Social marketing is defined as an advertising technique to reach the potential customers by the use of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. It is also also a way to promote social concerns as well as marketing products, which is being utilized by most of the internet- based companies.This is the area where this website concentrates on.In fact this site specializes on highlighting and educating visitors onthe use of Social Media Techniques in Internet Marketing .
However this article is about tracing the roots of Social Marketing and the following content describes not only the roots but also how it has opened up to allow marketers to use the techniques to improve the business opportunities it offers.
Social marketing is a new and innovative way of thinking and acting.It has brought to notice the old human endeavors but in a new and polished manner, so as to promote social concern and awareness of various topics for discussion among communities
Helping in the promotion of social concern as well as political ideas, social marketing dates back its origin to 1970s when two of its pioneers Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman, realized that the marketing principles and strategies which were used to sell products could simultaneously be employed to sell ideas, behaviors and even attitudes. The marketing strategy differing on just one point i.e. objectives of the marketer. Social marketing is no different from the other traditional marketing methods. This does not centralize the marketer but the target audiences or the general people or society instead, to benefit them greatly.
Having employed extensively in health programs at international levels- especially focused on contraceptives and oral rehydration therapy (ORT)- the strategy is more used in US for even concerns such as heart diseases, drug abuses and also organ donation.
Basically concentrating on the actual needs of the people, social marketing is the application of marketing to find solutions to the social problems and where the main centralized idea is the behavior change. Targeted to enhance the personal welfare of the society it encompasses analysis, planning and preparation, execution of plans and also the evaluation of the programs.
Basically working for the social good, this method of marketing involves a systematic application to promote goods, and also to promote the well-being of the entire society and not just the marketer.
Especially proving a boon for low-income groups, social marketing proffers health products and services to that class of the society who cannot afford it otherwise.
The key feature being effective communication, it encourages the masses to adopt health practices and to utilize the products and services completely so as to maintain the health of the whole society and not just few people. The programs involved make the social message heard and followed. Social marketing utilizes tools like educational campaigns and even specific advertising techniques, to reach the ears of target audiences.
Also using a mix of strategies and channels, interpersonal communications and mass media, the marketing strives to remove social concern totally thus helps in building a better society as far as health and other matters are concerned.
A process brought into practice to bring change, social marketing is a modified term which has been given to the conventional methods of product and service marketing. Social marketing already has made great roots in the societies welfare and influences the life of people on every front, be it health, education, environment or other such important issues, which are threatening and deteriorating the life of communities.
It is exciting to know that a new form of media is taking shape and this media can hold a wide range of possibilities for marketing the products and services of clients; but in the same breadth, it is also worrisome to know that social media does not have any form of restrictions or rules for marketing services and products. Don’t get me wrong. It is a good thing that finally after decades, centuries even, of keeping mum over issues, ordinary people are finding their voice and getting those voices heard.
It is good that we now have the freedom to say what we feel and have that communicated to other people all over the world. But as a marketing practitioner for many years, I am also worried that social media may eventually be used by unscrupulous individuals to promote their services underhandedly and worst still, give false information. Right now, social media marketing services are beginning to boom. Companies are working double time to make sure that they stay ahead in the game.
Unfortunately, some have resorted to promoting their products and services by putting in false blog posts and forum comments. How is this done? They just create multiple accounts on their websites and make several positive comments about the product or service. Consumers who do not know better would naturally assume that the comments came from different people. Some even resorted to putting negative information about the products and services of their competitors. And since there is no law against doing this, they have the freedom to engage in such practice. It is cutthroat I guess but business need not be so.
You would have read from my various posts in the past that I am a strong advocate of increased dialogue to establish greater understanding and bring about some guidelines to bring about more credibility. The new conferences and seminars throughout USA and even in UK is a good sign that the move is beginning to take place. In the meantime, we could all contribute to the desired end goal by being more responsible even if our competitors aren’t being so.
I don’t want to sound snooty or be a snob but I believe that there are a number of bloggers and so called social media people who seriously need to have some form of training not only in their use of the language but also in the way they report their news.
Not only because Social Media is fairly new but also because it has tremendous potential that I feel that people need to get some kind of social media education first and find out what exactly social media is and how it can impact the world. I guess, few people who post and blog away, guess at how much their short prose can change a world. If they know the power and potential of Social Media , I don’t think that they will look at it lightly or post things without really thinking about it first or verifying the information unless of course they are doing it deliberately to mislead people or to misinform them.
And this is not some conspiracy theory that I have cooked up. It is entirely possible for some people to use social media to further their own agenda. You have to remember that blog posts are anonymous and though it is completely traceable, the government will not waste time using their resources to trace a post unless it is some threat to national security.
The point I like to make is that while it is completely ideal for people who want to use it to promote their products or promote someone quite legitimately and that is a good thing, it could also be used to destroy the reputation of someone or something or start a gossip quite maliciously too. It is so easy at present. With time, I am sure sanity will prevail, especially as people get more educated on the correct use of this great platform to conduct and promote businesses. Experts have actually realized this fact and have called for conference and increased dialogue or some way to provide education for social media practitioners and subscribers.