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Book Reviews            Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life (2nd Edition)                                     ...
Book Reviewsrecommendations to segment markets are rather                  of performing the behaviour while increasing th...
Book ReviewsThe final section examines ethical issues that affect          the text very helpful. However, for advanced st...
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Social marketting

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Social marketting

  1. 1. Book Reviews Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life (2nd Edition) Sage Publications: California (2002) Philip Kotler, Ned Roberto, Nancy LeeIntroduction al recommend and develop in the later sections, andAs Alan Andreasen notes in the introduction to this book, illustrate this using a variety of topical cases. The authorssocial marketing has become an increasingly important also outline twelve elements they suggest underlieaspect of marketing in recent years, a trend Andreasen successful social marketing campaigns. However, whilepredicts will continue. This textbook presents a these elements may offer some sensible guidelines,systematic approach to social marketing that draws on many lack a clear empirical foundation. For example,marketing theory, and provides several examples to one element recommends starting with the target marketsillustrate the application of theory to practice. However, that are most ready for action. However, this assumesthe authors follow a very traditional approach to target markets exist, can be identified and accessed, andmarketing decision-making. Readers looking for a more respond differently to different stimuli. Moreover, itcritical evaluation of social marketing and its assumes programmes that follow this advice will beapplications, or an analysis of the empirical evidence more successful than those that do not. Although Kotlerunderpinning social marketing theory, may find this et al use cases to illustrate the elements they outline,book lacks depth. these cases are rather anecdotal and the lack of empirical support is one of the major weaknesses of the text - aStructure and Content of the Text point I discuss in more detail below.The text is divided into five sections that loosely follow The second section of Social Marketing analyses thethe pattern of Kotler’s marketing management texts. The environments in which social marketing activities occurfirst of these begins by presenting a definition of social and begins by discussing the type of research that can bemarketing, which the authors suggest has a strong conducted. This section opens with a very brief summaryemphasis on voluntary behavioural modification, an of research methods, before discussing environmentalexplanation that has much in common with Andreasen’s analyses. As the authors note in the first section, social(1995) definition. The authors also identify other marketing does not require a new set of techniques, thusvariables that can help shape consumers’ behaviour, but this section represents a summary of key topics outlinedthey could do more to integrate social marketing with the in more detail in mainstream marketing texts. For newlegal, political and economic instruments available to social marketers, the information provided might be toomarketers and policy makers. Rothschild (1999) superficial to be of much value, though it represents adiscussed the role of “carrots” and “sticks” in social sound summary of existing practice and the case studiesmarketing programmes; this link with behaviour provided link the methods outlined to social marketingmodification theory could be explored further. For programmes.example, social marketers can draw on regulation to Readers familiar with Kotler’s approach will easilymodify and maintain behaviour in a way that commercial recognise Section three of the text, which examines themarketers cannot. Greater discussion of legislation selection and understanding of target markets. Althoughprohibiting tobacco promotions, for example, would widely accepted as important in mainstream marketing,have fostered a better understanding of the regulatory this approach has nevertheless attracted criticism, andenvironments that shape social behaviours. the logic of segmentation remains debateable. ForThe remaining chapters in the first section provide an readers seeking a more critical review of how generaloverview of the strategic planning process that Kotler et marketing strategy may apply to social marketing, Australasian Marketing Journal 11 (1), 2003 97
  2. 2. Book Reviewsrecommendations to segment markets are rather of performing the behaviour while increasing theunsatisfactory, and the case study presented is benefits, or returns. Again, though these arguments haveunconvincing as it does little to establish the an appealing intuitive logic, the recommendations madeeffectiveness of segmentation. Although Kotler et al have no empirical support, and Kotler et al provide nodraw on Prochaska and diClemente’s Transtheoretical evidence that adoption of these suggestions will increasemodel, they do not explain how the groups identified at the likelihood that the relevant public will perform thedifferent stages of this model can be effectively targeted, behaviour.or whether segmentation strategies based on this model The distribution chapter makes several importantmeet the criteria they argue should be used to evaluate suggestions that typically involve making the behavioursegments. Nor do the authors consider the practical easier to perform. For example, Kotler et al discuss thedifficulties researchers must address when attempting to use of mobile breast-screening vans and dental clinics,identify groups resistant to declaring “aberrant” which increase use of the service by fosteringbehaviours. accessibility. Given that the recommendations made allKotler et al often note the importance of effecting involve changes to the environment, it would have beenbehavioural change, and they link this to changes in helpful if the authors had linked their suggestions to aconsumers’ knowledge and beliefs, which in turn more formal behavioural framework. The promotionbecome the focus of social marketing campaigns. chapter takes what Ehrenberg (1974) would describe asThough this approach has an intuitive appeal, it has a strong theory approach, and focuses on behaviouralproved unsuccessful in some major social marketing change rather than maintenance of compliant behaviourcampaigns. For example, smokers’ awareness of the patterns. As social marketers often rely on regulations tohealth risks of smoking is generally high, despite their shape behaviours, the authors could have discussed howbehaviour. Thus, while Kotler et al provide an interesting promotion complements regulation by demonstratingoverview of different social behaviours, their analysis of and reinforcing desirable behaviours. One chapter inthe factors that contribute to these, and the potential role Section five does address the question of reinforcement,of environmental factors in modifying these behaviours, but seems somewhat out of place in a section that dealscould be more rigorous. mainly with questions of budgeting and evaluation. TheThe application of marketing strategy to social final chapter in Section four deals with media selection,marketing continues in the remaining sections of the and highlights some interesting and innovative strategiestext, and Section four applies the four Ps to social that offer ideas relevant to community-based socialmarketing. Beginning by defining the product sold in marketers through to those working for internationalsocial marketing, this section emphasises the organisations.behavioural goals that are at the heart of social marketing Section five explores the evaluation and monitoring ofcampaigns. However, Kotler et al continue their heavily social marketing campaigns and identifies a series ofcognitive approach; some acknowledgement and measures available to social marketers. The authorsdiscussion of operant and respondent conditioning recommend Andreasen’s “Backward” research approach.would add a useful dimension to their discussion. This approach suggests research design should workNevertheless, encouraging a focus on specific backwards from the tables that will appear in thebehaviours and the stimuli that can achieve these research report to the analyses necessary to produce theprovides a useful framework for social marketing, even tables, and, in turn, back to the questions required toif the theoretical underpinning is incomplete. produce the variables used in the analyses, whichUnfortunately, the suggestion that social behaviours themselves depend on the decisions to be based on theought to be marketed as “fun, easy and popular” seems research results. However, the chapter provides only asomewhat naïve, as anyone who has tried to promote brief overview of how this approach might work incervical or prostate cancer screening can no doubt attest. practice, and it would have been helpful to include a caseThe remaining chapters in this section, which deal with that illustrated Andreasen’s approach. The remainingprice, distribution, and promotion respectively, chapters in Section five examine budget setting andconcentrate on removal of barriers that might impede the programme maintenance, respectively. The budgetbehaviour of interest. Thus, it is argued, social marketers methods outlined are generic, however, the section onshould decrease the costs, monetary and non-monetary, funding offers some helpful suggestions.98 Australasian Marketing Journal 11 (1), 2003
  3. 3. Book ReviewsThe final section examines ethical issues that affect the text very helpful. However, for advanced students orsocial marketing campaigns, and questions whether the social marketers already familiar with Kotler’s work, theends justify the means, even when the ultimate goal is text does little more than apply his recipe to a newsome kind of social gain. Although this chapter outlines framework. The material presented offers little sense ofa series of useful questions that could serve as a checklist the debate about consumer behaviour occurring infor social marketers, the issues raised seem isolated and marketing more generally, or of the unique features ofwould be better considered as they arose throughout the social marketing, and so misses an opportunity totext. Integration of ethical issues with the relevant contribute to the development of social marketingdecisions would seem a more effective way of alerting theory.social marketers to the wider factors they may need toconsider in their decisions, and the implications of Referenceschoices they make. Alternatively, a more detailed Andreasen, A. (1995). Marketing Social Change. Sandiscussion of utilitarianism and deontology would give Francisco: Jossey-Bass.this chapter a stronger basis. Ehrenberg, A.S.C. (1974). Repetitive advertising and theOverall, this text provides a sound, if traditional, consumer. Journal of Advertising Research, 14 (2), 25-34.overview of social marketing and, for readers familiar Rothschild, M. (1999). Carrots, sticks and promises: Awith Kotler’s marketing management texts, much of the conceptual framework of the management of publicmaterial will be easily recognisable. The dominance of health and social issue behaviours. Journal of Marketing,Kotler’s philosophy is both a strength and a weakness of 63 (October), 24-37.this text. Kotler’s work has achieved internationalrecognition because of its accessibility and the Philip Gendallprescriptive frameworks he provides and less Massey Universityexperienced social marketers will almost certainly find Australasian Marketing Journal 11 (1), 2003 99

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