Social marketing: tools for change

Social marketing – the art of marketing social causes with the tools well-honed in product marketing, i.e. instead of selling a physical product like soap, selling a cause or a change in behavior – has been successfully used by many organizations, and examples abound. For those of us in conservation education and communication, figuring out how to motivate people to change their behavior to “save the world” is an ongoing challenge.

Key to social marketing (or all marketing for that matter) is understanding your audience. Information about audiences like those offered by The Ocean Project, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, and Eurobarometer are great places to begin. Our research has clearly identified two key constituencies – youth and minorities – to focus on for greatest impact. These two groups show tremendous promise as groups that not only are willing to take action, but likely to have significant influence on others.
Who is your audience – who are you trying to sell “soap” to – and what are they like?  Please share your thoughts as we explore the ideas and tools of social marketing.

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