Commercial pace of the world is ever increasing. Marketing is one important ingredient that fuels this pace. Focus on reaping profits and more profits and some more is the usual norm. There is no denying that commercial marketing is necessary but somewhere it is also leading to wanton greed, recklessness and lack of responsibility towards environment. Commercial pursuits of organisations increasingly show their distancing from ‘social change for social good.’ Therefore, the need for marketing of social good, also called Social Marketing, which strives to promote positive human behaviours and progressive social welfare, through a well-planned strategy involving tactical and targeted research, design and outreach and last but not the least, an active feedback system.
Commercial marketing as we all know, thrives on competitive race for market share, brand building and profit maximisation. More importantly, it promotes consumption which many times goes unchecked. Commercial advertising plays its subtle tricks to cast a spell on the mind and reasoning ability of consumers. Social media bewitches and builds perceptions effortlessly and rewards any and all who know the art of killing your boredom with something worthwhile or who just kill our valuable time with just an information overload. In this scenario of a very influential commercial marketing atmosphere, people either callously spend, hoard or waste while being subconsciously ‘obeying’ the influencer (can be a product or idea or campaign trending that a consumer follows). Rampant consumption doesn’t make us responsible citizens and we tend to lose focus on society and its problems and our responsibility.
As opposed to commercial marketing, Social Marketing adopts a framework of building an ecosystem which helps nurture welfare, good will, good health and security. Social marketing takes the basic principles of commercial marketing and rolls out welfare strategies for a targeted approach towards promoting positive behaviours e.g. vaccination of children, breast feeding, better sanitation, safe driving, seatbelt/helmet use, no smoking, bicycling for better health and environment, addressing mental health, saying no to drugs, communal harmony, fighting casteism etc . Participation of communities and partnerships of various stakeholders and philanthropists drive social marketing efforts. Apart from commodity or idea, a good behaviour is also the product the marketing campaign sells. The profit is in the social good. Consumers (and not beneficiaries) adopt positive behaviours with clear understanding, awareness and acceptance that it is for their welfare.
Time and again, governments, NGO’s, corporates and individuals have strived for social good through campaigns and interventions aimed to improve lives of people in a positive manner. To make such welfare programs more effective in terms of reach and building positive social behaviours, social marketing is the scientific and strategic answer. Many developments campaigns of Government of India with huge budget and resource allocations like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Ayushman Bharat etc. have huge potential to become robust and successful social marketing campaigns.
A welfare driven marketing approach is a necessary step for success of development programs and community outreach. This marketing of social good will yield long term benefits, improving sustainability of a healthy and progressive ecosystem for human life and business.