The people who take the time to develop, write, review and publish papers on social marketing in the peer-reviewed literature are some of my heroes. It takes time, careful and deliberative thought, and commitment for an author or collaborators to craft a paper, volunteers to serve as peer reviewers, editors to sort through submissions and select ones that are published, and publishers who make the investment and support the enterprise of building a discipline of social marketing. As the year closes, here is my list of the top 10 papers in social marketing in 2012. Some are selected because they pull a lot of information together into one place, others for their demonstration of unique or benchmark applications of social marketing, and still others because they made me think more about what we are doing as marketers for social good. As we enter the holiday season, and you begin imagining your plans for next year, I hope one or more of these articles will prepare you for doing even better in 2013!
The list of papers is not in any particular order. Note that links to either the Full Text or Abstract of each paper are provided as available. Please contact the author of a paper for full reprint (pdf) requests.
1. Chandon P, Wansink B. Does food marketing need to make us fat? A review and solutions. Nutrition Review, 2012; 70:571-93. Full text
“Overall, all the studies reviewed here clearly show that pricing is one of the strongest – if not the strongest – marketing factors predicting increased energy intake and obesity, and this is why lower-income consumers are predominantly affected by these conditions. Conversely, the power of pricing means that it holds the key to many of the “win-win” solutions…”
2. Skinner K, Hanning RM, Sutherland C, Edwards-Wheesk R, Tsuji, LJS. Using a SWOT analysis to inform healthy eating and physical activity strategies for a remote first nations community in Canada. American Journal of Health Promotion, 2012; 26:e159-e170. Abstract
“The SWOT analysis proved to be a beneficial tool for incorporating local contextual data and community input into the determination of relevant health promotion strategies… In addition to planning programs, SWOT analysis can be used as a framework for evaluation. Therefore, it could be used to both plan and evaluate strategies in the same community, which can act to streamline the intervention process from the initial community analysis to the improvement of evaluated strategies."
3. Yamey G, Schäferhoff M, Montagu D. Piloting the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria: What will success look like? Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2012; 90:452-60. Full Text
“The success of the AMFm will be measured according to the following objectives:
- reduces the price of ACTs to a price comparable to that of other antimalarials;
- increases the availability of ACTs in public and private outlets;
- increases the market share of ACTs among antimalarials;
- increases the use of ACTs, including among poor rural communities.
To provide benchmarks on the potential impact of these supportive interventions, we examined the literature on the social marketing of other subsidized health commodities, to determine how a national-level social marketing campaign can change commodity coverage and use.”
4. Sweat MD, Denison J, Kennedy C, Tedrow V, O'Reilly K. Effects of condom social marketing on condom use in developing countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 1990-2010. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2012; 90:613-622A. Full Text
“There is evidence that condom social marketing can increase condom use, although such evidence comes from studies lacking sufficient rigour. Community-randomized controlled trials of condom social marketing would provide much stronger evidence, but they are expensive, so large-scale condom social marketing programmes are supported by little evidence. More studies in subpopulations would also be valuable to the field. Our meta-analyses did show a positive and statistically significant effect of condom social marketing on increasing condom use, and all individual studies showed trends for a positive effect.”
5. Ngo AD, Alden DL, Pham V, Phan H. The impact of social franchising on the use of reproductive health and family planning services at public commune health stations in Vietnam. BMC Health Services Research, 2010;10:54 doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-10-54 Full Text
“The study finds positive associations between GSF [Government Social Franchise] membership and client volumes as reported by the clinics at the end of the evaluation period. It also documents a positive relationship between GSF membership and self-reported visit frequency. Given growing interest in RHFP [Reproductive Health and Family Planning] franchising in developing countries, this study provides preliminary evidence regarding a new approach - the Government Social Franchise model - that has tremendous potential for effective use of physical and human capital investments to improve RHFP capacity of smaller public sector clinics.”
6. Aschemann-Witzel J, Perez-Cueto FJ, Niedzwiedzka B, Verbeke W, Bech-Larsen T. Lessons for public health campaigns from analysing commercial food marketing success factors: A case study. BMC Public Health, 2012; 21;12(1):139 doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-139 Full Text
“…the major contribution of this study is pinpointing which factors are particularly crucial for success and, more specifically, which ones might be of greatest relevance for the area of nutrition and health. The present study also provides a model that can serve as a checklist for evaluating future public health nutrition campaigns…”
7. Harris JR, Cheadle A, Hannon PA, Forehand M, Lichiello P, Mahoney E, Snyder S, Yarrow J. A framework for disseminating evidence-based health promotion practices. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2012; 9:E22 PMCID: PMC3277406 Full Text
“The analysis evaluates 5 key areas:
- Consumers: the needs of the organizational and individual consumers of the practice(s).
- Competition: the salient alternatives that serve as competition for the practice(s).
- Company: the capacity of the company…to support dissemination of the new practice(s).
- Collaborators: the strengths of collaborators — potential support networks or other partners — that can offer input on the constraints of real-world settings and facilitate dissemination in much the same way that a retailer helps distribute products to consumers.
- Context: the sociopolitical context…
By conducting a full market analysis, the disseminator will be prepared to decide which segments of potential user organizations to target and how to best position the evidence-based practice(s) for these targeted segments.”
8. Wilkie WL, Moore ES. Expanding our understanding of marketing in society. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 2012; 40:53-73. Full Text
“It is interesting that, rather than a single unified presence, there are at least eight organized subgroups at work on research dealing with marketing in society issues, most with their own journals and conferences… Persons who wish to focus on social change and help those managing these efforts (social marketing), persons who strive to assist the poor to develop their own sustainable markets (subsistence marketplace initiative), and others who wish to focus on helping corporate marketers make more ethical decisions (marketing ethics). Another set of researchers focuses on efforts to attain a “fair and efficient marketplace for consumers and competitors,” and in helping government decision makers and marketers devise more efficient and effective legislation as well as regulatory actions (public policy and marketing). Further, some persons are approaching problems within different cultural and political contexts (international consumer policy), and some with different aims and methods (consumer interest economists). Meanwhile, macromarketing is focused on larger questions having to do with marketing as a provisioning system for a society. The newest of the groups, transformative consumer research (TCR), as reflected in its name, stresses empirical research undertakings with consumers, but here with the purpose of promoting actions that will help to enhance quality of life.”
9. Jacobs B, Ir P, Bigdeli M, Annear PL, Van Damme W. Addressing access barriers to health services: An analytical framework for selecting appropriate interventions in low-income Asian countries. Health Policy and Planning, 2012; 27:288-300. Full Text (pdf)
"The analytical framework can be used as a template to identify interventions, or a combination thereof, that can tackle specific access barriers, or to analyse why interventions do not achieve the desired result of increasing access."
10. Biglan A, Flay BR, Embry DD, Sandler IN. The critical role of nurturing environments for promoting human well-being. American Psychologist, 2012; 67:257-271. doi: 10.1037/a0026796 Full Text (pdf)
"This article builds on the 2009 Institute of Medicine report by proposing an integrative framework to effectively organize both research and practical action. Biological, behavioral, etiological, and intervention evidence converges on a fairly simple and straightforward principle: If we want to prevent multiple problems and increase the prevalence of young people who develop successfully, we must increase the prevalence of nurturing environments."
And as a bonus item, and so as not to insert myself into the top 10, you can also download:
Lefebvre, RC. Transformative social marketing: Co-creating the social marketing discipline and brand. Journal of Social Marketing, 2012; 2: 118-129. Full Text (pdf)
“How do we move out of the social marketing box we have placed ourselves in for so long? I suggest it is by first moving towards creating more permeable walls with disciplines that share our motives, values, interests and approach. An openness to new ideas will also occur as we embrace the transdisciplinary nature of marketing and the wicked problems we often tackle. And it also means thinking about what we do in new ways.”
What would you list as the best papers, books and resources you have seen in 2012? Leave a comment here, or continue the conversation at the International Social Marketing Association site. And if you missed the top social marketing papers of 2011.