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Social Marketing: Community Change Perspective

  • By: Beth L. Sundstrom
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Social marketing is a multidisciplinary, population-level approach to behavior change. This comprehensive framework encompasses individual, community, and structural solutions to improve social challenges. Social marketing has been used by health communicators to address diverse social problems, such as family planning, poverty, health disparities, injury prevention, climate change, and crime. Social change is achieved by targeting individual behavior and socioecological, environmental determinants of behavior.

Social marketing evolved out of marketing and the social sciences. Precursors to the field of social marketing emerged as early as the 1950s, when Gerhart D. Wiebe asked, “Why can't you sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you sell soap?” Scholars recognized that the principles of marketing and market research could be used to guide interventions for social good. It was not until ...

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