SFH’s work is built around the concept of social marketing. Social marketing applies commercial marketing strategies to efficiently expand access to products, services and behaviors in underserved communities. Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society.
Like commercial marketing, the primary focus is on the consumer–on learning what people want and need. Most people are quite content with their current behaviors, even when those behaviors make them vulnerable. They receive some type of benefits from engaging in those behaviors; otherwise they would not do what they do. Stopping one behavior and/or beginning a new one, or not adopting a risky yet appealing behavior, involves a trade off or an exchange. In contrast to health education, which relies primarily on education to teach people about the health benefits of a behavior, social marketing uses this analysis to identify the factors that influence people’s behavioral choices and create “exchanges” that are more satisfying (i.e., offer more benefits for the costs) than those provided by the risky behavior.
Social Marketing uses the ‘4P’s’ of traditional marketing:
Product refers to an actual product or service or a non-product or service related behavior.
Price goes beyond just monetary considerations to include emotional or psychological incentives and barriers.
Place refers to where the customer can practice the behavior or purchase the product and service and the intermediaries or partners who can facilitate the exchange.
Promotion encompasses a wide range of behavior change communications including radio spots, mobile video events, product demonstrations, peer education and individual counseling.