Across the country and around the world, water is vital for life and civilization. But making people understand its worth has never been easy. The perception that water will always be there is deep-rooted and has become a part of people's belief systems—especially in the U.S. Just take running water away from people for an hour or two, and it becomes clear that idea is ingrained. Not having running water is intolerable. Dishes pile up, laundry goes undone, and people go unbathed. Worse—there's no water to drink.
So why is it that something so important is taken for granted to the degree that is? We have to go back to people's values, attitudes, and beliefs. While people may value water, they believe it will always be there. Turn on the tap; water comes out. This is where social marketing comes in.
Social marketing is a promotion strategy that combines commercial marketing practices with social change and communication theories to alter particular behaviors. The ultimate goal of a social marketing project is to benefit the selected target audience, not the marketer.
How does social marketing make people change their behaviors? It persuades people to believe that they are a part of the solution, and that changing their behavior will improve their well-being and that of society. Examples of successful social marketing projects include campaigns about avoiding teen pregnancy, how to quit smoking, and Smokey the Bear.
The following links and resources provide information about social marketing. New information, resources, and links will added as an ongoing project.
A listserv available from the Social Marketing Institute at Georgetown University connects people from around the world who have an interest in social marketing. It also links people to resources to aid in developing a social marketing campaign.
To join the listserv, subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Type subscribe soc-mktg with your name in the body of the e-mail.