Measuring change is hard. But it is also critical to programs hoping to influence human behaviour towards more positive societal outcomes. In a newly published paper, Does It Work for Biodiversity? Experiences and Challenges in the Evaluation of Social Marketing Campaigns, we tackle the challenge of evaluating social marketing campaigns targeting fishing communities in the Philippines with the goal of driving the adoption of more sustainable fishing practices at the community level.
Research on impact evaluation is vital to improve implementation, particularly in high uncertainty high complexity environment such as those in which social marketing operates. By measuring our impact we can first ensure we do no harm and then learn what works, to improve with each iteration. This is even more pressing in the environmental context, as we have lagged far behind sectors such as public health or international development in impact evaluation. Therefore, our goal with this paper was to showcase how we can raise the bar on the evaluation of behaviour change efforts, in this case social marketing, in a particularly changing subject, that of fisheries management in the tropics.
Our work focused on the evaluation of three social marketing campaigns in the Philippines, using a quasi-experiments design of match campaign and control sites. We measured both social indicators through surveys and biological indicators using underwater ecological surveys. We found limited evidence of behaviour change amongst fisherman and no evidence of change in fish biomass as a result of the campaigns. Yet, we also discussed the fact that this last result is fully expected, given how long fisheries take to recover, a timeline often measured in decades, not years. This has implications not only for the way that we plan and implement social marketing campaigns but also for donors who should be aware that expecting biological change in the often short project cycles may just be unrealistic.
Moreover, our research hopes to highlight the difficulties of carrying out competent impact evaluations in a context where both social and biological indicators need to be measured and where both terrestrial and in-water data is needed. This has obvious implications in terms of cost, not only in terms of money, time and staff but also in terms of required technical expertise. Project budgets need to reflect this reality if we are to be truly evidence-based and take responsibility for the interventions we implement. After all it is not about success and failure, it should most of all be about learning.
While this piece highlights best practices for promoting water efficiency behavior in tourism accommodation, we focus heavily on the innovative applications of new and, in this case, past methods to aid in promoting social causes. With better tools, and use of them, we can collectively move Social Marketing forward. Additionally, the US, if not the world, has never been, in our lifetime, less in consensus on key issues. There is little question that the Delphi Method is a polarizing tool. Some scholars point to the small sample size or the subjectivity of opinion by ‘experts.’ Though we too hold a healthy skepticism of the Method and attempt to highlight these in the paper, we also see great opportunity for better standardizing the method to bringing people together in consensus. In particular, we appreciate how the Delphi Method honors the voice of the practitioner whom can, at time, be omitted from academic discourse. In this paper, we found the Delphi Method to be an effective tool for building consensus on prioritizing social marketing initiatives. However, we also believe that methods such as these have far reaching applications to current efforts. With this in mind, we look forward to reading of further ideas on applying this tool, and others, in improving the field of Social Marketing and efforts to better our world.
Traditionally marketing has focused on how to change individual’s behavior in order to buy a product. What media strategies can increase sales, and how to associate values with products? With the advent of the social marketing fields, analysis focused on how conventional marketing tools could be used to change behavior to improve one’s well being and address social problems. While there is a wealth of literature that looks at how government agencies can utilize marketing tools to effect individuals engaged in certain behavior, there has been little research on how NGO’s utilize the same tools to alter behavior and invoke policy changes.
Researchers and Authors Aimee Dinnin Huff, Michelle Barnhart, Brandon McAlexander, and Jim McAlexander perform a pertinent expansion of this field by looking at how American Gun Violence Prevention groups (GVPGS) act as macro-social marketers.
Building on work on social and macro-social marketing, we provide an empirical account of ways in which American gun violence prevention groups (GVPGs) act as macro-social marketers as they address the wicked problem of gun violence, which they define as deaths and injuries with firearms. We find that, as a collective, GVPGs attempt to change the culture related to guns by targeting up-, mid-, and downstream agents. We contribute to theory by (1) expanding the concept of macro- social marketing beyond government entities to include consumer interest groups and collectives; (2) introducing internal marketing as a macro-social marketing tool critical for macro-social marketers dependent largely on volunteers; (3) elucidating ways that macro-social marketers can accomplish upstream changes indirectly, by encouraging consumers and citizens to influence policy makers; and (4) revealing marketing tactics that can be leveraged across up-, mid-, downstream, and internal efforts.
For more updates check out the journal website and sign up for notifications!
SMQ publishes original work and fosters a cooperative exploration of ideas and practices in order to build bridges among various disciplines so that innovative change strategies and alliances are created. Manuscripts are submitted to a double-blind peer-review process. Sections include Applications, Theory and Review, Training Initiatives, Book Reviews, Notes from the Field, Resources, and Looking Ahead.
SAGE Publishing would like to highlight one of the newer textbooks that provides a foundation of basic marketing principles applied to global tourism. The book, Marketing for Tourism, Hospitality & Events, is co-authored by Simon Hudson of the University of South Carolina and Louise Hudson who is an Independent Researcher.
The book is complimented by a companion website featuring a range of tools and resources for lecturers and students, including PowerPoint slides, an instructor manual, a test bank of multiple choice questions, and author-curated video links to make the examples in each chapter come to life. Below is a featured video supplement where David Edelman explains how companies can now shape the consumer decision journey:
Click here to preview the book, as well as view other content topics and resources.
Interested in other tourism topics? Click below to view SAGE’s journals that publish the latest research in the field:
The article titled “Research Into Woodland Owner’s Use of Sustainable Forest Management To Inform Campaign Marketing Mix” came about through a partnership between the American Forest Foundation and Action Research. The American Forest Foundation (AFF) works on-the-ground with families, teachers, and elected officials to promote stewardship and protect our nation’s forest heritage. When AFF embarqued on the creation of a social marketing campaign they brought on Action Research to learn more about the barriers and benefits woodland owners encounter with sustainable forest management. Action Research specializes in changing human behavior through the application of traditional marketing activities blended with cutting edge research findings from the social and behavioral sciences including psychology, sociology, and economics.
This research is imperative as woodlands provide many environmental benefits such as clean air, clean water, recreational opportunities and wood products. However, keeping our forests healthy requires the support of private woodland owners that own the majority of America’s forests. The difficulty with this work is that harvesting trees without the advice of a forester can leave a landowner vulnerable. A forester ensures that the sustainable forest management actions meet the needs of the woodland owner as the forester makes recommendations depending on what the woodland owner wants to gain from their land.
What our findings showed is that trust is very important between a woodland owner and the forester. However, we found that advice from friends and family is highly trusted. Unfortunately this help may not always be the most accurate. This lack of trust is being addressed in the campaign’s marketing mix through peer networks and testimonials. Research into trust can help inform other campaigns outside of conservation and is very useful for those working in rural communities.
Sign up to receive email alerts from Social Marketing Quarterly.