Part 2 of 2

Increasing Covid vaccination levels continues to be a challenge over the last six weeks.  Part 1 of using social cause marketing to increase the Covid vaccination rate explained how to 1) define the problem,  2) understand the current situation, 3) select a target market, 4) establish marketing goals, and 5) analyze factors that influence behavior adoption. 

Part 2 will review the final steps needed for effective social cause marketing including  6)  strategic positioning, 7) develop marketing mix strategies, 8) outline an evaluation plan, 9) establish budgets and funding, and 10)  plan implementation and management. 

Step 6: Craft a positioning statement

A positioning statement describes what you would like the target to feel and think about the intended behavior and its related benefits.  A positioning statement, together with brand identity, is influenced by the characteristics of the target market and the barriers, competitors, and other influencers.  It differentiates the intended behavior from alternatives that are currently preferred.  Effective positioning guides the marketing mix strategies in the next step.

Step 7: Develop marketing mix strategies:  The 4Ps

Social marketers use product, price, place, and promotion strategies (4Ps) to create, communicate, and deliver the health benefits of the intended behaviors.  These different strategies also need to be integrated and reinforcing. 

Product strategy

A product, or service, has  core, actual, and augmented levels.  The core product level includes the benefits that the target will experience or expect in exchange for performing the intended behavior, (i.e., a healthier life and reduced risk of becoming sick, dying, or spreading Covid).  The actual product level is the desired behavior, often represented by its major features and described in specific terms (e.g., getting vaccinated and wearing a mask as needed).  The augmented product level refers to additional tangible objects or services that are included in the offer (e.g., working, dining, and traveling without restrictions).

Price strategy

A price strategy begins with understanding what the target will “pay” or give up for adopting the new behavior needed to get the product benefits.  These could include monetary costs such as those for tangible goods and services.   More typically, social marketing involves costs related to time, effort, energy, or psychological or physical discomforts.  A sensible price strategy is aimed at minimizing these costs in relation to the benefits.  For example, a vocal anti-vaxxer who changes his or her attitude about getting a vaccine will have to reconcile this change with others in the anti-vaxxer camp.   

Place strategy

Place is largely where and when the target audience will be encouraged to perform the desired behavior and to obtain tangible products or services associated with the campaign.  Place can be regarded as the delivery system or a distribution channel for a social marketing campaign. Place strategies aim to ensure that the offer will be as convenient and pleasant as possible for the customer to engage in the targeted behavior.

Promotion strategy

The development of these promotional strategy begins with identifying key messaging and effective and efficient communication channels.  Messages, directed by the marketing goals, communicate the new information needed to change beliefs and actions.  Understanding environmental forces that block healthy behavior change will directly shape message selection.  The individuals or organizations that  deliver the messages must have credibility, expertise, and likeability that appeal and are accepted by the target.  Consumer research with the target market will help identify credible messages and messengers.

The most effective medium choices for communicating social marketing message are the channels preferred by the target market.  Communications options can be personal and non-personal.  Examples of personal channels include friends, family members, religious leaders, personal physicians, news personalities, and others.  Non-personal channels include media advertising, public relations, events,  sponsorships, and others.  Budget size will also determine the medium type and frequency.   

Step 8:  Outline a plan for monitoring and evaluation

A method for monitoring and evaluating a social marketing plan is needed before final budget and implementation plans are made.  Monitoringmeasures what is working and what is not during plan implementation.  Changes are made on the fly if needed to support effectiveness.  An evaluationmeasures the final results of the plan.  It answers questions like were the marketing goals reached, what components most closely linked with outcomes, was the plan on time and within budget, and what should be done differently next time?

Measures fall into three categories:  Outputmeasures for program activities; outcome measures for target market responses and changes in knowledge, beliefs, and behavior; and impact measures for contributions to the plan purposes.  For example, more consumers in the target market were vaccinated.  In the development of a monitoring and evaluation, five basic questions need to be taken into answered:

  1. Why will this measurement be conducted?  For whom?
  2. What inputs, processes, outcomes, and impacts will be measured?
  3. What methods (such as an individual in-depth interview, focus group, survey, or online tracking) will be used for these measurements?
  4. When will these measurements be conducted?
  5. What is the cost of these measurements?

Step 9:  Establish budgets and find funding sources

The budgets for a social marketing plan reflect the costs for implementing it, which include those associated with marketing mix strategies (the 4Ps), and additional costs anticipated for monitoring and evaluation. In ideal objective-and-task budgeting, these anticipated costs become a preliminary budget based on what is needed to achieve the established marketing goals.

When the preliminary budget exceeds available funds, however, options for additional funding and the potential for adjusting phases (such as spreading out costs over a longer period of time), revising strategies, or reducing behavior change goals may need to be considered.  Additional funding sources may include government grants and appropriations, nonprofit organization and foundation support, advertising and media partnerships, coalitions, and corporate donations. 

Step 10:  Complete the strategy for plan implementation and management

At this last step, the planning for a social marketing plan is wrapped up with specifics on who will do what, by how much, and when to do it.  The aim here is to transform the marketing strategies into specific actions for those who are managing the plan.  It functions like a concise working document to share and track planned efforts.