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The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies, 7 Volume Set by Fabienne Darling-Wolf, Radhika Parameswaran, Erica Scharrer, Vicki Mayer, Sharon Mazzarella, Kelly Gates, John Nerone, Angharad N. Valdivia

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25

Effects of Social Marketing

Potential and Limitations

Michael D. Basil

ABSTRACT

Many efforts to improve people's health behaviors have employed communication campaigns. A related approach, but more extensive, termed “social marketing,” applies commercial marketing methods to health and other social goals by trying to shape people's behaviors through facilitation and reward. Social marketing is limited by existing beliefs, social forces and other structural factors, and to the extent that we cannot develop viable products or solutions, it cannot really be employed. A review of research suggests that social marketing is used in different ways around the world. This evidence, as well as the primary research of the chapter author, suggests that social marketing is most effective when it goes beyond information and fear to find ways to make the performance of those behaviors easier, when it finds ways to fit within the context of existing beliefs and finds ways to work out solutions that are amenable to the range of consumers and constituents.

Communication and Information Campaigns

Many efforts to improve people's health behaviors have employed communication campaigns. Most typically this has involved the use of the mass media and other forms of communication to promote health behaviors (see Chapter 24, this volume). The historical basis of this approach can be traced to “information campaigns” in the 1940s (Hyman & Sheatsley, 1947). Over the next few years many communication ...

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