5WPR CEO on Social Marketing Explained


Know the Basics to Soar with Social Media Marketing

Social marketing influences behaviors in ways that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good. It aims to deliver social change and programs that are efficient, equitable, effective and sustainable. Some of the biggest challenges that face the world today involve the climate crisis and environmental sustainability. These challenges are caused by human behavior and hence can only be tackled if people change their lifestyle and behavior. 


1)     CUSTOMER ORIENTATION – Social marketers ought to stand in the shoes of the people whose behavior they are trying to change. They need to understand their lives and behaviors from their perspective.

2)    BEHAVIOR – Social marketing involves trying to change people’s actual behavior, not just their attitude or awareness.

3)    EXCHANGE- Changing behavior usually involves people giving something up to gain something else. What needs to be understood is how people view rewards, benefits, and barriers that are associated with both desired and problematic behaviors. Then what has to be done to encourage the desired behavior and discourage the problem behavior might be considered.

4)    SEGMENTING THE AUDIENCE- If the audience is too broad, social marketing might fail. Segmenting the audience would help to identify the target groups and help to create and develop different messages and campaigns for different subgroups of the target audience. Segmentation of the audience can be based on demographic, geographic location, beliefs, and attitudes.

5)    FORMATIVE RESEARCH – Formative research helps companies understand a problem and its context. Collecting and analyzing research data gives a deeper understanding of the audience affected by the problem.

6)    PRETESTING IDEAS – Ideas should be pretested on a small number of people. Then the plan can be modified according to the results.

7)    REDUCTION OF BARRIERS TO CHANGE-  Change can be made to seem easier, more accessible, and more attractive. An organization can provide rewards for making and sustaining changes. For example, people who buy organic vegetables might get a free potted plant.

8)    PUBLICITY OF THE BENEFITS OF CHANGE – People should know about the benefits of behavior change. For example, an organization can tell people how changing food habits can help prevent high cholesterol.


The four Ps of social marketing are product, price, place and promotion.     

PRODUCT – In social marketing, the product is a certain behavior that needs to be changed. It could be stopping people from giving in to depression or persuading them not to throw trash on the ground.

PRICE – For social marketing, price is not about money, it could be about time or effort involved.

PLACE- Social marketing aims to make behavior change easy by ensuring that necessary supports are available and accessible to people. The less people need to go an extra mile to make a change, the more likely they are to make it.

PROMOTION – Promotion is associated with advertising for your cause. It could be through good old word of mouth. Persuading people through conversation could be as effective as a commercial.

About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.