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Product Evaluation in a Social Marketing and Community Development Context: A Case Study and Initial Report

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We provide an initial report and case study of product evaluation for social marketing undertaken specifically within a “community development” context. Starting Points is a highly differentiated not-for-profit development program targeting parents/caregivers of 0-4-year-olds. Parents/caregivers self select to participate in four highly interactive two-hour sessions, usually across a number of weeks, located within their own communities. The project was developed in Melbourne, Australia, and is being delivered in many communities across the nation. The service product evaluated is essentially the enhancement of parental confidence, achieved through parental/caregiver participation in the community-based programs which are initiated, marketed, and delivered by peer facilitators. The article locates such evaluation within the program evaluation and marketing audit literatures, describes the product evaluation component of the research design, and reports preliminary empirical results. These suggest that the Starting Points product is perceived both by participant parents and their partners as resulting in significant increases in parental confidence, sustained well past the immediate postparticipation period. These results provide one critical empirical element of a thorough service evaluation, itself a step toward a thorough-going social marketing auditing process.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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