Social Marketing vs. Social Change Marketing

March 18, 2008 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

In an earlier post, I clarified how social marketing differentiates itself from social media marketing. Now, I am asking for your thoughts on how the term social marketing relates to the term social change marketing.

social change


Social marketing, as we’ve discussed, has decades of theoretical history and practice. It is a term constantly evolving and defining itself. However, the field also faces a challenge: branding itself…especially since the onset of social media marketing.

Reading through social marketing texts and journals, the terms – social change, marketing for social change, and social change marketing are making increasing appearances, so I am curious on others’ thought about how the two terms relate.

A good summary of the two concepts, including how they relate to commercial marketing, is found in Dr. Stephen Dann’s slideshow titled:

“Social change marketing in the age of direct benefit marketing – where to from here?”

In this presentation, Dann asks the question: Where to from here? which provides information on how social marketing has grown and compares to commercial marketing and what this may mean for the future. Other signs of the concept of social change’s relationship to social marketing dates back to Prof. Alan Andreason’s book: Marketing Social Change. So, there is a history. On the web, Craig Lefebvre’s blog is titled On Social Marketing and Social Change, suggesting the relationship.

Thus, I am curious on your thoughts about the terms/concepts of social marketing versus social change marketing:

  • Can social marketing be renamed social change marketing?
  • Or, is social marketing one component of social change?
  • Or, is social marketing one piece of social change marketing? What’s the difference? Is there a difference?

It may seem like a matter of scrabble to some, but these discussions really engage me, and I hope the enthusiasm sparks interest as I think the relationship between the two terms is continuing to develop and will becoming increasingly important as we work to brand social marketing. =)


Entry filed under: Identity Crisis, Social Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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