Social marketing – helping the NHS to save money

A shift away from responsive treatment, in favour of preventive measures

Whatever your opinion is on the state of the NHS, you have to admit, in the wake of increasing pressures, they do cope – just about!

Surely anything that attempts ease the health burden, and the escalating costs associated with it, has to be welcomed.

Can social marketing help?

Social marketing is a technique that is part of the NHS’s wider healthcare strategy. It’s designed to tackle a range of health behaviours at an early stage, before it develops into a health problem that needs costly and sometimes unavoidable treatment.

Why? By encouraging people to be more aware of how their existing health behaviour can influence their future state of health and sense of wellbeing, the NHS and its healthcare partners hope to make better use of available resources, funding and manpower.

Social marketing campaigns are designed to get people to think about their health and lifestyle habits, and then to seriously consider changing their existing behaviour for the better. But it goes one step beyond merely increasing awareness, it also encourages, inspires and motivates people to want to change, and then sustains that over time.

For example, for someone struggling with a mental health issue, a targeted social marketing campaign might encourage that person to visit useful websites, take part in webinars, talk to people, attend drop in centres, use anti-stress techniques etc, all aligned to their specific health requirements. And all designed to confront (and ease) the underlying problem.

Social improvements are being secured

By targeting individuals, communities and groups of people, with the same health issues, from smoking, to drug taking, alcohol abuse, heart conditions, obesity etc, there is huge potential for social and health improvement – and better use of NHS resources.

But it’s not just a question of the NHS needing to change. The bigger issue surely then is: we all need to change our health behaviours to assist the NHS, so it can provide healthcare to the most needy. And if a social marketing agency can help make that happen, then maybe they deserve recognition.

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.

Can social marketing change lives?

We live in a society that has deep-rooted social and health-related problems. You don’t have to travel too far around the UK to see that our cities are crammed full of people with serious social, mental health and general medical issues. Many of these issues are self inflicted and exacerbated by bad habits such as smoking, drinking excessively and drug taking. But even things like littering and anti-social behaviour are real social issues that need to be tackled. We are a society that needs to change if we are all to enjoy a better quality of life.

So what is social marketing and why are so many people talking about it? Many marketers say it’s an extremely effective way of targeting individuals and influencing behaviour change in different social groups, particularly those at risk in some way.

When it comes to the marketing industry, there is a growing dossier of evidence supporting the fact that an experienced social marketing agency can target, create and deliver a highly effective educational or awareness campaign that can have a meaningful and positive influence on personal lifestyles, choices and behaviours. That is an extremely powerful thing and an exciting prospect for the future.

Social marketing campaigns that are creatively inspired and well managed, can have a marked impact on individual and community decision making when it comes to health, welfare and lifestyle choices. This is particularly evident in social marketing health and social marketing education campaigns.

Read More at Blogspot.com