Social Marketing

Updated on March 19, 2024
Article byKosha Mehta
Edited byKosha Mehta
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Social Marketing?

The term “social marketing” refers to the adoption of commercial, promotional technologies into programs that are intended to influence the response of target audiences to improve both the individuals’ well-being and the well-being of the community in which they belong.

Social Marketing

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It includes concept development, pricing, information exchange, delivery, and market analysis. Social marketing is developing, putting into action, and managing programs intended to influence the degree to increase acceptance of social ideas. It is a type of marketing that is expanding quickly and has a significant potential to lead to decreased consumption.

Key Takeaways

  • Social marketing is a well-planned, long-term strategy that uses marketing strategies to improve people’s lives and the environment. Improves living quality.
  • It is a sensible method for influencing behavior durably and cost-effectively, combining principles from commercial marketing with the social sciences.
  • At times in the name of the concept in the discussion, commercial marketing is done by firms.
  • Many charitable organizations employ the concept, including those concerned with health & welfare, environmental protection, and social action.

Social Marketing Concept Explained

Social marketing, sometimes known as “marketing for good,” is a strategy that promotes positive societal transformation by focusing on influencing individuals’ actions or ways of life rather than just selling an item or service. Its emphasis on community engagement is distinct from commercial marketing, marketing via green or sustainable practices, and marketing via social media.

The goal of such marketing is to modify people’s behaviors for the greater good of society – to the individual’s profit and benefit of society as a whole – by using the concepts of commercial marketing and the social sciences.

It is used by a wide variety of nonprofit organizations and charities, as well as by government organizations, emergency services, and agencies. Likewise, some examples are highway safety alliances, policemen, firefighters, and paramedic groups. Social marketers also handle campaigns for charitable causes of a commercial brand’s product or business.

In addition, nonprofit organizations use such marketing to boost their fundraising efforts. It helps in furthering their organization’s mission or effecting societal shifts. Following are the strategies that can be used for doing social marketing.

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#1 – Work Collaboratively

Generally, with low finances, implementing a full social marketing program and not just a communication effort requires outside resources and experience. Hence, Cooperation and reciprocity are powerful. See if there is a similar group that regularly addresses the target audience. If so, building a strategic relationship for assisting their existing projects helps. Beyond regular partners, other groups may appeal to a similar target market.

#2 – Internet Marketing

Online marketing helps firms stretch costs. Hence, digital media and new websites have created numerous new possibilities. However, online is a cheap, ever-changing landscape. So, ensuring web marketing reaches the target demographic is vital. Also, it should not be used as a solo method.

#3 – Online Press Release

 Posting a story for free on any PR Web and sending bulk emails works well. Developing a list of prospects to send press releases and creating narrative articles about persons touched by the campaign and the advantages of behavior change helps spread the word.

#4 – Word Of Mouth

 Don’t overlook word-of-mouth in healthy communication and marketing. Many individuals find the company through word-of-mouth. Keeping the target audience talking is vital for habit change since we all listen to our relatives, friends, and coworkers. The more avenues one can contact the target audience using social outreach, the more impact a firm has.

#5 – Make Widgets

 Widgets are code snippets that users may copy and paste into webpages or blogs. Creating widgets that partners may publish to backlink the firm helps. Action messages, not simply data, should be included.


Following are the types of social marketing.

#1 – Not-For-Profit Marketing

It refers to companies that do not seek financial gain but use it as a marketing strategy to promote a cause. However, a typical example of nonprofit marketing is a campaign to generate donations and recruit volunteers using direct mail and mass media. Since this is the case, serving the greater good is the overarching aim, but the organization’s primary objective is to earn money to be competitive with other charitable organizations.

#2 – Marketing For A Social Mission

This partnership between a for-profit and nonprofit company supports a charitable cause or other similar endeavors. In addition, the sales of the items produced by the commercial organization contribute to the pro-social motive. However, an equivalent would be something like sponsorship, when a charitable organization allows a for-profit firm to publicize its relationship with the charitable organization to improve people’s impressions of the for-profit corporation and the products it sells.

On the other hand, cause-related marketing generates revenue for the charitable organization as a direct consequence of the products or services sold. Therefore, advancing a social cause is not the primary purpose of a firm; rather, it is the secondary goal of a company to increase sales or any other marketing objective.

#3 – Marketing With A Conscience

A comparison may be made between sponsorship and pro-social outreach. Nevertheless, the for-profit company aims to improve the public’s opinion of its goods and services by establishing a cooperative partnership with an organization or cause that works to improve society. so social marketing allows firms to convey how they have a wake conscience for helping society back.

#4 – Societal Marketing

It is possible to confuse societal with social outreach or marketing, but the two are not the same. Kotler and his colleagues refer to businesses like this as socially responsible profit-making companies. However, societal marketing is considered a natural extension of the fundamental idea behind marketing. For making a profit from the determination and satisfaction of customer requirements in a manner that protects or enhances the consumer and society.

Examples of Social Marketing

It is widely used in sectors of health and safety, environmentalism, and social action.

Let us look at the social marketing examples to understand the concept better.

#1 – Anti-Smoking

Many organizations and health institutes utilize such marketing to reduce smoking and encourage quitting. These activities assist new smokers and help individuals with the habit quit. Some compelling TV ads portray real-life smokers with lung cancer or tracheostomies.

#2 – Forest Fire Prevention

Many NGOs indulge in wildfire prevention social campaigns. Other tactics include billboards and signs near campers and fire extinguishing recommendations.

#3 – Recycling

Conventional recycling marketing, such as curbside collection or electronics drop-off facilities, focuses on teaching. Showcasing reusable things, such as cloth or heavy-duty plastic bags for shopping, and how to reuse furniture are additional ways social outreach efforts on recycling operate, along with state-level bottle redemption programs.

#4 – Handicap Accessibility

The effort of such marketing by the American Disability Association promotes disability inclusion. It helped modify laws and rules to make transportation, housing, and playgrounds handicap accessible. To build an emotional connection with consumers, firms employ handicap awareness month, metro and elevator posters, and billboards.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of the social marketing concept:


  • It gives businesses a competitive advantage. Consumers want to purchase goods from ethical and socially accountable firms. These trends will gain appeal as campaigns and concerns around social and ecological issues expand.
  • A further benefit is the premium pricing. Businesses transform their social and environmental initiatives into distinct selling factors, enabling them to charge greater prices.
  • Promotes health awareness and facilitates the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.
  • It contributes to green marketing efforts.
  • It contributes to eradicating social ills that harm society and people’s lives.


  • It is not uncommon for commercial marketing to be conducted under the pretext of social outreach marketing.
  • Creativity may sometimes be problematic since it forces the listener to interpret the message for themselves, and the interpretation may not be particularly assertive.
  • There are occasions when the notion of such marketing is not seen as an adequate mass communication theory.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is social marketing in public health?

In public health, social marketing definition implies behavioral, persuasive, and exposure theories to target health risk behaviors. The social cognitive theory uses response repercussions, learning theory, and behavior modeling. The application of these marketing ideas and techniques to solve problems affecting a population’s health is what’s meant by “social marketing in public health.”

What are social marketing campaigns?

Instead of traditional advertising, such campaigns aim to effect positive social change. It employs marketing strategies to serve social change by educating people about an issue or cause and encouraging them to take action.

Why social marketing is important?

Social marketers focus on issues relating to society, the environment, and the economy. They contribute to malnutrition, poverty, lack of resources, inadequate schooling, poor health, and climate change. Communities use social marketing to influence people’s attitudes and actions, raise awareness, and spread positive messages.

This article has been a guide to What is Social Marketing and its definition. We explain its types, examples, and advantages & disadvantages. You may also find some useful articles here:

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