Social marketing research process

Social marketing research process

What is social marketing?

There are several accepted definitions of social marketing, which is not to be confused with social media (a promotional tactic) or behavioral economics (analysis that explains decision-making). Below is the definition that Hardwick Research uses.

“Social marketing is a process that uses marketing principles and techniques to influence target audience behaviors that will benefit society as well as the individual. This strategically oriented discipline relies on creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have positive value for individuals, clients, partners, and society at large.”

Nancy R. Lee, Michael L. Rothschild, and Bill Smith, 2011

Social marketing planning process

The most well-known process for planning a social marketing campaign is comprised of ten steps:

  1. Background, purpose, and focus
  2. Situation analysis
  3. Target audience
  4. Marketing objectives and goals
  5. Barriers, benefits, and competition
  6. Positioning statement
  7. Strategic marketing mix (the 4 Ps)
  8. Evaluation plan
  9. Budget
  10. Implementation plan

How market research fits in

There are seven steps where market research is most beneficial to the planning process. As with any major project, it is important to conduct primary and secondary research in order to make informed decisions. Different steps in the process implement different types of market research, including in-depth interviews, focus groups, segmentation studies, clustering, tracking studies, intercepts, and observational research. The methods you choose to implement will depend on your goals and objectives.

By clicking on the image below of the Social Marketing Planning Process, you can see the phases, steps, technique examples, market research support, and feedback loops of the process.