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What is the Purpose of Social Marketing?

Marketing centres people at the heart of strategic thinking. Social marketing uses marketing tools and techniques to deliver changes to benefit the communities we serve.

Marketing centres people at the heart of strategic thinking. Social marketing uses marketing tools and techniques to deliver changes to benefit the communities we serve.

The Purpose of Social Marketing

Social marketing has been used for more than 40 years around the world to:

  • Reduce the spread of infectious disease
  • Lower birth rates
  • Get people to exercise more and eat more nutritious food
  • Change business and service provision practice
  • Reduce littering, food waste, smoking and illegal dumping
  • And address many, many more issues

The Process of Social Marketing

Social marketing can be thought of as a 3 step process that involves eight key principles. By learning the principles, the processes and other tools and techniques used in marketing you can build engaging programs to effect change. In this course we will focus, in detail, on just a few of the common social marketing tools.

Meet Sharyn, your Social Marketing Educator

Hi, my name is Sharyn and I am the Director of Social Marketing @ Griffith and Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Social Marketing. I draw on my commercial marketing background to facilitate change in communities.

I am currently working on projects delivering changes to the environment, people’s health and for the greater social good. Some of my current projects include

  • changing adolescent attitudes towards drinking alcohol
  • increasing healthy eating and physical activity to combat obesity
  • reducing dog and koala interactions
  • practice change in the sugar cane farming and allied services industries.

View Sharyn’s FutureLearn profile

View Sharyn’s Griffith University profile

The Social Marketing Landscape

People’s thoughts, feelings and personal experiences matter. You can’t know what is best for someone else. Getting a deep understanding of what people need, what they do and don’t like, and re-imagining the current systems, are some of the many things that social marketers do to deliver changes needed to benefit our community.

To get change we have to challenge the status quo. If everything was already working perfectly we wouldn’t have problems and, therefore, would not have a need for social marketing.

Rather than asking what is working well we need to focus on what is preventing the change we need to see. By reflecting on what is not working we can learn more about the improvements that are needed. We need to be critical and ask if our actions are supporting the problem.

It’s difficult, it’s challenging, and it’s incredibly rewarding.

Your task

Do you have a particular social, health or environmental issue that you believe needs to be changed? Are you frustrated that you are having problems making change happen?

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Social Change: How Can Marketing Help?

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