Social Marketing Tips to Promote Behaviour Change
According to Nedra Kline Weinreich, "Social Marketing was 'born' as a discipline in the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell products to consumers could be used to 'sell' ideas, attitudes and behaviors. Like Commercial Marketing, the primary focus is on the consumer - on learning what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be producing."
Noted Canadian psychologist Dr. Doug McKenzie-Mohr says, "Traditionally, attempts to promote behavior change that foster sustainability have relied upon providing information. Underlying these programs is the belief that changing attitudes and raising knowledge will affect behavior. Unfortunately, numerous studies now document that providing information alone rarely changes behavior."
Social Marketing is a broad term that refers to strategies for encouraging the public to behave differently. It involves partnering with various community organizations, effectively using the media, interacting with people on a one-to-one basis to encourage them to support your cause and, in the case of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, to commit to waste reduction activities.
An excellent resource on effective Social Marketing may be found at www.cbsm.com. Registration on the site is free. The site contains information on Fostering Sustainable Behaviour, Uncovering Barriers, Commitment, Norms, Prompts and many other Social Marketing techniques specifically related to waste reduction and recycling.
- Reach out to the whole community
- Send letters or phone groups such as the local Chamber of Commerce, youth groups (i.e., Girl Guides and Scouts), and other community organizations
- Schools can play a particularly important role in Waste Reduction Week in Canada so be sure to contact the Recycling Coordinator or Environmental Representative for your community's schools (your local Board of Education should have a list of contacts)
- Involve businesses by asking for financial contributions and also suggesting suitable projects for them to undertake
- Learn about your community's 3Rs and HHW goals and programs
- Design your event(s) to build on them
- Gather statistical information that is as specific as possible to your community. The information you gather will be helpful to the media.
- Target your audience. Decide what groups you want to target. You can define your target audience(s) by age, hobby (e.g. gardening, home improvement), culture (new Canadians), gender, or other demographic factors. Defining your audience(s) will help you to identify the potential barriers and motivators to participation.
- Deliver your message based on motivators. For example, someone who gardens is more likely to adopt backyard composting if you can link compost to a more productive garden.
- Promote, promote, promote! There's no point in organizing a great program of Waste Reduction Week in Canada activities if nobody knows about it. You may want to assign promotion responsibility to a particular individual on your committee. It helps if it's someone who has public relations experience.
- Review, evaluate, and then give us feedback when the Week is over. Figure out what worked and what did not.