Tips on How to Develop a Successful Social Marketing Campaign

In my most recent social marketing workbook , I have a section that gives readers

a few  tips on how to develop a successful social marketing campaign. Hope you find this  useful.


  • Specify the desired objective.
  • Specify the desired action required (call to action)
  • Focus on personal relevance of issue to each member of audience.
  • Adapt creative style to specific audience.
  • Communicate benefits & focus attention on immediate, high-probability consequences of positive behaviour.
  • Portray people with which members of target group can identify.
  • The messenger in many cases can be much more important than the message.
  • Celebrities and popular spokespersons can be effective to change social norms ( however you need to be careful as there can be unforeseen risks)
  • Positive reinforcement can be effective.
  • More emphasis is needed in creating a climate conducive to social change.
  • “Blame the victim” approach hurts credibility of social marketing.
  • Upstream approaches and strategies help credibility of social marketing.


  • Play on emotions.
  • Do not be moralistic. Guilt messages work less well, however can be effective in certain circumstances
  • Pity appeals and altruistic appeals do not work well
  • Humour can be difficult. Use it with caution

When speaking to youth:

  • Do not highlight that communication came from an authority.
  • Do not present adult viewpoint, or lecture.
  • On line communications ,  especially social media key tactic and approach to reaching audience .
  • Use self-confident, attractive actors in  television advertising  that look a few years older than the target.
  • Do not show high-risk youth in negative light.
  • Do not talk over youth heads or talk down to them.
  • Make sure you communications is honest and unbiased; this will lead them in making informed decisions

Demonstrate the desired behaviour:

  • Showing the desirable behaviour serves as a guide to appropriate behaviour.
  • Promote alternative behaviours as substitutes for undesirable present behaviours.
  • Examples: designated driver in drinking and driving campaigns, or suggesting daily actions as ways to be physically active (use stairs, not elevator) sell benefits of mass transit rather than car.

Multi-Year Consistency in Theme:

  • Consistency is required to move target audiences through the various “stages of change”.
  • Variety in creative approach from one period to the other and one group to the other is required to keep the attention grabbing power of the campaign (however message has to be consistent)

Additional tips:

  • Formative research and tracking are essential
  • Strategic alliances are extremely important, but you must have guidelines and policies
  • With rare exception only long term multiyear campaigns can produce measurable changes…but management/funders want immediate results
  • Social Marketing campaigns need to achieve a high status on the media, political and social agendas creating a favourable environment for social change.
  • Educational products, proactive media relations need to be integrated into marketing campaign