top of page


By: Arushi Neravetla

What is Social Marketing?

Across the social community spectrum, people are enticed into buying new utilities or goods because they’re influenced by various marketing techniques, whereas, companies and organizations have used marketing to promote products for many years to spread awareness about healthcare systems around the globe. Specifically, social marketing is designed to implement programs that promote beneficial behavioral or situational change within a public health community. As societies worldwide face a series of health issues, the Centers of Disease Control (CDC)), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other government/non-profit organizations have used social marketing to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, promote physical activity, and so forth. Internationally, social marketing aided to eliminate leprosy in Sri Lanka and advertise universal free vaccinations. In general, social marketing is significant in identifying health disparities between ethnic groups or emphasizing awareness about a shortage of workers.

In addition, social marketing relies on a continuous process of six steps. First, initial planning begins with relevant health statistics and information of a particular product or program, determining preliminary behavioral objectives and our target audience. In addition, the next step is formulative research that is conducted through the initial planning phase of the operation. Furthermore, strategy development is required to develop a marketing plan, compromised with a tracking record and reflective pieces of which works. Finally , an evaluation is needed to further discuss any limitations behind the produced product or find any strengths that are foundational to a future framework of any campaign created.

Figure 2. Goals of Social Marketing

Case Study

A case study examining the use of social marketing is demonstrated in Food Trust, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This organization aims to increase people’s access to nutritious foods. This campaign seeks to reduce diet-related diseases and worldwide obesity by improving local food choices in food markets. Using social marketing, the demand for healthy snacks by targeting the food industry increases availability of healthy foods. “An initial budget of $10,000 (not including staff time) was allocated to develop the social marketing plan for the Corner Store Campaign” (Latimore). Survey research indicates that the selection of food choices provides a baseline for the development of healthier snacks. Results found how healthy snacks were promoted in a short-term and allowed Food Trust to grow partnerships with food companies to increase healthier choices in neighborhood stores. In fact, this research was piloted in two local communities near Pennsylvania in the summer of 1996. Moreover, Carolyn Latimore was living in Philadelphia’s Harrington Carroll Park neighborhood and also spent a year living in Ghana and was asked to join the board of Food Trust. She loved the idea of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to neighborhoods like hers in the city and has helped the organization reach a moment of growth and success, testifying how “We never dreamed that we would be national, and such a significant resource for so many people; that we would have such an impact,” she says” (Latimore). Hence, Food Trust became a recognized organization due to social marketing and campaigns that influenced other officials to participate in advertising the importance of healthy food and its benefits.

Figure 3. The Food Trust Organization Logo


“Carolyn Latimore.”

The Food Trust,

Sonya Grier1 and Carol A. Bryant 21The University of Pennsylvania.

“Social Marketing in Public Health.” Annual Reviews,

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page