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The Avenue Of Social Marketing

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The avenue of social marketing is not a ‘narrow lane’ but a ‘highway with multiple tracks and driveways’. Here the scope of ‘marketing’ strategy is not always limited to fulfill commercial objectives, but creating a larger impact on the society or the target population by bringing about positive and appropriate changes in their ‘behaviour’. The practice of social marketing (SM) campaigns was predominantly  popular among non-commercial and non-profit organizations. However, its practice and adoption has been popular among business and commercial establishments. The SM campaigns may be directed towards any one of the following objectives.

  1. Bringing a change and attitude among people for a certain period of time. E.g.pre-poll political campaigns.
  2. Bringing a long term and permanent changes in behavior of people. E.g. Campaigns in favour of AIDS victims ; anti tobacco and alcohol; against child labour; save the tiger campaign; ‘pulse polio campaign’ etc.
  3. Aiming to fulfill commercial objectives, through campaigns on any social, health, environmental or other relevant noncommercial issues. Here the companies want to create a market for their products or services by bringing into a long term and permanent change in behavior of the target populations (the prospective customers). E.g. The advertisement campaigns of  ‘Idea cellular’; ‘Dettol hand wash’; advertisement of ‘Pepsodent’s germ check formula’ etc.

Sometimes SM is misunderstood with social-media marketing (SMM)  and digital marketing (DM). While SM is a philosophy and approach of new age marketing strategy, SMM and DM are emerging technology platform which should be optimally used for SM campaigns.

SM is considered as one of the important techniques for inbound marketing. It has to follow certain fundamental, but interdependent steps: (i)  identification of the problem, (ii) framing a culturally sensitive message to develop insight and awareness among the target population, (iii) influence and sensitize people for desirable behavior / attitude change, (iv) create a desire and space for the product or service and then wait for estimated result, i.e. (v) Sale of products or services.

The major steps in SM:

  1. Problem Identification
  2. Develop An Insight And Sensitize People (Social Good)
  3. Bring Change In Attitude And Behavior Of People
  4. Create Space /Desire For Product / Service
  5.  Achieve Commercial Goal

It is understood that the SM expert or consultant must have thorough knowledge of the people, their culture, values, beliefs, preferences etc. of a particular community or society, which he/she targeting. In SM, developing customer insight is of primary importance than selling a product or service. However, that primary should not be equaled with any CSR initiative or spending. One of the most important key features of SM is deciding the appropriate ‘intervention mix’ and ‘marketing mix’. The expertise of  consultants in the field largely depends on their ability to draw a strategic framework  for ‘intervention mix’ and operational know how to decide and execute the ‘marketing mix’.

Keeping in view the growing concern of civil society, human rights, ever increasing influence of digital and social media on people etc, it can be augmented and envisaged that SM has potential worth to transform the way we market and advertise our products and services.

Have not yet given up my learning spree. Recently doing internship at Digital Vidya.
  • inbound-marketing


  • There are 6 comments


    • 4 years ago

      Siva Krishna   /   Reply

      Social Marketing has become a part and parcel of almost all the organizations in one way or the other. They are getting good traffic through these campaigns (Ex: Surf Excel’s India Guide star, Lead India by TOI) and increases the brand value too. But as you rightly mentioned, it depends on various factors in driving the same…

    • 4 years ago

      Arushi Sundaram   /   Reply

      Social Marketing nowadays is not seen as genuine. People think someone or the other profits from social marketing (as in the case of pre-election campaigning) and it is seldom misused. In such a case, how do we bring people to trust the authenticity of such a campaign and use it efficiently ?

    • 4 years ago

      Smita Pawar   /   Reply

      I believe social media can help a business progress even when his/her site is not ranked high. It is the best way to reach out to the audiences and connect with them directly. A message that triggers one person will automatically drive that person to share the message with peers which will lead to a business popularity.

    • 4 years ago

      Tarun   /   Reply

      Very enriching and informative article regarding Social Marketing. One of the most contemporary social marketing campaign going on these days is the ‘Jaago Re’ campaign by Tata Tea wherein they are creating awareness and encouraging female voters to vote in the upcoming 2014 elections. Also, thanks to the ‘Pulse Polio campaign’, India was declared Polio free nation third year in a row this year. A well-directed social marketing campaign definitely leaves an everlasting positive impact on the mind of consumers and plays a big role in building brand association.

    • 4 years ago

      Indrajit   /   Reply

      Thank you, Siva Krishna, Arushi, Smitha and Tarun for sharing your views. I appreciate examples cited by Siva Krishna and Tarun. Definitely it will take time to get a paradigm shift in considering ‘social marketing’ as powerful tool by corporate houses in general. Yet the process has been in the market.

    • 4 years ago

      K M Venkatraman   /   Reply

      Any thing done with the aim of uplift of the socially stigmatised section of the society is welcome.
      The social media, as is being used at present is predominantly used for exchange of personal information which ultimately result in sharing highly personal information with it dangerous consequences. Here work of sites like Upworthy, Change.org have really to be appreciated. As far as using SM for commercial advertising is concerned, as long as it is clubbed with a social message it is ok. Otherwise it results in increased consumer spending on non essential items by the middle class with all its drastic financial consequences.

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