What is social marketing really capable of?

Social marketing – driving behaviour change in healthcare The way we live, how we live, and the stresses that we face are quite different to those of, say, people living in the 1940s. While you could argue that after the war, life was extremely stressful in Britain, as we and other countries tried to get back to some form of normality, today’s lifestyle pressures are also great. We as a society, lead very stressful lives. Some would argue that technology is partly to blame for this. Certainly, the office never closes – mobile technology has led to that. But it has made new things possible too, so that we can communicate and connect with people across the globe.

Managing our high intensity lives

Unfortunately, the intensity of our lives has brought on a range of new, threatening health conditions.

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Socially responsible healthcare marketing

Changing the way people behave

Healthcare marketing companies, specialising in social marketing campaigns, are working with the NHS and other primary care health providers, to tackle behavioural issues, leading to positive health outcomes.

Social marketing aims to redress the balance of health inequalities. It gets alongside people, understands why they do what they do, how they live, why they live like that, and then attempts to positively influence their health habits.

A well thought out, conceived and delivered social marketing campaign can change lives, change behaviours and create wider social harmony.

Contributing to positive health outcomes

But it’s the ability of social marketing to contribute to positive health outcomes that has caught the imagination of the NHS and other health providers.

For almost a decade the NHS has been using social marketing as a technique to help deliver its wider healthcare strategy.

Believing it can penetrate the heart of a number of health and social issues at grass roots levels, its proven to be a very effective way of driving change.

Isn’t social marketing just another label?

Absolutely not and it doesn’t resemble traditional marketing campaigns. The success of a social marketing campaign is not defined by size of profit, but by the number of behaviours it changes – or positive health outcomes it achieves.

Reaching out and connecting

The overriding success of social marketing very much depends on the purpose of the campaign, and its ability to make a personal connection with people in target groups. If they feel that the message is relevant to them, then they are more likely to respond and change.

How you make that connection involves use of a number of sophisticated marketing tools – from digital technology, through to automated marekting, social media, online blogs and YouTube films demonstrating practical advice.

Social marketing is an extremely powerful framework – it’s a socially responsible way of marketing that continues to impress and evolve as ideas and thinking move on.

Social marketing – tackling some of UK’s toughest healthcare issues

The healthcare industry is facing some tough issues. With more people relying on the NHS to deliver professional health services on a daily basis, it has reached breaking point.

The number of people using the UK’s health services is a key factor, funding and staffing are others, but the real question is, can social marketing principles be used to initiate and sustain preventive health change among groups and communities perceived to be at risk?

One train of thought is that if the healthcare industry can get to grips with some of the underlying causes of many of the health issues it’s having to deal with, it stands a chance of survival.

Robust health marketing strategies are required

Now more than ever, there is a need for healthcare providers, to deliver health marketing strategies that deal with society’s social, health and mental wellbeing issues. These strategies need to deliver cohesive, coordinated and effective behaviour change among groups of people and communities, to limit unnecessary pressures on the NHS.

Social marketing – a possible solution?

While there is no quick fix, social marketing has been successfully used to initiate positive behaviour change among certain target groups.

Social marketing agencies specialise in marketing health services and NHS marketing, and are working with healthcare advertising agencies, to create frameworks that deliver positive behaviour change.

Dealing with underlying causes

We are a nation full of bad habits! Many of us, smoke, drink excessively, eat unhealthily and live our lives on the edge. Social marketing aims to understand why people make poor lifestyle decisions, and then finds ways of influencing those choices, leading to positive outcomes. But it’s not just the poor decisions we are making that are crippling the NHS. We are all living longer and, therefore, suffering from a range of age-related health issues.

Combining ideas from commercial marketing and the social sciences, social marketing is a proven tool for influencing behaviour in sustainable and cost-effective ways.

But it’s the value that social marketing delivers that makes it stand out. Social interventions are already helping the healthcare sector, but it’s the lifestyle benefits it delivers to people and society as a whole, that makes it a such an exciting concept.

Who are we?

We’re Perfect Circle – an award-winning social marketing agency, Manchester that delivers positive behavioural change across the UK.