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What Exactly Is Social Marketing?

Mar 27, 2008
Social marketing is a discipline that uses the philosophy of listening to the needs and desires of the target audience. This technique has been successfully used by commercial marketers. Now even public service departments are riding this bandwagon to make their announcements. It is a sophisticated approach that cares for people. It is customer centric. This approach makes you sensitive to people's needs. You achieve your own targets by helping people meet their needs. It is a win-win situation.

Social marketing involves in-depth research into your niche consumer base. It also involves constant feed back from your target audience and continuous evaluation of that feedback. Research and evaluation form two important pillars of this process. The principles remain universal. So the very same tools that are used to sell products can easily be used to sell ideas and attitudes. These tools can alter behaviors as well. The greatest advantage of social marketing is that, it benefits the society at large.

The primary focus of social marketing rests on understanding the wants and the needs of the consumer. You do not overtly try to persuade them to buy your product. Your sales pitch is always subtle. Here you talk to the people and this talk is more people focused, not product focused.

Social marketing is not only about some physical product. Products, services, practices, and non-tangible ideas, all can be marketed successfully using this platform. People have to first perceive and know their problem. They must also feel that your offer is going to solve that problem for them. That is where the role of research comes in.

In social marketing, 'price' is not always about money. Your offer may require some intangible price to be paid by the consumer, such as their time and effort. The key to successful marketing is that the cost should never outweigh the rewards. It is all about perceived value though. You may think that your offer is great, but the consumer may not perceive it to be so. That is where your writing skills are put to test!

Many factors play a role in determining the pricing of your product. If you price it low or decide to provide it free of cost, people may not value it. But if you price it too high, people may not be able to afford it. You must balance your price well. Research into your target market and people's perceptions help you achieve this balance in your social marketing.

Using various promotion vehicles to create and sustain demand for your product is the key to success. You need to find the most effective and efficient promotion strategies for your social marketing endeavor. Reaching the target audience is of paramount importance.

As you hone your social marketing skills, you grow in your business. So go ahead and use these strategies.
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