By Allie Erenbaum


When most people hear the term “social marketing,” they often immediately think of social media. Although social media can play a role in social marketing, the concept outlines the application of traditional marketing principles to the “selling” of ideas, attitudes, and behaviors to different audiences. Last week, our chapter heard from Brenna Thorpe, a Booz Allen Hamilton Associate who actively designs and implements social marketing campaigns. Below are a few of her key insights about her work.  

Research is vital. While research is essential across all PR, marketing, and consulting campaigns, research is even more important when it comes to social marketing projects. Since social marketing often boils down to changing a behavior, several types of research methods should be implemented to fully understand the desired target audience.  

Simple messages resonate. Social marketing practitioners often refer to obstacles their target audience face as “barriers to behavior change.”  Making campaign messages simple and easy-to-understand can contribute to lessening the impact of certain barriers.

Evaluation should be ongoing. Ultimately, the success of a social marketing campaign depends on the actions and behavior of a group of people – since individuals power social marketing campaigns, constant evaluation of their behaviors and how they respond to messaging is important.