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That was the challenge given me by the Society of Nutrition Education and Behavior for a webinar I did this week. I start with Duncan Watts, a physicist and sociologist, who presents two problems that bedevil people faced with the challenges of large and complex puzzles. The second problem Watts (2011) discusses is the micro-macro problem: one that goes at the heart of the social marketing dilemma. To bring this problem back into the social marketing world, believing that social change will happen “one person at a time” does not conform to what we know about emergence in many other disciplines. All social change efforts involve different actors known by various labels such as audiences, influencers, stakeholders, consumers, suppliers, partners and policymakers. Many social change agents are familiar with the challenges of addressing other people’s cultural beliefs as they relate to health and social behaviors.
This is why many social marketers stress the need to base programs to improve health, social welfare and the environment on empirically-validated models and theories. Many social marketing programs, and most public health ones, have shied away from working with their customers or members of their priority groups. The internal orientation of the marketing mix in which the four elements are controlled by the producer of goods, services and behavioral offerings and has little involvement or interaction with customers.
The rise in services as primary drivers of economic activity that have their own unique character not addressed by the traditional 4Ps - for example, People or Participants, Physical Evidence (of their value), Processes (of service delivery), the intangible nature of their offering and demonstrated value to customers, as well as unique legal and professional restrictions on providers of many services (licensure of health providers, lawyers and general building contractors being just a few examples). Most of these debates have been on theoretical grounds rather than based on empirical studies; it is also true that most marketers continue to practice as they were taught in college marketing classes (Constantinides, 2006).
The differences in the social marketing approach became even more pronounced in the international community where social marketing became synonymous with the marketing of products for family planning, HIV prevention and malaria control while various other groups organized themselves around concepts such as behavior change communication, health communication, development communication and community mobilization to name a few.
A hybrid approach developed independently in North America to reunite community with social marketing was coined as community-based social marketing (CBSM; McKenzie-Mohr, 2000). Keeping up with the evolution of social marketing research and practice can be a tough problem. One article that should be in the social marketing canon is the results of a comprehensive review of the literature by the US Community Preventive Services Task Force by Robinson et al. The positive results of this RCT indicate that church-based social marketing that addresses product, price, place and promotion with more convenient, lower-cost classes and messages about staying independent and building social relationships, can successfully motivate older adults to enroll in balance and strength classes for fall prevention.
Successful ICS business models will need to be sensitive to cultural practices in both the design of the product and marketing strategies.
A recent article by eMarketer indicated that social networking would reach half of the population of the UK this year. TechInAsia recently reported that the number of Facebook users in Pakistan has grown to 9 million earlier this month. An article from eMarketer this week indicated that young mom internet users are highly active on social media in the UK. One of the more sustained attacks on social marketing over the past year has come from the economist Jeffrey Sachs over the issue of whether to charge people for mosquito netting that is a central element of malaria control efforts in Africa. The first social marketing wiki has been launched this week by a group of volunteers from the social marketing list serve. Being a social marketer, I have dreamed of having the HUGE media budgets, DAZZLING creative and MASSIVE distribution systems of such brands as Coke, Pepsi and McDonald's. Some people want to be like Mike and run a social marketing program with all the bells and whistles.
A simple enough question that gets awfully complex when looking for it in case studies and other descriptions of practice (see BC Walks and the many programs in Social Marketing in the News). I believe that a lot of times it is not that people are confused about what is social marketing, they just need some help seeing it. Comment: This is one of those examples where the authors label the intervention as a social marketing one. Account planning is, for me, the bridge between reality and creativity when it comes to developing the social marketing and health communications programs that inspire and move our audiences (as well as many of our peers). The opportunities posed by the growing acceptance of new media among many of our audiences for social marketing and social change programs (and this includes the audiences necessary for success) can be summed in the 5Es: how to educate, engage, entertain, empower and evangelize with our audiences, not at them.
So increasing the cognitive demands of social change programs (cover more material, require more time spent in classes) may in fact be designing them to be less likely to succeed.
We are embedded in a network of social relationships, and those we come into contact with shape our actions. Some of the countries outside the US that were there included Canada, Columbia, Czech Republic, Spain, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Pakistan, Romania, Somalia, Turkey and Uganda. This theory has guided many marketers’ approach to discovering what the desired behavior might be, its possible determinants, the context in which it occurs - or not, and the consequences that people and society incur. This dilemma emanates from our desire to achieve macro outcomes, ones that involve changes among large numbers of people, among population segments, or in society as a whole. Depending on the actor and the objective of the program, social marketers and change agents may be trying to increase some behaviors (healthy eating, physical activity, recycling), decrease others (tobacco use, risky sexual behaviors, energy use), encourage participation in social change activities (citizen engagement, social mobilization) or gain support for environmental change (adopt policies, redesign physical entities such as automobile safety features or entertainment content). Yet, agreeing on a common approach to thinking about and addressing wicked social and public health problems is a major point of contention when working with partners. Rather, we should view exchanges as mutual sharing of knowledge and resources among the social marketing agency, the priority group or customers and other actors or stakeholders (co-creation of value-in-use).
Lefebvre & Flora (1988) laid out the defining features of the social marketing approach based on experiences they shared directing community interventions for cardiovascular disease reduction.
Responding to this fracturing of resources and talent, McKee (1991) wrote a book that he hoped would enhance the understanding of social mobilization, social marketing and community participation amongst communicators who sometimes set up unnecessary barriers between their various fields. I believe that these community and state efforts need better marketing of weight management. Based on a study called the Blue Book of New Media 2013 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the report indicated that in 2012, about 29.2 percent of weibo users were between 20 to 29 years old.
The use of tangible products and monetary pricing strategies (mosquito netting and condoms being two major product lines with prices that are often heavily subsidized) is one of the differences between many social marketing programs in the international development field and those practiced in many developed countries (where the focus tends to be on behaviors as products for adoption and pricing is construed in less tangible forms - effort, psychological, social and other 'costs' and incentives).
We also suggest that the program planners shift their attention from using social marketing as a tactical device and rhetorical whipping post.

More information about the process will be appearing in the Fall issue of Social Marketing Quarterly. Another article from this month's issue of Preventing Chronic Disease came up on my 'social marketing' RSS feed from PubMed and reading through it caused me to ask the question again. As much as some people practice (and even preach) to the contrary, a series of advertisements and earned media promotions do not constitute a social marketing program.
I also have a certain simpatico with account planners, so Craig Walmsley's article on how planners need to adjust to the Web 2.0 era speaks equally well to the people working on social as well as commercial accounts. What makes scarcity an important idea for social marketers and other change agents is that it captures the mind; scarcity changes the way we think. In workshops that I facilitate, I use this slide to illustrate some of the main ideas from some usual, and not so typical, theories that I find are employed by many social change agents.
I offer that to fully develop the discipline of social marketing and its promise to be a positive force for social change, we must think about change as it occurs among groups of people (segments, social networks) and at different levels of society (organizations, communities, physical environments, markets, and public policies)…[Ed Note: See Transformative Social Marketing (pdf)]. Both of these problems highlight the need for social change programs to adopt theoretical perspectives that are broader than individual determinants. Yet these outcomes are driven by the micro actions of individuals (for example, it is individuals whose voting behavior determines the outcome of policy options, individuals’ behavior that sets the tone for an organizational culture, and individuals who connect through social network sites to organize and plan social action). Changes in complex social systems involve interactions between people and systems, just as neurons must be connected and interact with each other in systematic ways to create what we refer to as consciousness. For social marketers, social innovators and people who are working with social and mobile technologies for health and social change, the song should become a chant.
Constantinides (2006) summarized over 40 papers that have been critical of, or presented alternatives, to the 4Ps marketing mix framework. Yet, even by the early 1990s, we can recall where social marketing and community development components of Health Canada could not find common ground for collaboration.
I do not consider papers published in our two journals, the Journal of Social Marketing and Social Marketing Quarterly, as I presume that people are looking at them already. And for those who are interested in an even more extensive documentation of the social marketing literature, consider the Sage Library in Marketing Series on Social Marketing as an institutional investment.
The involvement of church leaders and informal member-to-member contacts, rather than reliance on brochures and posters, appears important to marketing program success. Consumer awareness is needed to achieve the long-term goal of consumer-driven fortification, and systematic social marketing will play an important role to achieve this.
But whether you are an email subscriber, get a RSS feed, follow new posts on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn), or are one of the searchers, we all share a passion for understanding and learning how to do good better.
A must read for students to assess the quality of courses and programs in social marketing and for the faculty who design and deliver them.
They may, for example, feature only reduced-calorie beverages at highly trafficked store areas such as checkout displays. For instance, there are now over nine million Facebook users in Pakistan, and the last million was gained in the last 175 days.
The numbers are based on a report by Third World Strategy, whose infographic on the growth of the social platform has further insights on the market. Yet, the concern over the tactic of pricing for mosquito nets has been obscuring the larger organizational, financial and marketing problems.
Rather, consider adopting a broader marketing orientation across the entire program and don't leave it entirely to the politicians and economists to sort out. I want to be more like Reynolds Wrap - introducing and marketing behaviors that a lot of people think about, reach for and use everyday to make their life, and the lives of those around them, a little better.
This problem is embedded in definitions of social marketing as changing individual behaviors in order to achieve social good.
In this post, and the following one, I extend the S-D Logic to social marketing (and thank Bob Lusch for his review and comments on an earlier draft).
As more practitioners appropriated social marketing as the basis for the development of ‘new’ health communication campaigns, the term became associated (and in some quarters still is) with mass media campaigns that segmented their audience, pretested materials and considered the 4Ps only in the context of communication planning, not marketing. I am also interested in how social marketing is presented outside our immediate orbit.One of my priorities in reviewing the work is how they help strengthen the evidence base for the discipline. Also note the concluding sentence of their abstract - that methods are not usually described in enough detail to allow for conclusions to be drawn about other social marketing practices - and be sure to download the entire report. Intervention effects from a social marketing campaign to promote HPV vaccination in preteen boys. Social marketing is a tool commonly used to effect behaviour change in many sectors but its application in conservation is limited. Designing marketing campaigns that engage the consumer by identifying key attributes of importance to the consumer, rather than long lists of attributes that do not necessarily influence the consumer’s decision.3. And for many of us, that means how to apply marketing thinking and techniques to solve the wicked social problems we have chosen to seek answers to (social + marketing). I will be presenting on 'Social Media and Social Marketing' tomorrow afternoon and will post some notes from that session later. Consequently, it is then difficult to selectively focus on only certain ones and ignore the others, to look for example at only psychological determinants or to consider only solutions that employ persuasive communications. Although the intentions are commendable, the actual process of moving from individual behavior change to changes at the societal level is ignored, as if this transition will occur automatically - that it is simply a matter of increasing the numbers of people practicing the behavior. Just collecting more stories, or case studies, about social marketing needs to end; we need a stronger focus on research with better descriptions of methods, collection and analysis of relevant data - not convenient ones, and the use of experimental designs.
This is the type of evidence your departmental colleagues and chairs, senior managers and policy makers are looking for.The other paper in this section by Wilhelm-Reichmann et al is a market analysis using a social marketing framework to assess how conservation plans can be integrated into land-use planning in South Africa. In the formative research phase of a social marketing study we interviewed locally elected politicians in four coastal municipalities in South Africa. This means that Facebook has a penetration of roughly one-third of all netizens in Pakistan.
Precedent indicates that the social media audience has consisted of younger demographics (12-44 years of age); however, users over 65 years old will drive the largest increases this year, predicted to grow by over 15 percent in 2013, and nearly 11 percent the following year.
Unfortunately, as many of you have no doubt discovered, all of the health and social puzzles we tackle rarely conform to one theoretical model.

What the frame problem poses to social marketers is that we cannot know for certain whether we have selected the right set of variables when we choose a theory, or frame, to guide us in thinking about our puzzle. Rather, social marketing can be thought about as facilitating customer experiences or discoveries of value when using the product, trying the service or practicing the behavior.
I liked their use of a marketing framework to approach the issue and that it also extends social marketing into the conservation and policy arena (and in full disclosure, I was an advisor in the early stages of their process).The next section includes two papers that focus on improved cookstoves to address many health and environmental issues.
Social marketing and communication activities were carried out as per the strategy developed. Findings highlight why the societal impacts of targeting vulnerable populations through corporate location selection strategies should be fully considered in social marketing initiatives, especially given that unhealthy products with long term health risks are increasingly accessible.The typical (short-lived) social marketing approach to obesity-related problems is to encourage individuals to exercise more or to eat more fruits and vegetables.
A primary source of failure of interventions is the use of the wrong theory to understand and address the puzzle.Behavioral economics is one domain that has captured the interest of policy-makers and social marketers alike. Since the early years of social  marketing, many people have struggled with how to apply the logic of economic exchanges to social marketing ones - usually without much success. I have, and was stunned by the lack of citations to research studies about the effectiveness of social marketing (my highest count was 10 - about as many as are in this post, and was something I deliberately set out to change with my book). While this sector has more frequently been the province of engineers and so-called marketing programs that were often little more than mass exhortation campaigns, as Shankar et al note, the problem is now being defined as how to create campaigns that are consumer-focused.
Traditional social marketing messages such as these may quickly be dismissed in more urban and poorer communities though, as the realities of accessing and paying for more healthy foods or exercise facilities are realized. Despite the platform’s ban in 2012, YouTube has remained popular and ranks third amongst social media platforms.
I have heard from colleagues that they wouldn’t, or couldn’t, teach a course in social marketing in their department using available textbooks because there was a lack of ‘scientific rigor’ in them (or words to that effect).
Their seven considerations for future efforts are ones that any social marketing program, regardless of its topic or behavioral focus, would do well to adopt. The 3- month intervention was based on four principles of social marketing: to promote (with radio public service announcements, posters, brochures, doctor’s recommendation) the product (HPV vaccine), while considering the price (cost, perception of safety and efficacy, and access), and place (healthcare providers’ office). LinkedIn has 1.5 million users in Pakistan, making it the 10th largest LinkedIn nation worldwide.
Practitioners can carry on about the ‘art’ of social marketing (I do it as well), but if social marketing is to be taken seriously by others (leading academic institutions and policy makers to name two) it needs data, not stories, to demonstrate its value.Two controlled trials caught my attention.
We present a marketing analysis of these results and argue for improving the attractiveness of the product: the maps should be more option- than veto-based and should identify locally relevant ecosystem services. Understanding the actual-use scenarios of the stove (for example, boiling water for tea versus frying flat breads).
The present findings suggest that opportunities exist for social marketers to focus more heavily on community-specific environmental factors and their relationship with childhood obesity. I am continually amazed at how little attention social entrepreneurs seem to pay to basic marketing principles. In this post I review an article that demonstrates how a social marketing analysis and approach could strengthen a program that is designed to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviors.Demarketing Obesity I have had several posts on the use of demarketing strategies to reduce unhealthy behaviors. Related to this point of corporate self-interest, not social responsibility, is the question of whether focusing consumers on choosing smaller containers will actually boost their bottom-line. In a classic social marketing approach, the first task would be to understand from the potential customers’ perspective, and there may be several segments of them with different perspectives, what benefits and barriers they perceive in quitting smoking.
Randomization by organizational unit, in this instance churches, was an especially strong experimental approach employed by DiGuiseppi et al to investigate how social marketing can increase recruitment and retention of older adults into balance classes in order to reduce fall-related injuries. As social marketers, these results should remind us that we need to be thinking about larger ‘place’ questions and solutions to them. We used coarsened exact matching to create statistically equivalent groups of men exposed and non-exposed to the program, matching on education, measures of social interaction, and exposure to other HIV prevention programs. Using social marketing concepts to promote the integration of systematic conservation plans in land-use planning in South Africa.
Yes, you read that correctly, using marketing not to sell more cigarettes or food, but to reduce demand.
Yes, the Bhagwat piece is two case studies, but I can take a story that is sprinkled with data and demonstrates a new application of social marketing - to food fortification programs in India. Though they cannot be considered representative, our results suggest that efforts to increase adoption and use of ICS in rural India will likely require a combination of supply-chain improvements and carefully designed social marketing and promotion campaigns, and possibly incentives, to reduce the up-front cost of stoves. Given current efforts to increase promotion of ICS technologies in India and other less-developed countries, we believe that issues related to stove promotion and marketing, stove pricing and subsidies, and the nature of peer effects and how they relate to the visibility of stoves deserve additional study and rigorous testing. Conclusions: This study is the first to use a social marketing intervention to boost HPV vaccination among preteen males. In them I pick up on the theme of how the deliberate use of social marketing could lead to positive changes in personal well being and national happiness indicators. Church-based social marketing to motivate older adults to take balance classes for fall prevention: Cluster randomized controlled trial. Guidelines for the Review of Social Marketing Papers  Students, instructors, program managers, journal reviewers and editors will find a set of questions (or scoring criteria) that I use in guiding and grading student projects in my advanced social marketing class. Marketing campaigns to promote cookstoves have yielded mixed results over the past decades, and generally adoption rates remain low. Marketing of improved cookstoves (ICS) must meet consumer needs and preferences if they are to lead to correct and consistent use and to successfully displace traditional stoves. The program highlighted benefits of class participation (staying independent, building relationships), reduced potential barriers (providing convenient, subsidized classes), and communicated marketing messages through church leaders, trained “messengers,” printed materials and church-based communication channels. However, consumer needs and preferences are complex and are influenced by many contextual and social factors that require a deep understanding of culture, going beyond technology and economics. Compared to 25 control churches, 26 churches receiving the social marketing program had a higher median proportion (9.8% vs.

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