The 4 Ps of Social Marketing
Now that we’ve thoroughly established the social marketing definition, let’s take a look at 4 essential elements for any marketing campaign—the “4 Ps”—and see how they work within the social marketing sphere. These “Ps” are product, price, place, and promotion, and they’re also known as the “marketing mix.” You’ll need to define these factors before you design your social marketing campaign, and keep them central when you design.
Product: With social marketing, the “product” is the desired social action and the benefits this action offers. Make sure that this change is presented as enticingly as possible…this may include framing the opposite behavior as negative. linksexpert Also, clarity is key. Make sure your audience can quickly and easily understand your “product” and its benefits.
Price: Minimize the “price” that your audience believes they have to “pay” for the desired social action to take place.
This price isn’t all monetary. It’s also about minimizing the difficulty, time, and psychological/emotional costs that people will incur. So, when you’re designing a social marketing campaign, you’ll need to think about (and research) the obstacles that hinder your audience from performing the behavior.
Then, figure out intuitive, feasible ways to fight these obstacles. For example, if your campaign is aimed at encouraging more exercise in your community, but safe outdoor spaces are minimal and indoor class costs are a barrier, consider offering free indoor fitness classes.
Place: Where do you want your audience to perform the desired behavior? How can you reach them in ways that make it easier to perform the behavior in that location (and make that behavior more desirable than competing behaviors)? Do you need to recruit peers of your audience as “ambassadors,” to make the campaign more accessible to your audience?
Consider these examples of “place:”
If you’re setting up a helpline for teens, make it available 24 hours a day, via call, text, and online messaging.
If you’re aiming to drive food bank donations, try a campaign right in a grocery store, and have donation bins at store exits. Consider the example below, by FeedSA:
Credit: Ads of the World
If you’re trying to encourage reusable bag use in stores, charge customers for every disposable bag they need, and offer reusable bags at a small fee (that customers can keep bringing back and using at no cost to them). Or take this one step further: print messages like “plastic bags kill marine life” on the disposable bags, and make the reusable bags beautiful and attractive to use.
If you’re running a donation campaign, include a website, QR code, or live donation link on your campaign ads.
Promotion: This one ties all 4 “Ps” together.
What channels and outlets will help you best reach your audience and draw their attention to the social marketing campaign?
Social media? Television? Radio? A sign, billboard, or installation? Events, such as concerts, expos, and community days? Guerrilla campaigns?
How will you draw attention to the product (behavior), the minimized price, and the place you want the action performed in?
Key Social Marketing Tips and Strategies
How will you creatively communicate the “4 Ps” to your audience, and strike an emotional chord? And how can you work to maximize your impact over time? Consider these tips and strategies for the best results.
Properly minimizing “price” may take several rounds of research
Before you design your campaign, to figure out what obstacles stand in the way of your audience performing your desired behavior (“price”), you’ll need to do some thorough research. Survey your audience online, on the phone, or in print. Keep in mind that it may take several surveys and conversations to accurately find the “price.” After all, as you talk to more people, you’ll have a better idea of the most common obstacles.
After you’ve identified the “price” and brainstormed ways to minimize it, consider holding focus groups, to see how people respond to the identified problem and possible solution.
Once you’re ready to design your campaign, create a slogan and compelling visuals, and think about crafting a simple but memorable symbol, to serve as powerful “triggers” that motivate action and stick in your audience’s minds.
Craft a catchy slogan
“Only you can prevent forest fires.” “This is your brain on drugs.” “We can do it!” The three iconic social marketing campaigns listed at the beginning of the article all had catchy, easy-to-remember slogans. Writing some sort of slogan is a necessity for your own social marketing campaign. As we mentioned above, you want your audience to understand the behavior you’re seeking, and how to act on the behavior, as quickly as possible. So, it makes perfect sense to condense that idea into a campaign slogan— a simple, enticing sentence that will stay in your audience’s minds. If you can include a reference to the desirable behavior’s benefits, even better.
Visuals are everything
Imagery that surprises or shocks audiences can be a powerful motivator, especially if it illustrates the problem or shows the negative impact of undesirable behaviors. Choose your campaign medium carefully to maximize the force of your visuals.
When designed to take advantage of the “place,” visuals become even more powerful. Consider FeedSA’s visual of the hungry child above. Also consider the visual below from Amnesty International, which places people face-to-face with a child soldier in their own environment. It urgently triggers an impulse to help the child and stand against this human rights abuse.
Consider creating a simple but memorable symbol
Some of the most effective social marketing campaigns involve simple yet now-iconic symbols, such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness. Sometimes, that symbol is a character (think Smokey Bear). If you can create a simple yet memorable symbol or character that ties in with your campaign, that further increases the chances that your campaign behavior will “stick.”
7 Awesome Social Marketing Examples
Now, let’s take a look at 7 awesome social marketing campaigns and what they do well, including how they show the “4 Ps.” Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Not Special Needs
Organization: CoorDown (Italy’s national organization for people with Down Syndrome)