The purpose of this paper is to present retrospective, current and prospective aspects of social marketing and systems science integration.
The paper uses a periodization methodology, based on turning points of conceptual integration between social marketing and systems science.
The paper identifies three periods of integration between social marketing and systems science: initialization of marketing and systems science integration; further conceptualization of the link between marketing and systems science, coupled by permeation of systems thinking into social marketing; and deep integration of social marketing with systems science. The latter period is ongoing and focuses on the origination of strategic systems-based theories and practices for sustainable social change.
The use of a periodization methodology might be biased by subjectivity, as chronological sequences of conceptualization-related events can be hard to decipher and can be reluctant to structural analysis. The necessity to examine the link between marketing and systems science, in so far as social marketing draws upon marketing theory regarding integration with systems science, has social marketing overshadowed by marketing at some points in time.
Historical research of social marketing and systems science integration provides a robust platform for large-scale practical manifestation of system-based strategic projects in social marketing.
This paper demonstrates that the permeation of systems thinking into the social marketing paradigm is gaining momentum and describes the trends, prospects and complexities associated with the accelerating integration.
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