Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Social Marketing Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 words

Social Marketing - Essay Example The selling of social issues has become a business that is in the same league as selling soap or automobiles. The concept got its beginnings when Phillip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman pursued the application of marketing technologies to the realm of social issues and coined the term 'social marketing' (Andreasen 2006, p.89). Social marketing is used by organizations to promote a cause, advocate on a political issue, or change the behavior of the public. Because the technique is designed to change peoples' minds and behavior through the use of advertising, it is met with several obstacles. Social marketing faces the task of fulfilling their objective without the transgression of an ethical approach. Social marketing can be used to modify behavior such as the antismoking campaigns that have been launched on behalf of various health organizations. The National Cancer Institute, a government agency, publishes numerous fact sheets on the methods and benefits of smoking cessation (Fact sheets: Tobacco/Smoking cessation). This information is designed to de-market a product by modifying behavior with the goal of decreasing consumption. Social marketing may also be used to change a corporate image by associating the brand with a social issue or cause. This may be seen when a company donates a share of their profits to a social or philanthropic endeavor. In 1999 Mattel partnered with Girls Inc. through an agreement to promote the girls' organization by including brochures in the Barbie packaging. Though the goals of Girls Inc., which promoted feminist empowerment, were contrary to the long standing image of the Barbie doll, Girls Inc. was anxious to reach millions of potential new members. For their part, Mattel wanted to "...create an enhanced, more relevant Barbie brand through an association with a progressive, girl-focused organization" (Marconi 2002, p.187). As more and more products are sold through socially or culturally based advertising, social marketing has moved beyond the traditional arenas of politics and social activism and into commercialism. Trying to change a person's mind or behavior can be difficult at anytime. Trying to sway public opinion or motivate them to action can be extremely challenging. The organization must be open and willing to undergo intense public scrutiny. The public can be a very sophisticated audience and may tire of a message that is overstated or exaggerated. The Department of Homeland Security's terror threat level system was initially designed to maintain awareness among the public of an impending threat. However, its overuse and the public's suspicion about its validity soon rendered it to an irrelevant position. Nancy Reagan's anti-drug campaign that insisted 'Just Say No' was a failure due to oversimplification. Rose (2005, p.169) calls the Reagan marketing scheme an, "example of a strategic communications failure - not just with the wrong messenger for the intended audience, but with a naive, presumably unresearched, if memorable, message". These unrealistic expectations are the result of at tempting to reach a widely diverse audience with a single concise message. Trying to deal with the challenges facing a social marketing campaign requires that ethical issues be thoroughly addressed. The issue of full disclosure can be difficult to define or to measure what information needs to be revealed. Various stakeholders may have different objectives and standards. American Express has been criticized for their participation in the 'Charge for Hunger' campaign and the campaign to raise money for the restoration of the statue of liberty. Critics contended that American Express spent far more money on their own self-promotion about the campaigns than they spent on the actual issue (Andreasen & Drumwright 2000). Though it can also be said that American Express would have spent the money on advertising anyway, the perceived conflict of interest and motivation are ethical issues that must be addressed when social marketing.

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