In the last two decades, medical and healthcare communications has seen rapid development. It has gone from relying on public service announcements to a more systematic approach that uses successful techniques used by commercial marketing gurus (now known as “social marketing”). The goal of professionals is to get to the root level of the target audience. Consumer level understanding requires market research and constant re-evaluation. Social marketing focuses on market segment research and evaluation.
Social Marketing was created by Gerald Zaltma and Philip Kotler. They realized in the 1970s that marketing principles used to sell products could also be used to promote ideas, behavior styles, and attitudes. Andreasen and Kotler defined social marketing as “differing only from other areas marketing with respect to the goals of the marketer or his/her organization.” Social marketing is not about influencing social behavior to benefit the marketer but the target audience and society at large.
Social marketing is still widely used in international health campaigns, such as contraception, oral rehydration therapy and polio vaccination drives. The focus in social marketing is similar to commercial marketing. It is all about consumer-learning and pursuing consumers to buy what is being made. Social marketing is based on the 4Ps.
2. Place (product distribution)
To sell a product, people must perceive it as a solution for a real problem. Market research helps you understand the perceptions of your product or service and how motivated consumers are to solve their problems.
Place (product distribution)
The place is the way a product reaches its consumer. This could include the provision of a product or service from a clinic, warehouse, or other means of transportation. It also includes sales staff, representatives, and retail outlets that sell the product. The accessibility of the place for quality service and delivery is what determines its value. Researchers can identify the best way to distribute their products or services by studying the behavior and habits of the target audience.
The price refers to how much a consumer will pay to purchase a product or service. Cost can refer to a financial angle, or the amount of effort or time a consumer is willing to give up. The perceived benefits to an individual should outweigh the cost of a product/service. The price of a product or service can also influence the consumer’s mindset. A product that is too expensive can be perceived as low quality, which could reduce its brand value. These perceptions are important for brand positioning. The price of a product should then be determined based upon these observations.
Promotion is the final letter of social marketing. Promotion includes advertising, public relations and media advocacy. Press release, personal selling, and press release are all examples. Promoting is all about coupons, editorials and in-house parties. To reach your target audience, you will need to conduct market research.
Market research is the most important tool for determining product, place, price and promotion, as well as other decisions in social marketing.