Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing principles – alongside other techniques – to help achieve positive change in people’s lives. Put another way, if fizzy drink companies can influence young people to buy a can of ‘pop’ – then the same techniques can be used to promote safe sex.
People’s behaviour is complex. The most effective way to encourage behaviour change could be via a communications programme, but it’s likely that other changes may also be needed – such as new or reshaped products and services.
We have our own brutally simplistic process (4e) which distills all the different social marketing models and theories. Theory is important – but changing people’s behaviour can’t be delivered just by following a text book. Real innovation, trying out brand new ideas, and rigorous delivery are just as important.