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The 4 P’s of Social Marketing Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Social marketing was “born” as a discipline in the 1970s, with the increasing need to “sell” ideas, attitudes and behaviors, a paradi­gmatic shift from the need to market products only. Kotler and Andreasen define social marketing as “differing from other areas of marketing only with respect to the objectives of the marketer and his or her organi­zation. The focus is on creating and sustaining demand for the product and service by market modifi­cation or even creation.

Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society, so as to create and/or modify the entire target market structure partially or entirely. This technique has been used extens­ively in intern­ational health or social awareness programs, especially for contra­cep­tives, oral rehydr­ation therapy (ORT) and AIDS. Today it is being used with more frequency for raising awareness in diverse topics as drug abuse, socio-­psy­cho­logical disorders, potent­ially life threat­ening sexually transm­itted diseases and organ donation.

1. Product

The social marketing “product” is not necess­arily a physical offering. The products can range from intangible to actual physical products, so services (nursing, human rights violat­ion), practices (AIDS awareness or breast­fee­ding) and finally, more intangible ideas (e.g., enviro­nmental protec­tion). Since to have a viable “product”, the target segment must first perceive a genuine problem or a need, and that the product or service being marketed is a good solution for that problem. The role of research here is to discover the consumers’ percep­tions of the problem and the product, and to determine which are the more important perceived factors regarding the same.

2. Price

“Price” refers to what the consumer must do or pay (in terms of financial, physical effort time or any other resource) in order to obtain the social marketing product or service. This cost may be financial (Dolla­rs/­Pou­nds), or it may instead require the consumer to give up intangible sources of value, such as time, effort, or to risk embarr­assment and social ostracism. Just like product marketing, if the costs outweigh the benefits for an indivi­dual, the perceived value of the offering will be low and it will be unlikely to be adopted, but if the benefits are perceived as greater than their costs, chances of trial and adoption of the product is much greater.

The 4-Ps of Social Marketing

3. Place

“Place” describes the method­ology the product or service reaches the target segment. Think about where and when the audience will perform the behavior or access the new or adapted produc­t/s­ervice. How can you make it convenient and pleasant so as to increase chances of adoption? Also think about training your sales team – the people that will take your program to the audience. By training the team on the details of the activities and habits of the target segment, as well as their experience and dissat­isf­action with the existing delivery system, better adoption may be achieved.

4. Promotion

Use of extensive market research is necessary to determine the commun­ication channels that will best reach your audience for easy adoption of the products or services. It becomes crucial to understand which advert­ising or public relations media would play a greater role (e.g., radio, newspaper, postcard racks) since that WILL VARY depending on the produc­t/s­ervice and also on the target segment.