Social marketing is a long-term marketing approach that uses promotional methods to alter human behavior, bring about social change, and improve people’s lives and the environment.

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of social marketing and make the difference between social and commercial marketing clear. We’ll also unveil 5 social marketing tips and examples.

Why is social marketing important?

Social marketing helps change people's behavior patterns for the common good. When implementing this approach, companies don’t try to transform people’s perceptions for their benefit but to bring about social change, as marketing techniques allow companies to contribute to society's well-being.

Unlike commercial marketing, social marketing focuses on solving emerging world problems. It aims at evoking consciousness, changing behavior patterns, and helping improve the environment people live in. It’s possible to reach these goals when people are ready to change. According to statistics, 80 out of 100 adults are ready to contribute to social change.

Since there’s an increasing number of social and environmental problems, sustainability should be people's priority. Negative environmental and social changes worsen the quality of life. To prevent this, some companies turn to social marketing. It aims to ebb major world issues like hunger, poverty, inaccessibility of education, air, water, and noise pollution, global warming, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, etc. They raise these issues to encourage individuals to be more conscious and care for their environment, help those in need, and change their perspectives on life.

Now that you have a clear understanding of social marketing and its benefits for society, let’s proceed to the next section to discover the difference between the two types of marketing to avoid confusion.

Social Marketing vs. Commercial Marketing

There’s a fundamental difference between social and commercial marketing. Both seek to have an impact on people, yet they have completely different goals.

Social marketing is an approach that uses marketing tools to bring about social change. Social marketers aim to raise awareness of social, environmental, and economic issues, such as hunger, poverty, sustainability, education, public health, global warming, and others. Through social marketing activities, communities strive to impact people’s behavior, evoke consciousness, and inspire change. With social marketing, companies encourage people to be more aware of world problems and help those in need.

Social marketing usually has a broad audience, and it’s often challenging to reach them. With the help of public funds, social marketers try to change our society for the better.

Commercial marketing is a marketing approach that makes use of marketing tools to influence customers’ emotions, thoughts, and purchasing decisions. Unlike social marketing, this method focuses on driving sales and bringing revenue. Commercial marketers do everything possible to reach their target and sell their products using advertising and marketing tools.

Simply put, with social marketing, companies strive to influence people for the common good, while with commercial marketing, they try to influence customers’ purchasing decisions and drive profits.

So, now that the difference is clear, it’s time to unveil social marketing tips to effectively build your strategy.

5 Social Marketing Tips

There are numerous strategies out there that can help you implement social marketing effectively. Since the success of your campaign depends on how suitable your selected methods are, we’ll provide you with 5 amazing tips.

  1. Conduct research on your audience. Understanding your target audience lets you know how to act. Data-driven research allows you to have a clear picture of your audience’s behavior. As a result, you’ll select the right strategies and methods to approach them effectively and convey your ideas.
  2. Be convincing. To attain your end result, you should be confident in yourself and your beliefs. Changing society for the better requires you to influence people's behavior and make them think about issues like hunger, poverty, environmental problems, and lack of education. Express your thoughts clearly and confidently. It will help you awaken people's trust and respect and change their ways of life.
  3. Choose the right slogans. Like any other marketing campaign, yours should be memorable, short, and clear. Be straightforward and transparent. It’s always a great idea to use catchy short slogans. For example, let's take the anti-drug social marketing campaign from the US government. If you see the “Just Say No” slogan, you’ll at least notice, and at most, it’ll make you remember it.
  4. Use visuals wisely. Communities often use images to demonstrate the problem and influence people. It’s a wise step. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. Add images to show the consequences of some urgent issues. For example, anti-smoking campaigns often include images of people with health problems caused by cigarettes.
  5. Focus on influencing behavior patterns. There are many approaches you can apply to influence human behavior. Search for methods that are perfect for your case. Effective initiatives require you to focus on one audience and one behavior at a time. Select groups of people who are ready to change and contribute to societal change. Study the behaviors in different places, times, and communities. It will help you figure out how to approach different individuals. This way, you’ll reach your goals and bring social change.

Now that you know the tips, let’s explore some real examples.

Social Marketing Examples

You can encounter many social marketing campaigns that try to change our environment and people's attitudes towards it. Unique, outstanding, and different campaigns have one main purpose: to impact. These campaigns aim at creating a change in our society, nature, economy, and behavior. We’ve gathered some excellent examples of communities that promote sustainability and social change.

Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth is a community that aims to make different areas climate-friendly, fight for social justice, and protect nature. This organization cares about different issues, including plastic pollution, communities’ empowerment, climate breakdown, extinction of species, and more.

Social marketing

Tips From Former Smokers Campaign

The campaign focuses on people who quit smoking because of health problems. This way, CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health wants to show the consequences that can appear. This social marketing campaign entails the profiles and stories of real people who face health issues caused by smoking. These people talk about their life paths and how smoking influences their family members. In 2021, the office ran this campaign on the national network, online, and on the radio. It offered viewers the opportunity to explore different materials that prove that it’s better to quit smoking now.

Social marketing

Source: Geographic Health Equity Alliance

So there are different types of companies and communities. Some try to earn money, and some strive to bring change. Hope our tips will help you with your social marketing strategy.


  1. This article defines the term and uncovers the peculiarities of the social marketing approach.
  2. In this article, you’ll find some more examples of social marketing.
  3. This article provides readers with reasons to implement social marketing.
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