Spare Change

making a difference with social marketing
by Nedra Kline Weinreich

Just a quick note to let you know that I will be traveling until April 3rd so will be unable to post during that time. More when I return...
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links for 2006-03-21
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I have a new article up on called Strategic Social Marketing for Nonprofits.
If you run a nonprofit, you know that marketing is essential to your mission. To many nonprofit managers, marketing equals fundraising and nothing more. But your organization exists for more than just bringing in donations. By using social marketing methods, you can boost the effectiveness of programs and activities that are the reason your organization exists in the first place—to make a difference.

Social marketing uses the same tools and techniques of commercial marketing, but its purpose is to bring about positive health and social change. Rather than focusing on sales or funds raised as the ultimate outcome, social marketing's bottom line is behavior change...
I hope you'll read the rest for what I think is a good basic overview of social marketing.
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From the WOMMA newsletter, we get a glimpse into the power of Mom WOM for influencing the entire family. Lucid Marketing's Kevin Burke gives us five reasons for targeting mothers for word of mouth campaigns:

Tip #1. Moms are your customers
Recent data suggests moms control 80 percent of household spending, and they are typically buying for themselves, their husbands, and their kids. Capture "Mom WOM" and you capture a huge market of valuable consumers for nearly every consumer business.

Tip #2. Moms are busy and discerning
Moms have more choices than in previous generations. They are pressed for time and often juggle a work-life balance. Moms multi-task skillfully because they have to. They're on the lookout for solutions to make life easier, which is one reason why they strongly embrace the internet. If stranded on a desert island and can only have one medium, they chose email over all others.

Tip #3. Moms are not classical influential profile
Moms value relationships to a greater extent than anyone else because they experience the strongest relationship anyone can have -- a mother and child. Moms are good at building relationships and enjoy sharing know-how. You can see relationships growing and word of mouth happening at ball games, bus stops, birthday parties, etc.

Tip #4. Moms are extremely credible with peers
Moms are big influencers in mom-to-mom dialogue. They are more likely to make personal recommendations to other moms, and they rank WOM from other moms as the most trusted means of finding out about new products and services. The thought process is as simple as, "she's like me and knows what I face!"

Tip #5. Moms have widely differing behaviors
"Typical" mom activities? There are no such thing. Their busy lives lead them to all different places and experiences.

As a mom of a 5 and an 8 year old, this definitely matches up with my own experience. I make 90% of all purchasing decisions for the family (#1), hugely prefer to use e-mail over other forms of communication because it's quick and efficient (#2), spend my day jumping between different relationship contexts (#3), will definitely trust the opinions of other moms I know about things related to the kids as well as products/services that will make my life a little easier (#4), and rarely have one day that's the same as the next (#5).

I am WOMMY, hear me roar!
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Billboardom has some great examples of creative billboards and outdoor media against drinking and driving. It's fun to see social marketers thinking outside the 30-second PSA box.
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links for 2006-03-16
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Pharmaceutical companies are amazingly effective at convincing doctors (and patients) that their products are the solution for particular health problems. What can we learn from the marketing techniques that Big Pharma uses, to apply to the social marketing issues we are addressing?

Today's Wall Street Journal features a front-page article
(available only to subscribers) called "As Drug Bill Soars, Some Doctors Get An 'Unsales' Pitch." The article describes how the state of Pennsylvania has funded a team of "unsalespeople" to get doctors to consider alternatives to expensive brand-name drugs -- things like cheaper generic drugs, over the counter remedies, and even lifestyle changes. Pennsylvania hopes to reduce the $3 billion a year it spends on drugs for state employees, poor people on Medicaid and elderly people on the state drug-assistance program.

Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars a year on their marketing efforts to make sure that doctors think of their brand-name products when they write a prescription. They employ more than 90,000 salespeople in the US, who are known as "detailers" because they can recite drug facts from memory. Every day they roll from doctor's office to doctor's office, handing out everything from pens and notepads to clocks and tissue boxes emblazoned with their brand logos, hoping to get a few minutes with the docs to deliver their sales pitch.

Pennsylvania's "unsales" force does not have fun promotional items to hand out, but they do have something the drug reps don't have: credibility. They carry a letter of introduction from the Harvard professor coordinating the program and offer free copies of books by Harvard doctors. In addition, Harvard has certified the content of its reps talks as educational, so that doctors who listen to the material and pass a short quiz afterward receive continuing medical education credits (CMEs).

For what types of social marketing issues could we use this distribution model? Research has found that for some health issues, people are much more likely to take action if they are told by their doctor to do something -- for example, getting a mammogram, quitting smoking, losing weight, etc. However, many doctors do not address these issues unless the patient brings it up himself.

A group of rheumatologists I worked with in Mexico explained to me that only a very tiny percentage of Mexican patients with rheumatological conditions like arthritis ever see a specialist. Most people do not know that the field of rheumatology exists, and their primary care physician never refers them to a specialist. They were interested in using social marketing to promote their profession, primarily to general practitioners who should be referring certain types of cases to a rheumatologist. This type of issue, which involves building awareness of available resources with the common goal of improving outcomes for their patients, could also be "sold" through face-to-face meetings with primary care physicians. Ironically, this meeting was part of a conference at an all-inclusive resort near Cancun sponsored by a major pharmaceutical company introducing a new use for one of their drugs.

Most social marketing programs cannot afford to fly in doctors from all over the country to wine and dine them with a fancy vacation while pitching their product, but perhaps your program could identify the largest medical practices in your community and conduct some lunchtime educational sessions while offering CMEs. Visit medical offices to try to get a few minutes of the doctors' time to promote your product, and make sure that your message is one that will resonate with a physician; focus on facts and effectiveness based on research. Provide tools that will help them do what you are asking them to do: ready-made handouts, referral slips, a stamp or sticker to add to each patient's chart. You have something of value you can offer to physicians -- a way of helping them improve the health of their patients. It may not be a branded gym bag, but you have credibility and objectivity on your side.
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links for 2006-03-11
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links for 2006-03-10
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links for 2006-03-09
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links for 2006-03-08
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Kudos to Charlene Li and her colleagues at Forrester Research for changing the name of their previously titled "Social Marketing Boot Camp" to the "Social Computing Boot Camp" (official title - "Social Computing: Tapping Into the Power of Connected Customers").

After my recent post bemoaning the fact that the term "social marketing" was being co-opted by bloggers and others talking about peer-to-peer and consumer generated media, Charlene agreed that the dual use of the term could be confusing. Thanks to her example, and hopefully others like her out there, we may yet win the war of words, keeping the meaning of the term "social marketing" free from confusion.

And I think the term "social computing" describes what she is doing perfectly.
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The Word of Mouth Marketing Association highlights tips from the Prostate Net's Virgil Simons on how he used a grassroots-based word of mouth campaign to increase the number of men in underserved communities getting screened for prostate cancer. Working with a volunteer force of over 300 barbers who went through his training, his project has reached over 10,000 of the participating barbers' customers and detected a whopping 452 cases of prostate cancer.

This campaign was right on the mark in so many ways:
  • It reached men at a place that every man needs to go on a regular basis -- the barbershop.
  • It utilized people who were trusted in the community, who already had personal relationships with each customer -- the barbers.
  • It worked with local hospitals and other partners to have free screening tests available for the men referred by the barbers.
  • It jumped on an incredibly timed opportunity for exposure by tying in the campaign with the movie "Barbershop 2," which was released during that period.
  • It provided ongoing incentives and recognition for the barbers who were involved with the effort.
  • It was such an unusual type of campaign that it was able to get extensive news coverage, and even a mention on the Jay Leno show.
For more information, you can see Virgil's presentation at the WOMMA conference (pdf).
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links for 2006-03-07
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This week's Carnival of Marketing is now up, hosted by Jack Yoest at It has several very interesting articles on various aspects of marketing.

Also, forgot to link to the Carnival last week, which was hosted over the course of the week by Larry Bodine at the Professional Services Marketing Blog. Here is the link to the first day of posts, which started off with yours truly (it says "Day Two," but the first day was just the introduction). Follow the links at the tops of the pages to see each day's post.
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links for 2006-03-06
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Each week, I come across many interesting articles, websites and blog posts that are relevant to social marketing, but which I don't have time to write about. I will be starting to post these links here so that you can take a look at them, even if I don't write about them. I have set up to automatically post my daily links, so I'm hoping that it will work with no glitches. Please forgive me in advance in case it takes a few days to get the kinks worked out.

For those who are interested in browsing through all of my bookmarks related to social marketing, you can go directly to my links. I am still in the process of moving over all of the links from my website to, but it should be done soon. One of the things I really like about is that I can categorize one link with several different tags and am not confined to keeping, say, a link about researching the effects of a media campaign in either "research" or "media," but can put it in both simultaneously.

So, I hope you'll enjoy your "byte" of this new feature (ouch - horrible pun!).
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