Employees in the public sector are much more familiar with the promotion and communication aspects of the strategic market framework than with the elements of segmentation and strategic market selection, branding and positioning of company products and services for channel and price management. There is recognition of the role and value of the messaging function and many organizations have developed communications plans outside of the commercial framework.
This function is expanding andÂ seo marketingÂ in general can be used to achieve the vision of the organization and to better inform and involve citizens.
The goal is to achieve a program of action and change in their behavior.
In this way, savings are also achieved and targeted investments are made and decisions related to limited resources are made. This role is taken over by social marketing.
“Social marketing is the use of the principles and methods of marketing to exert such an influence on the target audience as to persuade them voluntarily to accept, reject, modify or cease certain behavior in the interest of individuals, groups or society as a whole.”
The main goal of social marketing is to improve the quality of life.
Characteristics of social marketing in the public sector and its specific applications.
Human behavior is always central to social marketing. It is this focus and pursuit of specific goals that distinguishes social marketing from other types. Thus, for example, the teacher may go to rest when he is satisfied that his students have learned their lessons, acquired the habits, and absorbed the new information.
In contrast, the person in charge of social marketing cannot stop his efforts until he is convinced that the target audience actually exhibits the required behavior and does so consistently.
It is this regular behavior of people that distinguishes social marketing from social advertising.Â Advertising can be one of the elements ofÂ marketing communication strategiesÂ , transferring a message to the target audience, but it can rarely give information and, based on this, arouse interest and cause certain actions of people.
In the field ofÂ healthÂ , social marketing is carried out through campaigns to reduce smoking, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, reduce the risk of polio, prevent heart attacks, limit the spread of AIDS, help diabetes patients, prevent the spread of infectious diseases, preventing the reuse of syringes by drug addicts, preventing birth trauma, early detection of breast cancer, preventing unwanted pregnancy of young girls and affecting a number of other medical problems by changing individual behavior of people.
It is used to prevent injuries, for example to address such issues as drink driving, accidents, domestic violence, fire prevention, emergency preparedness, safe firearms, helmet use by cyclists, safety of pedestrians, suicide prevention, industrial injuries, presence of disability and correct use of car seats for young children.
It is extremely important when influencing citizens to ensure the protection of the environment, the emphasis is on such behavior that improves the quality of water and air, protection of water sources, flora, fauna and non-renewable resources.
Social marketing can be used for community development, helping to convince people to sign up to volunteer, mentor young people going to school, read books to young children, donate blood, be foster parents, to participate in public events in cleaning up nature.
Most of the social marketing activities are sponsored by the government bodies – almost all the ministries and agencies under them.
Social marketing also involves non-profit organizations and foundations that primarily advertise the type of behavior related to their mission. Some companies, such as insurance companies, are also engaged in social marketing, urging drivers not to use mobile phones while driving.
The real problem and distinguishing feature of social marketing is that it cannot always be promised to deliver something or benefit customers, especially in the near term.
Taking advantage of prior knowledge of past and current successful campaigns.
Private businesses may have plenty of cash, but organizations that implement social marketing have other resources they use. If you are a manager of companies that do social marketing, you can study or partially copy campaigns that have been developed with time and money from the government administration.
The process of planning social marketing campaigns can begin by using information about similar efforts byÂ public sectorÂ agencies across the country and even the world.
For the planner, this is one of the best and most promising ways to spend working time. In this way, a number of benefits can be obtained: learning about the successes and failures of other agencies, gaining access to the results of various studies, discovering information about unknown innovative and relatively inexpensive strategies, also finding ideas for creative implementation and materials , which can be used in the work of companies.
Target market and readiness to act.
The job of social marketers is to persuade people to perform the behavior they want or to give up the behavior they don’t want. This undoubtedly means that efforts and resources should be directed towards those people who are most likely to make the purchase.
To describe those who are most ready to effect the desired change, social marketing specialists use the ” Stage of Change ” model, which was developed by Prohazka and Di Clemente in the early 1980s and which brings together a number of studies in the last two decades. The original 5-stage model was reduced by Alan Anderson to a 4-stage model:
Model ” Stages of Change “
- Antecedent thought – people have no intention of changing their behavior and usually even deny the existing problems.
- Thinking â€“ people begin to think about changes and the origins of the thoughts that lead them to these conclusions. The reason is that they realize they have a problem and want to solve it.
- Preparation for action – people decide that they will take action and begin to prepare. Some of them decide to behave in a new way, and at some point they begin to demonstrate a certain behavior, but this behavior is not permanent, because it was formed relatively recently.
- Storage – people regularly demonstrate the desired behavior as if they have overcome the problem and learn from their previous behavior.
Employees who use social marketing work with different segments, and the more they are, the greater the response will be, especially if the right stages of Thinking and Preparing for Action are hit .
So, for example, if you are engaged in a campaign for spring cleaning of the country, it is necessary to motivate people to do it and do it not only in the spring, but also regularly and constantly, in order to completely change their behavior and take preventive measures not to it pollutes the environment to make it easier to clean up.
Encouraging a simple, doable type of behavior
In the world of huge information and advertising, companies rarely have the opportunity to anticipate the actions of users and address them at that moment with a specific message. A simple, clear, action-oriented message is most likely to influence the target market.
Even if the people who are ready for change are found, not much time, effort or money should be wasted in convincing them to act. They just need the instructions of the organizers.
To identify and remove barriers to behavior change.
The list of concerns and real reasons why target audience members can’t or won’t perform the behaviors companies want should be seen as a gift. When managers have this list, they are more likely to know what is being said to customers, what needs to be done for them to get them to move directly to the second stage and then directly to action and finally to the last stage.
In many cases, customers for one reason or another stay at the second stage and do not dare to move to the next stage. Reasons for this can be: turning the problem into a habit, doubts about having the power to make a change, or unwillingness to inconvenience themselves.
For those who have reached the stage of action, but whose behavior does not lead to results, they can be very different: from basic concern to the idea that the desired level of behavior is impossible or even ridiculous.
Identifying these barriers can be very simple. For example, it may be sufficient to ask the audience a few questions like the following:
- For what reasons have they not done so in the past?
- What would they rather do instead?
- What might prevent them from doing that very act in the future?
Delivering real benefits in the present.
Benefit â€“ this is what the target audience wants to receive while at the same time ensuring the behavior advertised by the company. In general, this is easy to achieve in theory, but in practice there are a number of hurdles to overcome. First of all, the company must determine the real benefits that the target audience requires.
Bill Smith of the Academy for Educational Development /Washington State/ confirms that these benefits may not always be obvious and that their determination is one of the main problems in consumer behavior research. For example:
“All over the world, health is considered a good thing. Health depends on health care actions, and these actions are important to consumers. People are extremely concerned about not only how they look, but also how they feel in terms of health.
Health is often synonymous with sexuality, youth and freshness. For this reason, many advertisements for physical activity emphasize the achievement of these synonyms of health. These campaigns ramp up in the spring with a focus on showing off people’s beach bodies during the summer holidays.”
Subsequently, attention should be focused on the immediate benefits that can be obtained suddenly as a result of the released and desired by the company consumer behavior. To ensure success, it is necessary to bring future benefits as close as possible to the present for consumers.
Such a principle, for example, has been implemented in the Department of Transportation in the state of Wisconsin and the National Traffic Safety Administration in the United States. The goal of the program was to reduce the number of men aged 21-34 in rural areas who get behind the wheel of their cars. The key idea came when some of the men developed a program whereby men were transported from homes to bars and back with the help of the administration.
The new service is called “Road Crew” and arranges to deliver the men to and from homes and bars, and provides such quick benefits as the possibility of picking up a person who has not drunk alcohol, transportation to various bars, in who amuse other men. At the same time, the service also offers to reduce costs a lot, for example, transportation costs for gasoline or parking the car in a certain place until the morning.
The campaign slogan is: “Road teams will take you home” and the ad highlights the quick benefits of the new service. As a final result, the campaign achieves huge successes in various directions.
To show the costs of alternative courses of action.
In this principle, attention is directed in the opposite direction and the competitive options of behavior and their costs that the company’s target market can choose are highlighted.
Competition in social marketing is manifested in the type of behavior that the company’s target audience prefers to perform, rather than the behavior that the company offers or is most desirable to perform. This competition can be extremely fierce.
For example, in programs to increase physical activity, they can be applied at the workplace during the lunch break; for teeth cleaning – a brochure can be viewed; for the transport of small children using special seats for the purpose – through brochures that show transport on the knees and the risks of this; in blood donation campaigns â€“ to encourage going home to spend more time with family.
After the manifestation of competitive behavior, it is necessary to calculate what the costs of this type of behavior are. These can be the direct costs that are associated with this behavior (for example, lung cancer as a result of smoking) or the benefits of abandoning the behavior offered by the company (for example, the possibility of losing weight as a result of practicing physical exercises). .
This principle imposes the mandatory requirement to show and demonstrate the serious costs that the target audience has to incur in case it chooses the competitive behavior.
Promoting a tangible goal or service to help your target audience perform the behavior you want.
Very often in practice, tangible goals and services are considered as an optional element of social marketing, but in some cases they are necessary to help the target audience to carry out a specific behavior, to encourage it, to remove barriers and to support the desired actions. They create favorable opportunities for the brand and make the campaign more understandable and concrete, providing it with more attention, attractiveness and memorability.
A number of campaigns, some of which are supported by various government agencies, are extremely successful and well-known:
- campaign to clean up the environment;
- separate garbage collection;
- helpline to support people affected by domestic violence;
- campaigns to prevent breast cancer and other diseases;
- campaigns to prevent road accidents.
Use of such non-monetary incentives in order to evoke in the target audience a sense of recognition and appreciation of what has been achieved.
To apply this principle, it is necessary for the company to determine exactly what it can give its target audience in recognition and appreciation of the effort and cost associated with changing behavior – the additional expenditure of time, the abandonment of habits, the creation of additional inconvenience, expenditure of additional funds or moral discomfort.
In these cases, it is necessary to provide a gift to the target audience. These gifts are very often unexpected and have psychological value for customers:
- Special stickers for careful drivers;
- A letter to people who have given up smoking;
- An article about companies that help in any way to clean up the environment, the elderly, the disadvantaged, abandoned children in homes, etc.
- Calls from the school principal to parents who volunteer to help with intra-school events.
- Certificates of congratulations for companies that do not pollute the environment and others.
This tactic gives some competitive advantages. It usually consumes less monetary resources compared to cash prizes. At the same time, it can effectively influence the target audience for future behavior change, just by reminding. One of the important aspects of this tactic is that it can lead to memorization and future change in other people as well.
Add some humor to the message.
Using humor to influence public behavior may not be so easy, especially for government agencies. Sometimes this behavior is unacceptable to the target audience.
There are government agencies for whose campaigns humor is not appropriate. Some campaigns are very complex and the use of humor is important to hide or show their true meaning. In practice, there are also such types of behavior that cause even other feelings.
For companies and government agencies using social marketing, it is important to determine where humor is acceptable to the audience – where it is not compatible with the brand, and where it can create certain feelings and other characteristics that they aim to achieve.
Use of mass communication media at the time of consent by the target audience.
Many managers who use social marketing believe that the ideal moment to address the target audience occurs when its members find themselves on the threshold of choosing between different, often competing, options for behavior.
People find themselves at a crossroads:
The company’s desired behavior corresponds to some criteria that are chosen by the members of the target audience, and on the other hand to the company’s unwanted competitive behavior.
Add obligations and promises.
When companies apply commitments and promises to a target group, it greatly increases the likelihood that members of that group will like the company. Behavioral psychologist Doug MacKenzie-Moore considers company obligations to be one of the main tools that can be used to change behavior and achieve impressive results. In the beginning, it starts with emphasizing non-binding initial promises, and when the behavior of the members of the target audience begins to change, then more serious actions are taken.
The researcher suggests several actions to increase the effectiveness of this principle: offering written and not verbal obligations to the company, announcing them publicly, publicly accepting the obligations as part of a certain social group, not using coercion and striving to make promises and obligations, only when consumers show interest in changing their behavior, using maximum commitment and long-term promises to consumers.
Using reminders and challenging expressions to remind and elicit the desired behavior.
Reminders play a big role in implementing social marketing.Â McKenzie-Moore and Smith, in their book Fostering Sustainable Behavior, warn that such a tactic harms or alters the attitude towards motivation â€“ it simply reminds the target audience of the need to carry out a behavior they have already chosen.Â In such cases, forgetting is the main obstacle.
Reminders, either audible or verbal, can be used for different types of behavior. Very often it takes a number of forms and changes depending on the goals set in advance.
As the researchers emphasize, for messages to be effective, they must be obvious and located in time and space closer to the desired behavior.
In general, social marketing is viewed from the perspective of influencing individual behavior. Strategic focus is on people who have problems, who are predisposed to creating a problem, or who are partially trying to solve their problem.
On the other hand, social marketing could be viewed through the prism of whole organizations.
Alan Anderson in his book “Social Marketing in the 21st Century” describes the role of social marketing in much broader terms: “The vocation of social marketing is to make the world a much more comfortable place to live in for everyone – not just investors or managers , but also for company owners.â€
The current economic conditions have completely changed the rules of operation in both the commercial and public sectors. It is an undeniable fact that social media has a significant impact on their overall business. Before organizations consider incorporating social media into their operations, a fundamental shift in mindset toward transparency, collaboration, and participation is required. This essential part is quite often overlooked.
It is a common perception that social media is just another communication channel, which is certainly not the case. Before organizing a specific tactic, the organization must make a commitment through social media.
To meet the challenges of demands to improve service delivery within budget constraints, public sector organizations need to take joint action in marketing and communications and specifically social marketing. The result should be the implementation of programs and services with higher speed, quality, efficiency and convenience.
The principles and methods of social marketing are applicable where companies’ marketing efforts are aimed at such a change in people’s behavior that allows them to improve their health, avoid trams, protect nature or improve local communities. Behavior is always at the center of social marketing.