In the modern world, there are many social challenges, both global and local. We are accustomed to the fact that public organizations and government agencies are engaged in solving social problems.
However, this state of affairs demonstrates the lack of significant progress. The reason is limited scale and resources.
The need for investment to solve social problems is growing every year. So, in 2016, the total amount of social investments amounted to more than $ 22 trillion. This colossal amount indicates that the solution of social problems is measured not even in billions, but in trillions. Taking into account these data, state, and public structures are not able to fully solve social problems of this scale, therefore, the issue of attracting business to the implementation of social projects and their implementation becomes urgent. Because only a business can scale and create resources.
It is here that a unique business opportunity is born - to meet the needs of customers and make a social contribution. Although solving social problems is not its main task, commercial structures should think differently, since social projects can not only contribute to society, but also contribute to solving important business problems. By integrating social responsibility into the business model, you create value for the company and for society. Mutual value is the creation of economic and social benefits at the same time. It is not enough for a business to invest simply in social projects; it needs to make social responsibility a part of its daily business activities. For example, marketing.
The harmonious combination of marketing goals with the solution of social problems led to the emergence of a new concept - social marketing. It differs markedly from the commercial one. Commercial marketing is about creating value for the consumer in order to generate benefits for the organization. Social marketing is the adaptation of commercial marketing approaches into projects that aim to influence the behavior of the target audience in order to improve their well-being or the well-being of the entire society of which we are all a part.
The concept of "social marketing" originated in the 1970s when Philip Kotler voiced the idea that the same marketing principles apply to both selling products and "selling" ideas. Kotler explains the emergence of social marketing as follows: “At the beginning of my professional career, everyone was convinced that marketing is the sale of soups, beans, and other food. I began to say that marketing is the sale of any product: you invite tourists to your city - and that's community marketing; you warn people against smoking - and that's lifestyle marketing. I called it social marketing. "
Social marketing is becoming an increasingly trendy and effective tool for promoting a business, its products or services. Today it is a new, creative approach to the implementation of marketing goals and the introduction of social change, within which the company must "define" the needs, desires, and interests of its target audience and satisfy them more effectively than competitors.
One of the earliest examples in social marketing was demonstrated by American Express, which channeled 10 cents of every customer card transaction into a fund to restore the Statue of Liberty. In just 4 months, they raised $ 1.7 million, the number of used cards almost tripled, and the frequency of customer requests for new cards almost doubled.
When it comes to promoting or launching a product to market, most marketers gravitate towards traditional methods and channels, but social marketing allows you to go beyond the usual, create a new unique story, combine business and social needs. Such projects quickly find a response among consumers, distinguish you from competitors, and change the perception and attitude towards the brand.
Consumers are impressed by companies that show interest in meeting their wants and needs, as well as complex social issues. As a result, you get more loyal customers. In a Nielsen study, 66% of participants said they were willing to pay more for goods or services from socially conscious companies. The social component in the relationship between companies and consumers is becoming more and more important, and sometimes even decisive.
Social marketing initiatives help differentiate your brand from competitors, as you position yourself as a company that decides to go one step ahead and contribute to the development of not only your own business, but also society. The relationship between your business and society is just as important as the relationship with your customers. Being involved in solving social challenges gives your business a great competitive advantage.
Companies that adhere to a philosophy of social marketing rather than aggressive annoying ads generate more positive perceptions from the general public. Social strategy also helps to strengthen corporate reputation and improve the company's image.
Social marketing is still developing, but it has an inexhaustible potential. Don't limit your ideas and efforts to just ad hoc social donations. Challenge canned approaches, revolutionize the marketing world.