Defining Social Marketing: Lessons from London’s NSM Centre – 8 Benchmark Criteria
Being in the social media space, and telling others I write about social marketing, I often preface the convo with a 25-word de-briefer between social media and social marketing.
This post hopes to further clarify and define social marketing by highlighting the eight benchmarks that London’s National Social Marketing Centre developed. And, will be used to evaluate future social marketing campaigns in the future.
Background: Alan Andreasen, one of America’s social marketing thought leaders, originally developed 6 benchmarks for defining social marketing in 2001. The NSM Centre then embarked on further evaluating these benchmarks in 2006. Some may point out that other benchmarks should be used as defining criteria, so it is important to note the NSM Centre created these eight benchmark’s as the characteristics unique to social marketing.
How to Use: These benchmarks can be used as a tool when working to identify whether a certain approach or campaign is identifiable as social marketing. These benchmarks are not necessarily the approach to conducting social marketing. However, they can help inspire new ideas and be used as a resource.
These benchmarks may also be useful when: A) considering and/or developing social marketing strategy, B) conducting social marketing trainings, C) in academic research and for reference. If one can not find these benchmarks within the work, then that work could very well not be ‘official’ social marketing.
Who Should Use: Government agencies, consultants, changemakers, evaluators, researchers, professors, trainers, policy makers, non-profits, foundations, charities, Ad Agencies, Communications Firm, Environmentalists, International Development folks, and more.
The Eight Benchmarks:
- Customer Orientation: Does the strategy develop a full understanding of the consumer? Is consumer research gathered from a variety of sources?
- Behavior: Is there a clear focus on behavior? with specific behavior goals in mind?
- Theory: Are the behavior goals theory-based and draw from an integrated theory-supported framework?
- Insight: Does the strategy work to gain a deeper ‘insight’ approach? looking at what ‘moves’ and ‘motivates?’
- Exchange: Does the strategy incorporate ‘exchange’ analysis? What must one give to get?
- Competition: Does the strategy address the ‘competition?’ What behaviors compete for the time and attention of the audience?
- Segmentation: Are you going beyond targeting and delving deep into various audience segments?
- Methods Mix: Are you utilizing an appropriate ‘mix’ of methods?
- The social marketing field is evolving. As the definition has continually been tweaked and expanded, it is helpful to decipher among what is and what is not, social marketing.
- Social marketing, as a field of study and practice, is increasing its professionalism. These benchmarks help to decipher social marketing from public service advertising, cause communications, health communications, education, corporate responsibility, nonprofit communications, advocacy, lobbying, and social advertising. These fields may overlap and share common factors within social marketing but they in and of themselves, are unique, but could be possible social marketing tools.