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Social Marketing Institute – What is It?

The Social Marketing Institute is online resource being created to advance the science and practice of social marketing. Social marketing is the use of commercial marketing concepts and tools in programs designed to influence individuals’ behavior to improve their well being and that of society. It is an innovative approach now being implemented by groups as diverse as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentAARP, and private sector companies whose strategies incorporate both business and social objectives.


What Will the Online Institute Do?

The Institute will learn, develop and facilitate the application of the very best social marketing practices in a wide range of settings all over the world. It will do this by maintaining constant touch with frontline social marketing practitioners, cutting-edge private sector marketers, and top rank academic programs and institutes. When fully operational, the Social Marketing Institute will undertake all of the following activities (and undoubtedly more):

  • Provide on-site team-based strategic guidance to programs, organizations, businesses and foundations impatient to apply the very best social marketing approaches to their particular issues and problems;
  • Carry out and disseminate research on social marketing ‘best practices;”
  • Train and educate today’s practitioners and prepare the next generation in state-of-the-art techniques;
  • Sponsor academic research to take social marketing to the “next level” of sophistication and impact;
  • Provide connections and leadership to social change professionals, commercial marketers, academics and funders eager to exchange ideas about social marketing practice and its potential.

Who Should Support It?

The Social Marketing Institute can be a powerful ally for those corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and foundations that seek to achieve important social objectives as part of their basic missions. For corporations, this may be:

  • Through their corporate foundations;
  • Through cause-related marketing programs; and
  • In their own workforce wellness programs.


What Value Can the Institute Provide Its Supporters?

The resources and activities of the Social Marketing Institute can meet critical needs in the planning and implementation of social change programs around the world. The Institute can:

    • Provide impactful assistance inside or outside specific organizations through direct consulting. The Institute can help social partners:
      • Plan overall intervention portfolios;
      • Create specific programs with the very best social marketing thinking;
      • Revise and reinvigorate programs lagging in social performance;
      • Carry out independent evaluations of specific programs;
      • Educate staff in the latest social marketing approaches and provide training in specific concepts and tools;
      • Provide program staff with comprehensive and user-friendly secondary materials on social marketing approaches and applications;
      • Create opportunities for staff to meet others with similar interests in concentrated learning environments;
  • Provide opportunities for market executives in corporations who would like the opportunity temporarily step outside the corporate environment to apply – and expand – their marketing skills to help the broader society (perhaps in areas of special interest to them).
  • Give corporate, government and nonprofit marketers as well as foundation executives in charge of social initiatives the chance to network with other like-minded individuals;
  • Give socially-conscious corporations the chance to interact with academics from top business schools and other research centers who are working in this frontier domain.


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