Traditional marketing approaches are targeted at drawing in buyers and boosting sales. But social marketing is not one of such marketing strategies. Social marketing was developed from public announcements which were targeted at benefiting the audience. Such announcements are often health related, as there are health related issues of which many people are ignorant to but may affect their lifestyle negatively. Social marketing draws its approach from traditional commercial marketing techniques which have been seen to be highly successful. Instead of selling products, social marketing markets ideas.
What is Social Marketing?
Social marketing is a strategic marketing approach aimed at positively influencing the way people behave, thus benefiting them and the society at large. It involves critical and in depth research into the behavioral practices of the target audience, and evaluating measures which can be employed to cause a change or sustenance in their behaviors.
What Is the Goal of Social Marketing?
The goal of social marketing is to change or maintain the behavior of the target audience, thus benefiting the society in the long run. It is not just aimed at increasing awareness about a topic, but imploring people to change or maintain a specific behavior for their own good.
How Does Social Marketing Relate to Dentists?
As have been said, social marketing is not about selling your business or product. It is about caring for the audience by altering or maintaining their behavior for the purpose of improving their long-term general well-being. As a dentist, it is paramount to go into social marketing because there are many practices and actions which can damage one’s dental health. People involve in common daily activities that damage their teeth without knowing it. As a dentist, it becomes important that you care for these people by making them understand the implications of what they are doing, and spelling out what they can do to better improve the health of their dentition. By offering ideas and instructions on how to care for their teeth, you are changing their behavior for their own good — this is what social marketing is all about.
Social Marketing Techniques for Dentists
Social marketing employs the same techniques used in commercial marketing i.e. the “4 Ps” approach. The four Ps are Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. In addition, social marketing includes an addition P, Policy, to make it the “5 Ps” approach. All these are explained below:
Product: Product, as in commercial marketing, refers to what is been marketed — the object. In this case, the idea or behavioral change is the product. As a dentist, the product of your social marketing campaign could be brushing twice daily, or disposing a toothbrush after 3 months of usage. The product is solely for the benefit of the audience and the society.
Price: in commercial marketing, the price is the cost of the goods or services; but in social marketing, the price is seen as the inconvenience or barriers to that change in behavior. This can be explained by the fact that individuals find it difficult to throw away old habits (old habits die hard, as the saying goes). Social marketing must be done in such a way that the audience realizes how beneficial the change in behavior is to them. The benefits must outweigh the cost before the audience is expected to consider the change.
Place: This refers to where and how the target audience can be easily accessed. It could also be seen as the efforts made to ensure that the audience accepts the change. Such efforts, as par social marketing for dentists, could include providing free toothbrushes and toothpastes to the audience in a geographical area.
Promotion: The ways or media through which the messages are sent out to the target audience are referred to as promotion. This could be done through television and radio adverts, social media campaigns, bill boards, etc.
Policy: Policy, the 5th P, is peculiar to social marketing as it is not involved in commercial marketing campaigns. Policies are put in place to encourage the people to make changes in their behavior but are never a means to punish defaulters. The policies are reached by an in depth understanding of the people’s lifestyle.
What are the Benefits of Social Marketing?
When people’s behaviors are changed for the better, the general social status of the society is improved. For example, people who care for their teeth daily are less likely to spend money removing and replacing damaged teeth. By promoting a positive change in the lives of drug addicts, there will be less mental and psychological disorders. Social marketing produces change with very little cost.