Background to the Study

Soial marketing is the “application of commercial marketing technologies to the analysis, planning, execution and evaluation of programs designed to influence the voluntary behavior of the audience in order to improve their personal welfare and that of the society”, (Andreasen, 1995). It is a program-planning process that applies commercial marketing concept and techniques to promote voluntary behavior change, (Kotler, 2002). The definition of social marketing also includes the analysis of the social consequences of commercial marketing policies and activities (Hastings 2003).


The defining features of social marketing emanate from marketing conceptual framework and include exchange theory, audience segmentation, competition, the marketing mix, consumer orientation, and continuous monitoring. Although social marketing shares many features with other related public health planning processes, it is distinguished by the systematic emphasis marketers place on the strategic integration of the elements in  the marketing conceptual framework. By the use of marketing mix, products could represent behavior or idea, the price of the behavior change could be the monetary cost (exchange theory), the place could be where the medical or educational services are offered, promotion could be public announcements, media, community outreach and people could be the target audience.


Social marketing focuses on resolving social problems. It focuses on influencing peoples behaviors from ways of acting or lifestyle that are designated as leading or contributing to social problems and towards other ways of acting and lifestyle that will improve these peoples well being and does not expect a customer to pay a price equal to the cost of producing a product or a service as compared to commercial marketing (Webster 1975).The primary aim of social marketing is not to promote some other commercial aims by means of advancing the resolution of certain social problems rather it’s to resolve these problems.

In contrast, marketing influences behavior by offering alternative choices that invite voluntary exchange. Marketing alters the environment to make the recommended health behavior more advantageous than the unhealthy behavior; it is designed to replace and then communicates the more favorable cost-benefit relationship to the target audience.