Purpose – The reason for this paper is to better understand why many social marketing campaigns produce poor results and to propose a model to guide social marketing strategic planning to improve program outcomes. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper which discusses a new social marketing model to remove upstream causes of target social problems. Findings – It appears that social marketing planning may be limited by over‐reliance on commercial marketing tactics and an over‐emphasis on individual behavior change. Finding upstream sources of social problems is a first step. However, social marketers must be willing to employ tactics to ameliorate structural, upstream causes of social problems. Research limitations/implications – The social marketing field needs to further its developmental progress by reducing its use of commercial marketing concepts and increasing its use of concepts from other fields like public health, political science, and social movements. Practical implications – Practicing social marketers can improve their outcomes if they identify upstream causes of social problems and find ways to reduce their harmful effects. Social implications – There are major social implications because removing upstream sources of social problems will invoke opposition from powerful interests. A new array of complexity is involved in using activism as a tactic, which may be needed. Conflicts will have to be dealt with and responded to effectively. Originality/value – The value of this paper is to enhance awareness of the self‐imposed limitations on social marketing strategies and to propose a means of removing these limitations and improving the ability to improve social well‐being.
Journal of Social Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 15, 2011
Keywords: Social marketing; Social theories; Marketing strategy; Social problems
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