Awareness Schmawareness (and a new webinar series!)

Think you need to do an awareness campaign? Think again. I talk about this common pitfall and more in my latest video:

If the video inspires you to learn more about how to use social marketing to make your program more effective, I have a new webinar series coming up! The Hands-On Social Marketing webinar series starts January 11th, and will focus on the social marketing process, audience research and segmentation, behavior change strategies and social marketing evaluation. Webinar #1: Social Marketing Step-by-Step Tues, January 11, 2011, 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST / 7:00 pm GMT This 60-minute webinar lays out the process of developing an effective social marketing program by following six key steps. Following this clear process, you will ensure that your program is developed and implemented systematically and strategically. Webinar #2: Understanding and Segmenting Your Audience Tues, January 25, 2011, 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST / 7:00 pm GMT This 60-minute webinar will discuss how to select the target audience(s) you will address with your social marketing program and the various types of research methods you can use to understand what motivates them. Webinar #3: Behavior Change Tricks of the Trade Tues, February 8, 2011, 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST / 7:00 pm GMT This 60-minute webinar presents an assortment of methods you can draw from to help your audience adopt positive or healthy behaviors. We’ll discuss various behavior change theories, the use of fear appeals, the design approach and more. Webinar #4: Real-World Social Marketing Research and Evaluation Tues, February 22, 2011, 11:00 am PST / 2:00 pm EST / 7:00 pm GMT This 60-minute webinar focuses on how to conduct research to plan and evaluate your social marketing program. While many feel evaluation is the most challenging part of social marketing, this webinar will give you the confidence to tackle a design for your program. Archived webinars from previous series on social marketing fundamentals and social media are also available. For more information and to register, just go to Social Marketing University Online.

New Edition of ‘Hands-On Social Marketing’ is Here!

Back when I first started consulting in the mid-90s, I saw a big gap in the field of social marketing. There were some good books on social marketing out that explained the key concepts of the field (particularly Alan Andreasen’s Marketing Social Change book), but not much on how to actually DO social marketing. The closest to what I had in mind was the National Cancer Institute’s “Pink Bible” (as many of us in the field call it), which is filled with practical how-to advice on designing health communication programs, but it was not comprehensive enough. So, I decided to write it myself.I completed the final draft and sent it to the publisher days before my first child was born. The book itself was born in 1999, titled Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide. Over the years it was translated into several languages, used by practitioners in the US and around the world, and integrated as a textbook into college and graduate programs. The book held up pretty well for many years, because of its emphasis on the timeless concepts and process. But around 2005, something happened that made the book feel more and more out of date as the years went on. It was called social media. Over the past several years I’ve been working on and off on updating the book and identifying the changes in the field that needed to be included in a new edition.

I’m happy to say that the second edition of the book is now out! It’s been renamed Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Change for Good, to make clear that the book is about social marketing, not social media marketing (though the book certainly touches on that topic as well). The book still explains key social marketing concepts and takes you through the steps of the social marketing process (now six rather than five – I’ve divided the “planning” step into “analysis” and “strategy development”). It still has extensive worksheets that help you apply the concepts in each chapter to your own program, and sidebars with how-tos and useful resources. But it has new chapters and emphasis on incorporating social media into your program, as well as using the design approach to create behavior change. While the first book had more of a focus on public health applications (my own background), the examples in the new book span the range of social, environmental and, yes, health topics to which social marketing can be applied.

For more information about the book, you can take a look at HandsOnSocialMarketing.com. The site includes a detailed table of contents and some sample chapters, as well as an online version of the social marketing resource list included in the book’s appendix. Soon the publisher will be providing me with pdf versions of the worksheets to post as well.

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon.com. If you teach a course related to social marketing and would like a complimentary review copy, you can request it via the publisher, Sage Publications. If you’re interested in reviewing the book on your blog or for other publications, please let me know. I would be especially appreciative if, after you buy the book, you would post your review of it on Amazon – I’d love to know what you think of it and how you are using it. And if you like it, you can also join the fan page for the book on Facebook to find out about the latest developments.

Finally, on my YouTube debut, you can see me talking about the book on video (below). I’ve been encouraged to create a limited series of short videos on topics from the book, so I’m considering that. What do you think?

 

Social Marketing University in DC

LinkThe next Social Marketing University training is coming to Washington, DC on January 11-13, 2010. If you’re interested in learning the fundamentals of social marketing to bring about health, social or environmental behavior change, this is the course!

The training is for people working at nonprofits, government agencies, PR/marketing agencies or others who want to build knowledge and skills for building an effective social marketing strategy. If you’re already familiar with social marketing but want to learn about how to use social media within a social marketing program, you have the option of just attending the last half-day, which is the Next Generation Social Marketing Seminar.

This course is being co-sponsored by the Public Health Communication & Marketing Program at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. The agenda will include a social marketing case study presented by the program’s director, Doug Evans.

For more information about SMU and to register, see the Social Marketing University information page. If you register before December 11, you will get a $100 discount. You can also receive additional discounts when more than one person from the same organization registers, or if you are a student.

As a reader of my blog, you will get an additional $75 off on top of the other discounts by using the discount code ‘BLOG’.

I hope I’ll see you there!

The Path to Health Marketing Collaboration

When’s the last time someone wrote a superhero comic about people in your profession? Sure, if you’re a reporter, nuclear scientist or even a reclusive millionaire, you’re used to this type of thing. But we health marketing types are usually the ones on the development side of the media, not the target audience. So I’m sure you’ll be as excited as I was to discover that my longtime blog friend Fard Johnmar of Envision Solutions and the HealthCareVox blog has created both a fun set of different types of media to draw people like us in, and a more serious project that underlies it.

His mission is to bring together people who work in health marketing communications across disciplines so we can learn from each other. He calls this the Path of the Blue Eye — a rather zen-sounding name with accompanying mantras that help us do our jobs more effectively.

Fard graciously agreed to share more information about the origins of the project and its different components with my readers via an email interview:

What spurred you to create the Path of the Blue Eye?

I was motivated to develop the Path of the Blue Eye project in response to two statements, both of which begin with the words “I wish.” They are:

  • I wish I knew that.
  • I wish we had a place to collect this information.

Over the years, I’ve learned about beneficial data, case studies and other info that would be useful to people across the health marketing communications industry. I often share my knowledge in conversations with pharma marketers, public health experts, social marketers and others. Many times, I find that people are not aware of interesting and successful campaigns taking place in industry segments they do not work in. For example, people in pharmaceutical marketing are sometimes not knowledgeable about campaigns launched by government agencies that leverage social technologies. After our conversations, people will sometimes nod their heads and say: “I wish I knew that.”

In addition, I have had many conversations about how we need a place where people can quickly and easily share information with their peers – especially with those working in other parts of the health marketing communications industry. They say: “I wish I we had a place to collect this information.”

The Path of the Blue Eye project is designed to grant each of these wishes by:

  • Fostering knowledge sharing across health marketing communications industry segments and silos.
  • Providing people with tools they can use to quickly share interesting information with others working in the industry from around the world.

The key word here is interdisciplinary. We are trying to reach across silos and centers of practice rather than working within them.

How does this project fit in with the work you have been doing with Envision Solutions?

The mission of Envision Solutions is to help health marketing communications pros become more efficient and successful. I think the Path of the Blue Eye project helps us to achieve this objective.

Can you tell us about the different components of this project and how they fit together? How will you phase them in?

The core of the project will be an online collaboration hub we are currently building. It will enable people in health marketing communications to:

  • Quickly access and share data, case studies, news articles, blog posts and other content relevant to the field.
  • Ask and answer questions from their peers.

Currently we are the pre-launch phase of the project. We are leveraging the comic, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and other communications channels to spread the word about the project and attract a diverse group of people who believe in what we are trying to accomplish. I am happy to say that (as of this writing), nearly 80 people have “joined” the project via e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. We launched Path of the Blue Eye about a week ago, so I’m very pleased with the progress thus far.

In phase II, we will invite a select group of people to help us conduct a series of road tests on the collaboration hub to help us iron out any final kinks in the system. After this, we’ll launch the hub and begin our work in earnest.

I’m also very excited that we’ve been able to develop some strong partnerships with prominent organizations and businesses over the last few months. They have agreed to help strengthen the hub by providing information to the Path of the Blue Eye community when it launches.

How would you define the “Path of the Blue Eye?”

The Path of the Blue Eye is represented in the comic by a series of six mantras. These represent habits and activities we believe will help people forging careers in the health marketing communications industry achieve success.

Who are the main groups you’d like to reach and what are some of the ways people can become involved with this project?

We are trying to reach a diverse range of people working in all areas of the global health marketing communications industry. Everyone is welcome, including social marketers, public relations professionals, advertisers, pharmaceutical/biotech marketers, public health communicators, academics and others.

Given the current intense interest in social media it is important to note that the site wlll not be focused solely on social communications channels and techniques. Rather, we want people practicing in all areas of the field to feel comfortable participating in and contributing to the hub.

Currently, people can participate in the project by:

  • Showing their support for the project by joining our Facebook group, Twitter community or signing up for our e-mail list.
  • Spreading the word about the project to their friends and colleagues.
  • Considering becoming contributing or guest authors on the project’s blog Walking the Path. We are looking to build a blog that features a diverse range of perspectives from people around the world. A few people have accepted our invitation to participate, but we are always looking for more authors. Currently, guest authors are helping to produce a series of blog posts focusing on what collaboration means to them.

Once the hub launches, people will have other ways they can contribute to the project.

I love the comic book! I’m sure it’s the first time that health marketers have been featured as superheroes. What was your thinking behind using this medium? Can we expect to see this as an ongoing series?

I’m really glad you like the comic! I decided to commission the comic because I wanted to:

o Create a mythology focusing on the work of health marketing communications pros. We are often behind the scenes, creating campaigns for others, so I wanted to celebrate what we do.
o Attract a broad range of people to the project.
o Encourage us to have fun and enjoy the work we do each day

I also want to use the comic to expose more people in our industry to transmedia storytelling techniques. There’s a lot more going on with the comic than meets the eye, so I encourage people to dive deeper by participating in the SMS component of the project. Not many people have accepted our invitation yet, but I hope this changes in the coming weeks. I also hope people enjoy the comic’s soundtrack.

I hope we’ll be able to produce future issues of the comic. If people want more we’ll continue the story.

How would you like to see the Path of the Blue Eye evolve over time? What would it ideally look like five years from now?

Ultimately, I’d like to see the project evolve into a strong, self-sustaining, diverse, interconnected global community of health marketing communications pros.

Five years from now, I hope that the community will have become a go-to resource for people trying to improve their skills and develop better health marketing communications campaigns. We want to help people become better at what they do. If we achieve this, I think the project will be successful.

***
I wish Fard great success with this project, and I am excited about being part of it as well. I hope you will also consider participating in some way, as the whole profession will benefit as more people get involved. We can all walk the path together, which makes getting over the hills much easier.

Upcoming: Social Marketing University Advanced Course and Webinars

It’s that time again – time to announce the next session of Social Marketing University! Many of you know that I have been offering SMU trainings since 2006 as a 2-1/2 day introduction to using social marketing to promote health and social issues.

This year, taking into account many people’s requests for the next level of social marketing training beyond the basics, I will be offering the Social Marketing University Advanced Course. This 2-day training is for people who are already familiar with the fundamentals of social marketing who are looking for new ideas and insights, including those who have taken previous SMU trainings in what I am now calling the Foundations Course.

The Advanced Course will be offered on September 14-15, 2009 in Berkeley, CA. We’ll focus on topics like audience segmentation techniques, real-world research and evaluation, effective approaches to behavior change and will spend a full day on using online social media strategically. For more information, pricing and registration, see the SMU information page.

Don’t be disappointed if you can’t make it to Berkeley this time, or if you would like social marketing training but are not quite ready for the Advanced Course. I will also be offering a series of four webinars on social marketing fundamentals through Social Marketing University Online during the summer. You can attend this series to prepare for the Advanced Course, or just to bone up on individual social marketing topics of interest to you.

These 60-minute webinars will happen every other Wednesday at 12 noon PDT in the months leading up to the Advanced Course. The schedule is as follows:

  • July 22, 2009 – Change for Good: Using Social Marketing to Make a Difference
  • August 5, 2009 – Building An Effective Social Marketing Strategy
  • August 19, 2009 – Creating Social Marketing Messages That Work
  • September 2, 2009 – Social Media for Social Marketers

Take a look at the SMU Online information page for detailed descriptions of the webinars and pricing (4 for the price of 3!).

I’m also happy to offer a 10% special discount off the Advanced Course for my blog readers (enter discount code “BLOG”), and I hope you will join me at one or more of these events!

Keep up with the latest on SMU by joining the Facebook Fan Page or following the @SocialMktgU Twitter account.

Get Hands-On With Me!

Over ten years ago, I saw a need among nonprofit and public agency staff for a book that would lead them through the process of developing a social marketing program. So often, health, social and environmental organizations decide they want to apply social marketing to the work that they are doing, but do not have the budget to hire a consultant or marketing firm and still have enough left to carry out the project. I decided to fill that gap in the field, and turned in the first draft of the chapters to the publisher in March 1998, just before my first child was born (it was like giving birth twice in a row!). In June of 1999, my book Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide was published by Sage Publications.

Since then, I’ve been gratified to find out that my book has been used by people all over the world to create social marketing programs, teach college and grad-level courses, and to overhaul how organizations carry out their activities directed toward positive behavior change. It’s always exciting when someone tells me they have used my book and found it helpful.

But this blog post is not about promoting the book. Rather, I’m asking for your help. A lot has happened in social marketing — and the world in general — in the ten years since I wrote the book. I’m currently working on the next edition of the book, which will be updating everything that’s outdated and changing chapters and worksheets around based on how my own practice has evolved over the course of a decade. I’ve certainly learned a lot since the book was published, and the field of social marketing has matured as well.

So now I’m reaching out to my target audience (you) to do some research to find out what you would like to see in the next edition. For those of you who have read and used the book, whether as a student or practitioner, please let me know your suggestions. What is most helpful about the book? What didn’t work for you in practice, or was confusing? How can I make the book a better resource for you?

And even if you haven’t read the book, please let me know what topics you are most interested in learning more about. This is a how-to book, so what parts of the social marketing process do you get stuck in? What topics do you want to know more about? What are the big questions that keep you up at night worrying about your social marketing program? And what would your ideal guidebook look like in terms of format?

Any input that you can give me (either in the comments or via email) would be incredibly helpful in making the ultimate product a book that can help you and others to change the world for good. Thank you in advance!