Social Marketing Casebook


Jeff French, Rowena Merritt & Lucy Reynolds

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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  • The Natural Home

    SAGE has been part of the global academic community since 1965, supporting high quality research and learning that transforms society and our understanding of individuals, groups, and cultures. SAGE is the independent, innovative, natural home for authors, editors and societies who share our commitment and passion for the social sciences.

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    About the Authors

    Professor Jeff French has over 30 years' experience of evaluating and developing leading behaviour change projects, social marketing programmes and communication strategies at international and local levels. Jeff and has published over 80 chapters, articles and books in the fields of behaviour change, social marketing, community development, health promotion and communications. He is Visiting Professor at Brunel University and Brighton University, a Fellow at King's College London and teaches at four other UK Universities. Until 2009 Jeff managed the National Social Marketing Centre and is currently Chief Executive of Strategic Social Marketing Ltd.

    Dr Rowena Merritt has more than 10 years' experience working in the communication and marketing fields in the private and public sectors. She currently works as the Research Manager at the National Social Marketing Centre and previously led on Local Practitioner Development where she set up the award-winning National Demonstration Site scheme, funded by the Department of Health. Rowena has published widely and regularly guest lectures at a number of universities in Britain, Hong Kong and the USA.

    Dr Lucy Reynolds founded the National Social Marketing Centre's widely acclaimed evidence resource, ShowCase, and is an expert in UK and international social marketing evidence. Lucy has published widely on social marketing theory and practice, in academic, health and environmental journals, as well as appearing on Radio 4. Lucy is a senior consultant at Finnamore, the UK's largest independent health consultancy, where she specialises in health inequalities, performance transformation and assets management.


    We would like to thank all the people who helped us in preparing the vignette and case studies for this book; without their input this book would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the National Social Marketing Centre in England for their help and support in developing this book.

  • Overview and Top Tips

    In this book we have set out five key themes that capture what we think to be the main features of the social marketing mindset. These are:

    • Citizen Orientation
    • Clarity of Purpose
    • Coalition Building
    • Combination of Approach
    • Continuation, Learning and Evaluation.

    In Chapter 1, we set out to develop a greater understanding of the nature of social marketing and some of the key principles that underpin its practice. In Chapter 2 we covered the social marketing planning process and in subsequent chapters illustrated how both the key social marketing principles and planning steps can lead to the development of powerful social change programmes.

    Social marketing is more a science than an art. It should be driven by data and research, testing and refinement. Social marketers don't like guessing – it is too difficult, and often results in an expensive waste of precious public funds. Like all complex activity, social marketing takes both in-depth study and practical experience to build up real expertise. This book has been designed with the aim of helping practitioners and students build their understanding of social marketing by reviewing real-life case studies, not all of which are prefect, and most of which did not achieve everything they set out to do.

    We want to end this book with a final set of tips that have been developed from our own personal experience in helping people around the world develop social marketing programmes. We hope you find them helpful and, like the rest of this book, we hope they help you to avoid some of the pitfalls many have encountered before.

    10 Tips for Developing and Implementing a Social Marketing Programme
    • Actively engage individuals and communities and partners and stakeholders: Engage communities in the development, delivery and evaluation of solutions.
    • Focus on behaviour: Set explicit objectives and tailor interventions to achieving measurable behavioural goals.
    • Segment and succeed: Use behavioural and psychological data as well as demographic and service data to segment target audiences and inform the intervention mix.
    • Combine approaches: Use a mix of interventions including information, service change, policy, education, enforcement and design to bring about change.
    • Sustain and fund appropriately: Deliver programs that can be sustained over time at a cost effective level to bring about measurable improvement.
    • Tackle the competition: Understand social, economic environmental and psychological forces that may be prevent or restrict change and develop strategies to reduce these.
    • Harness all possible assets: Develop interventions and co-delivery through coordinated effort on the part of the public, for profit, and NGO sectors.
    • Develop theory and science informed: Have a clear and consistent model of practice that is informed by research based theory and best practice.
    • Learning culture: Develop a learning culture that invests in capturing what is learnt from interventions, both positive and negative and permit experimentation.
    • Coordinate and integrate: Ensure synergy between intervention strategies and broader policy aims and policy drivers and coordinate action between international, national and local efforts and between sectors and departments.
    4 Things to Avoid
    • Don't let people think that Social Marketing is just about flashy promotional events, materials development, mass or new media promotions.
    • Don't develop interventions that are only driven by what ‘experts’ think people need.
    • Don't undertake actions that are not informed by market research or client insight.
    • Don't run programmes or projects that you don't evaluate.
    Final Tip

    Remember, the first duty of a Social Marketer is to market social marketing to non-marketers. We need to ensure that a marketing mindset is embedded within all our organisations so that they can become more effective and efficient.

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