Social marketing is a set of techniques and strategies that target organizing and maintaining people’s behavior in a way that is beneficial both for individuals and for the entire society. It is especially relevant in medicine, as personal and public health are closely intertwined and strongly dependent on everybody’s actions. Therefore, health promotional programs apply the given approach to a variety of situations.
One of the major social marketing concepts is a competition that takes place between different health habits or behavioral patterns. Thus, in the context of immunization campaigns, vaccinating competes with not vaccinating. The former doubtlessly is beneficial, unlike the latter, which determines the need for influencing the behavior of the population accordingly.
Therefore, medical professionals seek permanently to communicate the benefits of immunization to people so that they opt for this variant. Actually, benefits are another important concept that means the direct as well as indirect advantages of certain choices and underlying decision-making.
An essential principle of social marketing is to listen before speaking because it is critical to have a clear understanding of people’s current needs and existing views. This allows for the development of maximally specific strategies that, in turn, enable reaching the necessary results as soon and effectively as possible. For instance, the initial step of a campaign for breastfeeding should lie in collecting data on how the population treats it and on which marketing techniques actually need to be based.
Gathering feedback in the process is of great importance as well since it may be necessary to adapt the approaches or set new goals. In general, social marketing, similar to any other type of advertisement, has to regard public opinion as the key reference point.