Social marketing is the use of marketing theory, skills and practices to achieve social change. It has the primary of achieving “social good.” Traditional commercial marketing aims are primarily financial, though they can have positive social affects as well. In the context of public health, social marketing would promote general health, raise awareness and induce changes in behaviour. To see social marketing as only the use of standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals is an oversimplified view.
Social marketing seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with other approaches to social change. Social marketing aims to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good. The goal is to deliver competition-sensitive and segmented social change programs that are effective, efficient, equitable and sustainable.
Increasingly, social marketing is described as having “two parents.” The “social parent” uses social science and social policy approaches. The “marketing parent” uses commercial and public sector marketing approaches.Recent years have also witnessed a broader focus. Social marketing now goes beyond influencing individual behaviour. It promotes socio-cultural and structural change relevant to social issues.Consequently, social marketing scholars are beginning to advocate for a broader definition of social marketing.The new emphasis gives equal weight to the effects (efficiency and effectiveness) and the process (equity, fairness and sustainability) of social marketing programs.