"Daniel Pink (2010) has said: 'When the profit motive gets unmoored from the purpose motive, bad things are likely to happen.' Social marketers use marketing to serve the purpose motive.
The first reaction to the idea that marketing can be harnessed for good is often incredulity. Many people have the belief that marketing has a power that intrinsically corrupts and undermines their core philosophy of building a better world. As I will show in this book, that belief is incorrect.
Social marketing has evolved as well-intentioned people searched for innovative ways to address large-scale health and social issues, a search that began with trying to slow population growth in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa through better use of family-planning products and services and reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases in communities in the United States and other developed countries through reducing risk behaviors. The ways in which marketing can negatively and positively affect society have been a long-running concern in the academic community. Much research has focused on questions about applying marketing to social issues. In contrast to other books you may have read in which social marketing is depicted as a series of steps in a program planning process and is buttressed by case studies to demonstrate that it works, this book takes a very different approach.
Social marketing is a discipline that has a variety of viewpoints on theoretical models, a multidisciplinary and substantial research base, and applications in many different fields. In this book I outline how these theoretical approaches have developed and are evolving. Psychological, or individual, theories of change must give way to social and community-based ones if we are to cross the micro-macro gap and have scalable impacts on the wicked problems and puzzles we are faced with in all contemporary societies. Previous social marketing textbooks have devoted little, if any, space to describing the research base of the discipline. Indeed, I have had academic colleagues say that social marketing is a practice without evidence. By the conclusion of this book, you may (finally) have a more positive view of the evidence base for social marketing. And as for the topic of practice, I have shifted its scope beyond employing social marketing to change the behavior of groups and segments of people, and I describe in detail how social marketing can change organizations, including your own, and the ways we think about and do innovation and dissemination - areas that receive little notice in the literature of the field or other texts...
For academics - if you are in a school of business, environmental sciences, public health, social work, or other discipline and are intent on contributing to positive social change, and preparing your students to be effective at it, this book presents a marketing perspective on how to approach health and social puzzles. Yes, there are many other ways of looking at such puzzles, and I hope this book will complement other approaches you use in your work. I also hope that as you read this book, some of the questions I raise might inspire you and your students to develop research studies to more thoroughly investigate these questions...
For students - there are many books to choose from to learn about social marketing. This book encapsulates how I have taught my students, by preparing them to be 'chefs,' not 'cooks.' Most social marketing texts are good at showing you ways to 'cook,' or prepare, a social marketing program with a basic menu of steps and tactics. My aim is higher - to provide you with frameworks you can use to create menus, new combinations of tastes, and most important, to assist you to learn a variety of ways to understand and work with the people you wish to serve…
For change agents - even if you are not teaching or taking a course in social marketing, you can pick up this text and apply its contents to your program and in your organization tomorrow. Yes, it addresses history, theory, and research, but throughout you will also find checklists and practical advice and ideas. One intention behind this book is to help you reflect on what’s missing from your organization’s efforts and also what’s getting in the way of its doing better at doing good. How can your project or organization create more effective, efficient, sustainable, and equitable solutions to public health and social puzzles? How can it address scaling up programs and diffusing (or better yet, increasing adoption of) evidence-based practices and policies? You should find some new ideas about possible answers here.
For managers - whether you work in the private, public, or nonprofit (NGO) sector, if your mission is to solve social puzzles then you will find in this book the ideas that are important for designing, implementing, and evaluating your programs from a marketing point of view. I have carried out much of my work side by side with senior managers in each of these sectors; the questions you have are different from the operational ones other textbooks address. Indeed, the importance of strategic social marketing is a guiding principle for this book. I present a marketing-based, strategic framework for addressing social puzzles that is elaborated in each chapter. You may find the discussions of program monitoring, balanced scorecards, and organizational marketing audits particularly useful. I also dedicate a chapter to the concerns that managers, and people who want to become managers, can or should have when it comes to organizing and implementing big change programs. If nothing else, perhaps this book will help you and your staff to spend more time understanding and really knowing the
people you serve and the ones important to your success...
I hope that many of you will decide to read this book because of your interest in and passion for improving the ways in which you approach changing your own corner of the universe. This book is a distillation of what I have learned in twenty-five-plus years of research and practice in co-creating social marketing. In deciding what to include, and what to leave for another time and place, I have tried to select what is currently important in social marketing, what will matter for the next few years, and most of all, what will improve your ability to innovate solutions to wicked problems. When you finish this book, you will find that the scope of social marketing is broader than using concepts such as the 4Ps and having a set of steps to follow. Indeed, one person who reviewed an early draft of this textbook began their commentary with this story:
'Two frogs met in the woods. One very proudly takes the other to its pond, and shows off the pond. The other frog is very courteous and admires the pond. It tells the first frog that it comes from the ocean, and asks if the first frog would like to see it. They hop through the woods and around a corner to the beach. The first frog sees the ocean - and its head explodes!'
Welcome to my ocean."
From: Lefebvre, R.C (in press). Social marketing and social change: Strategies and tools for improving health, well-being and the environment (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, expected 2013).
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Pink, D. (2010). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.