When most people think of marketing campaigns designed to promote social change, a few heavy hitters instantly spring to mind, like Smokey the Bear and Rosie the Riveter. Promotions such as “This Is Your Brain on Drugs” didn’t have a mascot but stay seared into our memory due to the visceral morbid imagery they provided. Whether you will run your campaign in Victoria, TX, or elsewhere, let’s go over what it takes to run a successful social marketing campaign.

9 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Social Marketing Campaign

1. What Is Your Product?

Social marketing promotes a way of life or behavior that benefits society and the individual completing the behavior. Since it isn’t a physical product being marketed, the product, i.e., the “change” that is being sold, must be easily identified.

Be precise and succinct when outlining your mission. The lack of an actual item means you must be acutely aware of what you are promoting to ensure consumer interest. This query may seem a touch obvious, but it is the most important one on the list. Establish what societal need you are trying to fill, and clearly define the change you are looking to promote.

2. Under What Category Does Your Product Fall?

Campaigns against smoking, drug use, or underage drinking are all health and safety-related. Other topics in the same category are healthy nutrition, exercise, traffic safety, and proper car seat use. Environmental causes are widely known campaigns, with awareness of rainforest deforestation, anti-littering, and endangered species protection acts holding strong at the top of the list.

In the past decade, there’s been an increase in the number of campaigns dedicated to social activism, and it isn’t just nonprofits and charities fighting the good fight. Companies and brands are now aligning with movements promoting gender and racial equality, anti-bullying, and diversity inclusion. Whether a nonprofit or commercial business, be sure to identify your campaign correctly.

3. Who Is Your Target Consumer?

Again, specificity is critical. While some products are marketable to most, such as anti-littering, many campaigns are narrower in focus. Choosing a target consumer allows you to make your marketing efforts more effective by adjusting your advertising to appeal to your consumer’s preferences. Even if your product is suitable for a broad audience, tightening your focus allows you to market more successfully to your ideal customer.

For example, a marketing campaign to prompt people in Victoria, TX, to carry Naloxone and be willing to use it in an opioid overdose needs to be seen by individuals most likely to encounter that particular medical emergency. Late teens through young adults, both male, and female, living in or local to the town would be the target audience to reach. Save your advertising budget by not putting this promotion in front of all individuals outside your target demographic.

4. How Much Does Your Product Cost Consumers?

The price your consumers have to pay isn’t always monetary. It is also the time, difficulty, and emotional/psychological effort required to complete the action. Sometimes the price will be literal use of resources, such as donating canned goods or money to a food pantry. Or it could be a perceived emotional price, like a child believing they have placed a target on their back by defending a peer against a bully.

If you can minimize the cost that your demographic “pays” by completing the desired behavior, you will more easily sway them to perform the task. Promoting increased exercise in a city with limited or hard to access fitness and recreation areas is a failed venture before it begins. But if you can provide them with a space to exercise that is accessible and affordable, you are lowering the action price and increasing the chance they will complete it.

5. Where Do You Want the Consumer to Perform the Behavior?

Picture the place where your consumers will complete the task. You’ll need to influence them where they are required to perform the desired behavior. If you are trying to get people to donate food, you’ll want to make them think about buying food to donate while they are shopping. You’ll also need to make sure the donation location is prominent and reminds them to relinquish the goods so they don’t end up forgotten.

This rationale is why it is common to see food collection bins at grocery stores. By placing the collection receptacle in the location where the consumer can purchase the items needed to complete the desired task and donate them before leaving, you raise the consumer’s chances of achieving it.

6. What Is the Best Way to Promote Your Product?

You’ll want to make sure you are placing your product in front of your target demographic. With a vast range of places to advertise, you will need to research what platform will best allow you to reach your target demographic. Social media, radio, public transport, billboard, and print marketing are all avenues to consider.

You may find you need multiple methods to promote your product to its full potential. It is also vital that you incorporate your message into the community as much as possible to reinforce the desired action on multiple levels. Digital advertising is often a great way to promote to many people in your target demographic for a relatively low cost per person reached.

7. Are There Incentives or Repercussions for Consumers?

When individuals respond by performing the desired behavior, having a positive consequence will increase their chances of completing the task again. Encouraging positive behavior change by rewarding the wanted behavior is more effective than punishing the target behavior’s opposite to form lasting change.

Methods of rewarding task completion don’t have to be complex or expensive to be successful. Think of how many “I Voted” stickers are photographed and posted to social media platforms after each election cycle. The sticker isn’t costly, but the social approval and validation from confirming their civic responsibility are precious to the consumer at that moment.

8. What Is the Opposite of the Desired Product?

For a straightforward example, if your campaign revolves around anti-bullying, the opposition to your desired product is bullying. However, the opposite of some products may prove more challenging to identify. Once you have established the force opposing your ideal action, it’s time to figure out how to make the unwanted activity seem less appealing.

While punishment for the negative behavior isn’t the most effective tactic, making the unwanted action seem unpleasant can be. That’s why many anti-tobacco campaigns show the devastating effects of smoking, starting with the lower levels of annoyance such as stained teeth and finish on lung and throat cancer. Consider what negative facets the campaign’s opposite action has to highlight if you want to encourage people to engage in the desired behavior.

9. Is Your Campaign Specific to Victoria, TX?

Decide how far you want your campaign to reach. Will it be local to your city, across your state, or nationwide? Use good judgment in selecting how large of an area you want to cover. You’ll need your efforts to be sustainable for the long haul, so choose a manageable region.

Multiple questions require consideration when beginning a marketing campaign, and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Luckily, you don’t have to figure it all out alone. Call or email M&D Digital Advertising today and let us help you make the world a better place, one campaign at a time.

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