What is Social Marketing? 

Social Media Marketing University

Graduate of Social Media Marketing University

The health communications field has been rapidly changing over the past two decades. It has evolved from a one-dimensional reliance on public service announcements to a more sophisticated approach which draws from successful techniques used by commercial marketers, termed “social marketing.” Rather than dictating the way that information is to be conveyed from the top-down, public health professionals are learning to listen to the needs and desires of the target audience themselves, and building the program from there. This focus on the “consumer” involves in-depth research and constant re-evaluation of every aspect of the program. In fact, research and evaluation together form the very cornerstone of the social marketing process.
Like commercial marketing, the primary focus is on the consumer–on learning what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be producing. Marketing talks to the consumer, not about the product. The planning process takes this consumer focus into account by addressing the elements of the “marketing mix.” This refers to decisions about 1) the conception of a Product, 2) Price, 3) distribution (Place), and 4) Promotion. These are often called the “Four Ps” of marketing. Social marketing also adds a few more “P’s.” At the end is an example of the marketing mix.

The social marketing “product” is not necessarily a physical offering. A continuum of products exists, ranging from tangible, physical products (e.g., condoms), to services (e.g., medical exams), practices (e.g., breastfeeding, ORT or eating a heart-healthy diet) and finally, more intangible ideas (e.g., environmental protection). In order to have a viable product, people must first perceive that they have a genuine problem, and that the product offering is a good solution for that problem. The role of research here is to discover the consumers’ perceptions of the problem and the product, and to determine how important they feel it is to take action against the problem.

“Price” refers to what the consumer must do in order to obtain the social marketing product. This cost may be monetary, or it may instead require the consumer to give up intangibles, such as time or effort, or to risk embarrassment and disapproval. If the costs outweigh the benefits for an individual, the perceived value of the offering will be low and it will be unlikely to be adopted. However, if the benefits are perceived as greater than their costs, chances of trial and adoption of the product is much greater.
In setting the price, particularly for a physical product, such as contraceptives, there are many issues to consider. If the product is priced too low, or provided free of charge, the consumer may perceive it as being low in quality. On the other hand, if the price is too high, some will not be able to afford it. Social marketers must balance these considerations, and often end up charging at least a nominal fee to increase perceptions of quality and to confer a sense of “dignity” to the transaction. These perceptions of costs and benefits can be determined through research, and used in positioning the product.

“Place” describes the way that the product reaches the consumer. For a tangible product, this refers to the distribution system–including the warehouse, trucks, sales force, retail outlets where it is sold, or places where it is given out for free. For an intangible product, place is less clear-cut, but refers to decisions about the channels through which consumers are reached with information or training. This may include doctors’ offices, shopping malls, mass media vehicles or in-home demonstrations. Another element of place is deciding how to ensure accessibility of the offering and quality of the service delivery. By determining the activities and habits of the target audience, as well as their experience and satisfaction with the existing delivery system, researchers can pinpoint the most ideal means of distribution for the offering.

Finally, the last “P” is promotion. Because of its visibility, this element is often mistakenly thought of as comprising the whole of social marketing. However, as can be seen by the previous discussion, it is only one piece. Promotion consists of the integrated use of advertising, public relations, promotions, media advocacy, personal selling and entertainment vehicles. The focus is on creating and sustaining demand for the product. Public service announcements or paid ads are one way, but there are other methods such as coupons, media events, editorials, “Tupperware”-style parties or in-store displays. Research is crucial to determine the most effective and efficient vehicles to reach the target audience and increase demand. The primary research findings themselves can also be used to gain publicity for the program at media events and in news stories.

Additional Social Marketing “P’s”
Publics–Social marketers often have many different audiences that their program has to address in order to be successful. “Publics” refers to both the external and internal groups involved in the program. External publics include the target audience, secondary audiences, policymakers, and gatekeepers, while the internal publics are those who are involved in some way with either approval or implementation of the program.

Partnership--Social and health issues are often so complex that one agency can’t make a dent by itself. You need to team up with other organizations in the community to really be effective. You need to figure out which organizations have similar goals to yours–not necessarily the same goals–and identify ways you can work together.

Policy--Social marketing programs can do well in motivating individual behavior change, but that is difficult to sustain unless the environment they’re in supports that change for the long run. Often, policy change is needed, and media advocacy programs can be an effective complement to a social marketing program.

Purse Strings--Most organizations that develop social marketing programs operate through funds provided by sources such as foundations, governmental grants or donations. This adds another dimension to the strategy development-namely, where will you get the money to create your program

Example of a Marketing Mix Strategy
As an example, the marketing mix strategy for a breast cancer screening campaign for older women might include the following elements:

  • The product could be any of these three behaviors: getting an annual mammogram, seeing a physician each year for a breast exam and performing monthly breast self-exams.
  • The price of engaging in these behaviors includes the monetary costs of the mammogram and exam, potential discomfort and/or embarrassment, time and even the possibility of actually finding a lump.
  • The place that these medical and educational services are offered might be a mobile van, local hospitals, clinics and worksites, depending upon the needs of the target audience.
  • Promotion could be done through public service announcements, billboards, mass mailings, media events and community outreach.
  • The “publics” you might need to address include your target audience (let’s say low-income women age 40 to 65), the people who influence their decisions like their husbands or physicians, policymakers, public service directors at local radio stations, as well as your board of directors and office staff.
  • Partnerships could be cultivated with local or national women’s groups, corporate sponsors, medical organizations, service clubs or media outlets.
  • The policy aspects of the campaign might focus on increasing access to mammograms through lower costs, requiring insurance and Medicaid coverage of mammograms or increasing federal funding for breast cancer research.
  • The purse strings, or where the funding will come from, may be governmental grants, such as from the National Cancer Institute or the local health department, foundation grants or an organization like the American Cancer Society.

What is Social Marketing?

  • Social Marketing is often defined as applying marketing principles to bring about public good.
  • While this is a succinct definition, it falls short of the true meaning of social marketing.

Here’s a better definition:
Social Marketing is applying marketing principles to bring about positive behavior change.

Basic Tenets of Social Marketing

  • Identify your audience(s) as specifically as possible.
  • Get to know your audience.
  • Design your strategies based on your audiences’ needs, values, motivators and barriers.
  • Involve your audience in the design, implementation and evaluation of your efforts.
A true social marketing campaign is a campaign that is behavior change oriented.If it is not behavior change oriented, it is not a social marketing campaign.

Getting Started:

Define your audience(s) as specifically as possible…

  • Market segmentation is the process of identifying the audiences you could direct your efforts to.
  • Targeting your audience means choosing who you are going to direct your efforts to.

Use specific strategies for specific audiences…

  • The more effective you are at specifically identifying your audiences, the more specific your strategies can be.
  • The more specific your strategies are, the more successful you will be.

How do I do that???

  • Design strategies that strive to satisfy the different needs, motivators and barriers of each of those segments.

Upstream & Downstream

  • Directing our efforts to bring about change in…
  • Policy makers, legislators
  • City, county and state planners and doers
  • Insurance professionals
  • Others?


  • Directing our efforts to bring about change in the individual…
  • People with arthritis
  • People at risk of developing arthritis
  • Others?

No matter who our audiences are, we need to get to know them so we can Design strategies that will work best given their particular Needs, Values, Motivators and Barriers.
For more important information that is a must have, please call us today at 717.364.9636.


Fun Facts About Facebook

Facebook membership base, usage, and growth

  1. Facebook has 845 million monthly active users globally (December 2011). Half of them logging on daily.
  2. Facebook has 483 million daily users globally (December 2011) – a 48% increase from the previous year.
  3. Mobile accounts for half of Facebook’s user base, with 425 million active monthly users (December 2011).
  4. Mobile monthly active users grew 21% over the last four months.
  5. People that use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users.
  6. Globally, 1 in 13 people are on Facebook.
  7. People aged 35+ represent more than 30% of the entire user base.
  8. The oldest person ever on Facebook was Ivy Bean of Bradford, at the age of 102.
  9. 57% of users are female.
  10. In 20 minutes: 1,000,000 links are shared on Facebook, 1,484,000 event invites are posted, 1,323,000 photos are tagged, 1.972 million friend requests are accepted, 2,716,000 photos are uploaded,  2,716,000 messages are sent.
  11. 48% of young Americans find out about news through Facebook.
  12. 48% of people aged 18 to 34 check Facebook as soon as they wake up.
  13. The average user has 130 friends.
  14. There are more than 100 billion friend connections on Facebook (December 2011).
  15. Facebook is the most popular photo-sharing service. Over 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.
  16. 2.7 billion ‘likes’ and comments per day (Q4 of 2011).
  17. There are over 37 million pages with ten or more ‘likes’.
  18. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
  19. An average time of 20 minutes is spent per visit to Facebook.
  20. The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events.
  21. The average user creates 90 pieces of content each month.
  22. 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook via social plugins every day since April 2010.
  23. Facebook removes approximately 20,000 profiles from the site every day since March 2011.

Facebook financials and ownership

  1. Facebook filed its intention to be traded on the public markets in an IPO that could value it at $100 billion.
  2. Facebook made $3.7 billion in revenue and $1 billion in profit in 2011. Google’s revenue was 10 times higher, at $37b.  Facebook expects its growth rates to level off. Between 2009 and 2010 revenue grew 154% and grew 88% between 2010 and 2011.
  3. Zynga accounts for 12.5 percent of Facebook’s revenue.
  4. Facebook makes the majority of its money through ads. But this proportion has declined from 98% in 2009, to 95% in 2010, to 85% in 2011.
  5. Although Mark Zuckerburg (founder and CEO of Facebook) calls himself a “Harvard Graduate”, he did not actually graduate.
  6. Owning 25% of the company, Mark Zuckerberg is worth about $25 billion on paper.
  7. Zuckerberg’s base salary is $500,000. Sheryl Sandberg made $200k less. From 1st January 2013, Mark Zuckerberg’s salary will go from $500,000 to $1 million per year.
  8. Facebook was initially bank-rolled by Peter Thiel the co-founder of PayPal for $500,000.

Facebook’s global ambitions

  1. 71.2 % of all USA internet users are on Facebook. The USA has the largest Facebook user base, representing 23.6% of the sites total users. This means that about 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States.
  2. Australian’s spend more time on Facebook than any other country, at over 7 hours per month on average.
  3. Facebook has ambitious goals: “There are more than two billion global Internet users…we aim to connect all of them ”, and it is in the process of attaining this goal. Facebook has higher than 80% penetration rates in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela. Higher than 60% in the U.K. and the U.S. 20% to 30%  in Brazil, Germany and India.
  4. But Facebook has been blocked in China, Vietnam, Iran, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Syria and Bangladesh. In China, penetration is 0%. Facebook does not plan on entering China.
  5. Brazil represents the biggest growth region for Facebook (37 million users at the end of 2011, an increase of 268% over the year before). Second comes India (46 million users, an increase of 132% over the previous year).
  6. Facebook is available in 70 different languages.
  7. Over 300,000 users helped translate the site through the translations application.
  8. In 2011, an Egyptian baby was named “Facebook” to commemorate the key role Facebook played in Egypt’s revolution.
  9. An Israeli couple named their daughter after the Facebook ‘like’ feature on 16th May 2011 because they like the meaning behind the word.

Other curiously random facts

  1. Al Pacino’s face was on the original Facebook homepage.
  2. A Facebook employee hoodie sold for $4,000 on eBay.
  3. A couple got murdered because they defriended someone on Facebook (Billy Clay Payne Jr. and Billie Jean Hayworth decided to de-friend Jenelle Potter on Facebook. In response, Jenelle’s father killed them.)
  4. One of Facebook’s early functions was a file sharing service.
  5. The meaning of the term poke has never been defined.
  6. ‘The Social Network’ (a film about the founding of Facebook) won several prominent awards at the 68thGolden Globe Awards, British Academy Film Awards and 83rd Academy Awards in 2011.
  7. Facebook profile reunites lost family members. For example, Tony Macnauton (father) met his daughter (Frances Simpson) after 48 years.
  8. Frito-Lay potato chips official Facebook page created a new world record where over 1.5 million new fans joined its profile page in 24 hour on 11th April 2011.
  9. Facebook was almost shut down by a lawsuit by ConnectU who claimed that Zuckerburg stole the idea and Technology for Facebook.
  10. I’ve been using Facebook since July 23, 2007 and have 4,600 friends and 1927 subscribers.


Fun Facts About Twitter

Most people who read my blog and know me will know how much I love Twitter.  I find it fascinating how Twitter has grown, it really has had an exponential growth in terms of membership, usage and popularity so today I thought I would share with you 50 fascinating facts about Twitter:

  1. 5 years ago Twitter was just an idea with only 3 people working on it.
  2. Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched on the 15th July 2006.
  3. Twitter’s origins lie in a “day long brainstorming session” that was held by board members of the podcasting company Odeo. While sitting in a park and eating Mexican food, Dorsey introduced the idea of Twitter.
  4. The first Twitter prototype was an internal service for Odeo employees.
  5. The original project code name for the service was ‘twttr‘. It was inspired by the name of the site ‘Flickr’ and SMS short codes.
  6. The name was finalised as Twitter (as we know), meaning ‘chirps from birds’ and more relevantly ‘a short burst of inconsequential information’.
  7. The 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival was a pivotal point in Twitters popularity. During the event, Twitter usage increased from 20,000 tweets per day to 60,000.
  8. Twitter had 400,000 tweets posted per quarter in 2007.
  9. In 2008 there were only 3 million registered users and only 1.25 million tweets per day.
  10. In 2009 Twitter had 8 million registered users.
  11. From 8 employees in 2008 to over 400 employees in 2011.
  12. Top 3 countries: US (107.7 million), Japan (29.9 million) and Brazil (33.3 million).
  13. It took 3 years, 2 months and 1 day to tweet to the billionth Tweet.
  14. Today it only takes one week for users to send a billion Tweets.
  15. In March 2010 the average number of tweets people sent per week was 350 million. In February 2011 the average number of tweets people sent per day was 140 million.
  16. The most popular Twitter user by number of followers is Lady Gaga. She has more than 18 million followers. She gains followers faster than Twitter adds new accounts.
  17. When Michael Jackson died (June 25 2009) there were 456 tweets per second (a record-breaker for its time).
  18. The current tweets per second record is 6,939 tweets per second. This was set 4 seconds after midnight in Japan on New Year’s Day.
  19. On March 12, 2011, 572,000 new accounts were created on that one day.
  20. The average number of new accounts per day created in February 2011 was 460,000.
  21. The number of mobile users have increased by 182% over the past year.
  22. There are an estimated 225 million users in March 2011.
  23. In 2010, 25 billion tweets sent and 100 million new accounts were added on Twitter.
  24. The first unassisted off-Earth Twitter message was posted from the International Space Station by NASA astronaut T. J. Creamer on 22nd January 2010.
  25. 92% Reweet due to interesting content.
  26. 64% access through Twitter.com. 10% through Twitter client. 16% through mobile application.
  27. 69% decide who to follow through suggestions from their friends.
  28. The most Tweeted sports moment (and superbowl moment) of all time… @TimTebow game winning Touchdown pass to beat Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs.
  29. Twitter is ranked as one of the ten most visited websites.
  30. Tweets are mostly conversational (38%) and pointless babble (40%).
  31. Demographics of Twitter users: 54% female. 53% no kids. Users range from incomes of £0-30k (17%) to over £100k (30%).  41.5% are aged 18-39.
  32. Twitter is approaching 500 Million Users – Estimated to reach this in 8 days, 7 hours.
  33. Currently, Twitter is growing at over 1.123 million accounts per day, which amounts to more than 13 new accounts per second.
  34. In the 5 years since launching it has attracted significant investment funds with an estimated total capital raising of over $1.3 billion. The most significant investment was Digital Sky Technology in August, 2010, which was at over $800 million.
  35. In June 2011, it was announced that Twitter would be embedded in the new Apple mobile operating system. After the launch of the new Apple mobile iOS5 operating system, Twitter registered sign ups had increased by 300% per day.
  36. 60% of new users are coming from outside the U.S.
  37. 10 tweets per second mention Starbucks.
  38. IBM can predict wait times at airports by crowdsourcing information from tweets. They search tweets for mentions of airports, then send an @reply to the tweeters and ask them to reply with wait times.
  39. Scientists can tell with great accuracy where you are from just by the words you use in your tweets.
  40. People are more inclined to Tweet something negative than positive. 80% of customer service tweets are negative.
  41. Every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in March 2006 will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress. IBM plans to map every archived tweet to Wikipedia, and tag it with sentiment, to make them more digestible.
  42. Twitter has been valued at $8 billion.
  43. 85% of recruiters use Twitter for recruitment.
  44. 81% of users follow less than 100 people.
  45. 61% of all tweets are in English.
  46. 5% of users create 75% of the content
  47. 75% of traffic comes from outside of the Twitter interface.
  48. 66% of questions asked have some commercial intent.
  49. I started using Twitter in 2008 and currently have 58,572 followers
  50. I have spent a record 4 hours on Twitter in one day…