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Developing World-Class Social Marketing Standards: A Step in the Right Direction for a More Socially Responsible Marketing Profession

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The issue of targeting best practice is a long-standing one in professional education and more particularly in marketing. It can be automatically brushed aside (because “we all know what marketing is about”), addressed in terms of general aims of marketing, or addressed systematically to identify in as much details as possible the tasks and responsibilities that marketers undertake in their daily activities. Apart from this issue of identifying what constitutes good practice, there is a relevant issue that needs addressing as a prerequisite: Whether social marketing is a separate discipline from mainstream marketing or not. How we respond to this question affects the method to be adopted for developing the benchmark of best practice standards. This article starts by addressing the latter issue, then identifies the contextual differences of social marketing, and finally presents the methodology for developing the best practice standards for social marketing, its general findings, and the way forward. It is useful to note at the outset that although the project referred to in this article was undertaken by the U.K.'s Marketing and Sales Standards Setting Body, its perspective was international and involved many contributors at international level. In the final stages of the project, the resulting best practice standards were presented for final feedback at the first international conference on social marketing held in Brighton, U.K., where several hundreds of participants from around the world took part. [Supplementary materials are available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Social Marketing Quarterly for the following free supplemental resources: Appendix A: List of Social Marketing Standards of Performance; Appendix B: Example of a Unit of Performance.]
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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