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Social Marketing: A Tool for Health Education

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Objective: To list the features of social marketing, speculate as to why health educators have not embraced it more, and suggest future applications. Methods: Although social marketing has been available as a health education tool for more than a decade, its incorporation in program planning and execution is still a rare phenomenon. Some of the apparent reluctance to employ it may be due to health educators' lack of a clear understanding of its customer-driven nature, the segmentation of audiences, competing behaviors, and key intervention components (product, price, place, and promotion). Results: Previous social marketing interventions have resulted in significant health behavior and social change in groups often described as “hard-to-reach.” Conclusion: Improved understanding of social marketing's elements and more experience with its application equip health educators with a valuable intervention tool.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, College of Public Health and Director, Florida Prevention Research Center, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.

Publication date: January 1, 2000

More about this publication?
  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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