How can social marketing campaigns change a person’s behaviour?

Posted by TeamPC on 13 Jun 2017

How can social marketing campaigns change a person’s behaviour?

The people we live with, our families and friends, social media, role models and sports personalities, all these people influence what we think and feel, and ultimately how we behave.  But how do you go about changing someone’s behaviour, attitudes and choices - for the better?

Understanding human psychology and behaviour

To be able to change someone’s behaviour, you need to understand it and that’s no easy task.  All social marketers freely admit that people go through different stages of change, before it can be regarded as complete and sustainable. 

Changing a deeply held habit that has been created over time, like smoking or taking drugs, littering, or convincing a whole community in Africa that it needs to use mosquito nets at night, is a real challenge.

The key secret perhaps, and a core principle of social marketing is that, to be effective, it needs to get to grips with understanding what people want, and why they do what they do.

Social marketing is very much a people-centre approach to change, and its something being widely adopted by the healthcare sector, schools, colleges, universities, sports clubs, businesses and other industries.

The ‘exchange’ theory

At the very heart of a social marketing, lies the exchange theory. 

The new behaviour being presented by social marketing campaigns must be seen as having a higher value then a current behaviour.  It’s not good enough to simply try and change someone without at first convincing them that doing something in a different way is actually good for them, and the people around them.

Sustainable change is the vision

Social marketing is not only capable of making an initial impact on someone, although it may start with that, it goes further and attempts to have a lasting and positive impact that is sustainable.  It recognises the different stages that someone goes through in a change situation. For example, is that person starting to think about their behaviour? Are they preparing to change?  Are they in a negative mindset? 

In the end, behaviour change does not always point to a direct outcome or solution.  But with careful research, planning, use of the latest technology and appropriate delivery, many initiatives can prove to be effective if the target audience’s perspective is the primary focus.

‘One-size-fits-all’ campaigns rarely work

As social marketing campaigns continue to deliver some amazing results across society, it’s a stark reminder that a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing is fast becoming obsolete and being replaced with ‘people-based’ techniques that celebrate how different we all are. 

We’re Perfect Circle – an open and honest social marketing agency that delivers behavioural change for its customers.  Visit us online at

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