – shaped by positive, well-placed news coverage (likely generated by communications) – benefits and “lifts” an organization’s marketing strategy.

Both marketing and communications play substantive roles in accomplishing corporate goals and objectives. Savvy leaders should learn – and appropriately integrate – marketing and communications into their corporate strategies to better achieve organizational success.

The lines between marketing and communications blur through social media, it’s possible that the fields will continue to have more and more overlaps and similarities. Organizations are using their Twitter streams and Facebook pages to both market themselves and carefully craft consumer perceptions. While media releases and marketing campaigns still show the differences between the two subjects, the new shiny mediums are blending the two together, complementing each other and making organizations more efficient and effective.

 In a Forbes article practitioners were asked to distinguish marketing and communications. Here’s what some marketing and communications-area experts said http://heidicohen.com/marketing-versus-pr-whats-the-difference/

Marketing is more proactive while communications tends to be a bit more reactive. Communications kicks in if there is news to report, a public relations crisis, a community that needs outreach, or a new product/service/program to promote. Marketing can help create responses that communications can then respond to.

The purpose of communications is to build relationships with all stakeholders – not just current and potential customers.  Communications smoothes the way.  It creates a favorable operating climate in which it is easier to market, expand and be viable. As marketing guru Al Ries says, PR lights the fire, marketing fans the flames.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Communications is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics.

All forms of communication should be integrated together – and that includes how you answer the phone, sign off on your email, post to Twitter and Facebook, etc. Communication and marketing should involve all available tools. Service to the public should also be considered part of your overall communications and marketing because if it sucks, nothing else that you say matters.

Effective marketers constantly think from the customer’s / client’s viewpoint and constantly ask, ‘”What’s in it for them?” and then listen with respect to what they say. That’s especially true for public sector and nonprofit marketers i.e.why should someone support your government program or policy or your nonprofit with money or in-kind support or promote your message or buy your products and services?

The truth is, you can’t market without doing a little communication, and you can’t do communications without a little marketing. The end goals—selling products, services, programs, policies or ideas and making people love your organization—are too intertwined: If what you are marketing is poorly conceived, your organization probably won’t be viewed favorably by the public, and if people aren’t connecting with your overall brand, they’re probably not going to buy what you are selling.


Value of Marketing to the Communications Function

To be sure, marketing, when done properly, starts with the audience and works back to a message that will motivate action. The assumption is that if you want someone to take an action, like buying your product, service, idea, policy or program or changing behaviour you need to appeal to THEIR needs vs. your own. You’re trying to gain mind share with an audience absolutely overloaded with information. If you want to own real estate in their brain, you better make your message all about them.

Just as important, a good marketing campaign needs to incorporate messaging that deals with a competitive landscape, taking into consideration that your audience has choices. If you want to excel, differentiation – how you are different from the others – is critical and a key element of branding (for more information see my blog on branding).

One of the factors that leads to a disdain for the marketing function in a nonprofit or public sector organization is ignorance. “Our good work will sell itself” is one of the many delusional beliefs that inhibits nonprofit and public sector organizations from incorporating marketing into their communication function.

Public sector and nonprofit organizations can and should learn something from business. Many companies have started and failed because they believed their brilliance or product excellence would sell itself. It just isn’t true.

Every organization, no matter the sector, struggles with exactly the same things:

  • How to make people aware of their existence
  • How to make people aware of why they should care about their existence
  • How to get people to take action to achieve a goal or mission

In the nonprofit sector, these cannot be achieved by a communication strategy alone. You are competing for the attention of your audience amongst organizations with a similar cause or a different cause, and distractions caused by the challenges of every day life including but not limited to work, family, friends and hobbies.

Effective marketing principles will help you compete effectively for the attention you desire and deserve by helping you to:

  • Better understand the current position you hold within the minds of the audience(s) you want to reach
  • Craft a complete marketing communication strategy around the needs of those you want to pay attention and/or take action
  • Encourage sponsorship by appealing to the needs of those businesses that serve the same communities you do

There is a strong need to educate senior managers in the public and nonprofit sectors about the value and applicability of strategic marketing management principles. This requires recognition across all levels of management of the value of marketing, both in terms of the potential impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs, services and outreach campaigns, as well as the benefits to their audiences.

Within the public and nonprofit sectors, there is wide recognition of the role and value of the communications function and many organizations develop communications plans outside of a marketing framework. This can be explained by the lack of understanding by public sector and nonprofit organizations of the value marketing brings to the communications function. There is clearly an opportunity to broaden the communications function in these organizations to include a strategic marketing mandate thereby re-positioning it as an expanded role and stretching the impact of communications efforts.

Marketing can be used to achieve the vision of better informing and engaging audiences by viewing communications within a broader strategic marketing framework. It can help to drive results in program uptake, program impact and behavioural change. And it can save money by helping executives and program/service managers make informed decisions around investment in their communication resources.

Many in the public and nonprofit sectors identify marketing with selling products, programs or services, or promotion and advertising. Others see the value of social marketing to change attitudes and behaviours. It is true that marketing can assist in generating revenue within these sectors or succeed in changing behaviours, but it can also be a useful paradigm for improving relationships with clients and the publics with whom these sectors interact.

Marketing as a discipline can be beneficial to the public and nonprofit sectors for the following four reasons:

  1. Existing and potential clients are guaranteed to play a major role in developing and implementing a program/product/service;
  2. All program elements are focused on behaviour change instead of settling for awareness alone;
  3. Initiatives tailored to specific segments of the market as opposed to the general public ensure efficient use of limited resources; and,
  4. The application of 4 Ps (product, price, place & promotion) will always ensure that the campaign will move beyond just communications / promotion to being developed strategically for specific audiences.

As both the public and nonprofit sectors continue to try to meet the challenges associated with demands for better and improved service delivery as well as new services and programs with budgetary constraints, new and different models of management and their associated tools and tactics need to be considered to help both sectors deliver more quality, speed, efficiency, and convenience to their audiences. Marketing presents a comprehensive, integrated and innovative approach from which to manage communications resources. The time has come for leaders in both the public and nonprofit sectors to recognize and embrace the lexicon and practice of strategic marketing in their sectors.

Jim Mintz is the Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing where he presently works with a number of public sector and nonprofit clients.


Jim Mintz, Managing Partner / Senior Consultant

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (www.CEPSM.ca)

Tel: 343-291-1131  Direct: 613-291-1137 Mobile: 613-298-4549

Let’s connect on Twitter @jimmintz  Linkedin  Facebook 

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM)

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) offers strategic marketing and communications consulting services developed specifically for governments, non-profits, and associations. CEPSM has an exceptionally strong core senior consulting team that is complemented by a world class network of associates and partner organizations.

Marketing Workshops Spring 2017

Marketing 101 (for Marketers and Non-Marketers)

March 29, 2017

343 Preston Street, Ottawa, ON,

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing. The workshop will teach participants how to develop a marketing  strategy and plan as well as how to transform a government/nonprofit organizations from using the traditional communications approach to an integrated, strategic marketing approach.

The workshop will focus on:

  • An overview of marketing;
  • Systematic processes and strategic elements for developing and implementing an action-oriented strategic marketing plan;
  • How to set realistic, practical marketing objectives and goals;
  • How to evaluate marketing efforts with practical ideas on how to improve execution;
  • How to develop a client-based mindset in a public sector or non-profit organization;
  • How to use market research to support a decision-making framework;
  • How to develop a system for measuring progress and monitoring performance.



Marketing workbooks for Public Sector & Non-Profit Marketers & Communicators


Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. This content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It helps public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

It will be very relevant to those responsible for influencing attitudes and behaviours to improve health, prevent injuries and diseases, protect the environment, prepare citizens for emergencies, convince youth to stay in school, and a multitude of today’s critical issues.

The workbook guides users through the process for creating a customized social marketing plan for their organization that will lead to successful implementation. It also features ideas on how to run a campaign on a very tight budget and the effective use of a logic model to monitor and evaluate your organization’s social marketing initiative. Conference site

To purchase workbook go to https://cepsm.ca/product/social_marketing_workbook/

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!


Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of the course

Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

The world of public sector and nonprofit marketing is rapidly changing. Increasing demands are being placed on managers to adapt to their new environments. The public and nonprofit sectors are adopting marketing approaches to help meet the challenges of complex and difficult mandates and satisfying client needs in the face of significantly diminishing resources.

The need for highly-skilled public sector and nonprofit marketing professionals continues to escalate. These are the people who must effectively bring their organization’s products, services and messages to the marketplace and bring efficiency, rigorous analysis and inspiration to the marketing process. Marketing is proving to be an effective management tool for guiding the evolutionary business processes for government departments, public sector agencies, nonprofit organizations and associations.

This workbook will provide you with an overview of public sector and nonprofit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework. Included will be the exploration of the strategic elements of a marketing plan and how to transform organizations from using the traditional communications approach to an integrated, strategic marketing approach. We will also look at branding which is an integral component in designing the marketing mix.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

How Will I Receive the Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook?

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our Training Page to attend an upcoming Marketing  101 Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of the course.

About the Author: Jim Mintz a marketing veteran with over 30 years of experience is the Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing





The Legacy of Social Marketing for Attitude and Behaviour Change

I recently read an article by Margaret Wente columnist at the Globe and Mail titled The world’s nicest, most law-abiding generation

It got me thinking about the impact that social marketers have had on society since the early 70’s. I am not suggesting that social marketers can take credit for all the changes we have seen over the past 40 years but there is no question social marketers have made a contribution in changing attitudes and behaviours and contributing to a better society.

In the article, Wente states that if you watch a few episodes of Mad Men, sexism and homophobia were rampant. Women faced rampant discrimination and were sexual prey. Everybody drank and smoked all the time. People thought nothing of driving drunk. One of the most shocking scenes showed Don and Betty Draper and their kids going on a picnic – and leaving their garbage strewn all over the grass.

No question that social norms have changed since the 60’s. Since the introduction of social marketing in the early seventies there has been a change in attitudes toward everything from sexism and human rights to littering. Wente states that by almost any measure you can find, people across the developed world today are the least violent, most law-abiding, hardest-working and most tolerant generation who ever lived.

Public disorder of the nuisance variety is also at an all-time low. Spitting, littering, queue-jumping, smoking, urinating and picking your nose in public are all regarded as disgusting behaviours. Even “man-spreading” is now frowned upon.

Kids today tend to be more conscientious and well-behaved. They don’t rebel the way the boomers of the “60’s” did. They get along with their parents and other adults. They do their homework, play organized sports and get involved in many charitable endeavours. They practice safe sex, and seldom get pregnant. Tobacco and alcohol use among youth has declined dramatically. In particular, there has been a decrease in binge drinking.



Consider how we’ve raised the bar on other standards of behaviour. For example, corporal punishment is now unacceptable. Although the problem of bullying gets massive, nationwide attention our children are safer now than they’ve ever been, yet we’re so concerned about protecting them that we’ve demolished playgrounds, equipped the kids with helmets and other protective gear (e.g. compare the gear kids wear today for roller blading to what my generation wore to go roller skating). In addition we made sure that our kids are never out of our sight. Leave your kid alone for five minutes in the car or allow your kids to walk around the block by themselves and someone is likely to report you to the authorities. Do parents let their kids go out on the street or park to play without supervision? I guess the child security message has been overdone.

For the most part sexual harassment has decreased at the workplace significantly unless you work for a military type organization. (Along with heavy drinking connected to work events). Even in the most masculine industries, the stereotype of the corporate bully has all but disappeared. Today, any boss who abuses his position – or other people – will quickly find himself unemployed.

What explains this progress in conduct and morality is hard to say as there are many factors. Wente quotes Harvard psychologist Stephen Pinker who argues that they are simply the continuation of a long-term evolution in behaviour that began centuries ago. Since medieval times, Northern Europeans have gradually grown less cruel, less violent, and more self-restrained… think Vikings. As a society we became more complex, society rewarded people who were more diligent, prudent and mild-mannered, and punished people with poor impulse control.


social-marketing-for-social-good1This may be true, but the barrage of social marketing messages aimed at various audiences in society, especially youth through the media both social and traditional has certainly had an impact.

Quite a legacy!

Let me know what you think.



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Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change