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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2020

Krzysztof Kubacki, Dariusz Siemieniako and Linda Brennan

The purpose of this paper is to propose an integrative framework for vulnerability analysis in social marketing systems by identifying, investigating and problematising…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an integrative framework for vulnerability analysis in social marketing systems by identifying, investigating and problematising the relationships among several interrelated concepts, including power, power asymmetry, vulnerability and resilience, in the context of social marketing systems.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper synthesising literature from social marketing, sociology and marketing management.

Findings

The main outcome of the discussion is a proposed integrative framework for vulnerability analysis. The framework identifies the main groups of stakeholders within a social marketing system and the bases for their power and consequential power asymmetries. It focusses on the types and states of vulnerability to identify the distinct characteristics of the social conditions of vulnerability for micro-level system actors. It leads to building positive resilience through efforts aiming to change the power asymmetries at the downstream, midstream and upstream levels.

Originality/value

The integrative framework for vulnerability analysis answers the call from Wood (2019) for the development of practical approaches to better understand resilience-building approaches in social marketing programmes. The framework provides reconciliation for diverse dimensions of vulnerability as a natural characteristic of all social marketing systems and as a universal, constant and inherent social condition.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 9 October 2019

Hamilton Coimbra Carvalho and Jose Afonso Mazzon

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to expose the inadequacy of social marketing to tackle complex social problems, while proposing an expansion in the discipline’ conceptual repertoire. The goal is to incorporate complexity tools, in particular from the system dynamics field, and the promotion of mindware within a true transdisciplinary paradigm.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses literature review to support the proposed theoretical development. It also presents a short case study.

Findings

Most problems that plague our modern societies have a distinctive complex nature that is not amenable to traditional social marketing interventions. Social marketing has simplified the problem of bringing about societal change by thinking that upstream social actors can be influenced in the same way as downstream individuals. This paper shows that this is not the case while proposing a framework to close this gap.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed framework is a theoretical one. It depends on further refinements and actual application to wicked problems.

Practical implications

Complex social problems – or wicked problems – remain widespread in modern societies. Moreover, they are getting worse over time. The paper presents a proposal to redefine the limits of the social marketing discipline so it can be more useful to tackle such problems. Practical approaches such as measuring the success of mindware in the marketplace of ideas are implied in the proposed framework.

Social implications

The increase in complexity of social problems has not been accompanied by an evolution in the discipline of social marketing. The lack of proper conceptual tools has prevented the discipline from contributing to tackling these problems effectively. Some interventions may actually worsen the underlying problems, as illustrated in the paper.

Originality/value

This paper identifies two major gaps associated with the social marketing discipline, in particular the lack of complexity and systems thinking and the forsaking of ideas (mindware) as a legitimate goal of the discipline. This realization corroborates the claim that boundaries among disciplines are often artificial, hindering the proper understanding of complex social problems. In turn, only the use of adequate conceptual lenses makes it possible to devise interventions and programs that tackle actual causes (instead of symptoms) of complex social problems.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Dmitry Brychkov and Christine Domegan

The purpose of this paper is to present retrospective, current and prospective aspects of social marketing and systems science integration.

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4697

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present retrospective, current and prospective aspects of social marketing and systems science integration.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a periodization methodology, based on turning points of conceptual integration between social marketing and systems science.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Christine Domegan, Patricia McHugh, Brian Joseph Biroscak, Carol Bryant and Tanja Calis

The purpose of this paper is to show how non-linear causal modelling knowledge, already accumulated by other disciplines, is central to unravelling wicked problem scoping…

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865

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to show how non-linear causal modelling knowledge, already accumulated by other disciplines, is central to unravelling wicked problem scoping and definition in social marketing.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is an illustrative case study approach, highlighting three real-world exemplars of causal modelling for wicked problem definition.

Findings

The findings show how the traditional linear research methods of social marketing are not sensitive enough to the dynamics and complexities of wicked problems. A shift to non-linear causal modelling techniques and methods, using interaction as the unit of analysis, provides insight and understanding into the chains of causal dependencies underlying social marketing problems.

Research limitations/implications

This research extends the application of systems thinking in social marketing through the illustration of three non-linear causal modelling techniques, namely, collective intelligence, fuzzy cognitive mapping and system dynamics modelling. Each technique has the capacity to visualise structural and behavioural properties of complex systems and identify the central interactions driving behaviour.

Practical implications

Non-linear causal modelling methods provide a robust platform for practical manifestations of collaborative-based strategic projects in social marketing, when used with participatory research, suitable for micro, meso, macro or systems wide interventions.

Originality/value

The paper identifies non-linear causality as central to wicked problem scoping identification, documentation and analysis in social marketing. This paper advances multi-causal knowledge in the social marketing paradigm by using fuzzy, collective and interpretative methods as a bridge between linear and non-linear causality in wicked problem research.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 26 November 2018

V. Dao Truong, Stephen Graham Saunders and X. Dam Dong

Social marketing has gained widespread recognition as a means of motivating behaviour change in individuals for societal good. Many opinions have been shared regarding its…

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1021

Abstract

Purpose

Social marketing has gained widespread recognition as a means of motivating behaviour change in individuals for societal good. Many opinions have been shared regarding its potential to affect society or systems-wide change, leading to the macro-or systems social marketing (SSM) concepts and ideas. This paper aims to critically appraise the SSM literature, identify key features and highlight gaps for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

A search was conducted of peer-reviewed SSM articles published from 2000 to March 2018 inclusive. A number of online databases were mined, including but not limited to Google, Google Scholar, Scopus, PubMed, Cochrane and Medline. Key social marketing outlets (Social Marketing Quarterly and Journal of Social Marketing) were browsed manually. In total, 28 SSM articles were identified.

Findings

SSM adopts a dynamic systems thinking approach; it is an orientation, not a theory or model; it is multi-method; and it recognises that intervention can occur on multiple levels. Yet, greater attention should be given to the complexities of the systems context and the power structures and relations that exist between stakeholders. Significant issues also include stakeholder voice and participation, the use and reporting of theories and models, the measurement of long-term intervention outcomes and the undesirable impacts of SSM.

Originality/value

This paper identifies issues that need to be addressed if social marketing is to become a more system-oriented means to positively influence societal change. Implications for theoretical and practical development of the social marketing field are provided.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2015

Roger Layton

This paper aims to highlight the limitations of marketing viewed as a management discipline in addressing contemporary concerns. Widening the scope of marketing enquiry…

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2943

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to highlight the limitations of marketing viewed as a management discipline in addressing contemporary concerns. Widening the scope of marketing enquiry leads directly to the role, nature and dynamics of marketing systems, suggesting that historical studies could often be framed in marketing systems terms, highlighting underlying patterns and interactions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on studies in marketing history to illustrate ways in which a framing in terms of marketing system concepts could be of value.

Findings

Framing historical studies in marketing systems terms draws attention to underlying patterns and links marketing history directly to macro-marketing theory, enabling the testing of theory drawing on work in the logic of comparative historical analysis.

Originality/value

This paper draws attention to a new way of thinking about historical research in marketing.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 25 July 2019

Stephen Graham Saunders and V. Dao Truong

The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamic nature of behaviour change over time and to gain insights into the effectiveness of social marketing efforts at three…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the dynamic nature of behaviour change over time and to gain insights into the effectiveness of social marketing efforts at three different intervention points under three different delay time conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

A system dynamics simulation modelling approach was used.

Findings

The findings showed that the effectiveness of social marketing interventions at different points of intervention and delay times is dependent on complex dynamic system interactions and feedback loops.

Research limitations/implications

As the dynamic simulation model was an abstraction or simplified representation, it was only useful to gain insights into generalised patterns of behaviour over time.

Practical implications

The paper provided practical guidance to social marketers’ intent on gaining insights into “where to do” and “when to do” social marketing rather than “how to do” social marketing.

Originality/value

The paper provided theoretical and practical insights into the temporal nature of behaviour change and the effectiveness of social marketing interventions in influencing behaviour over time.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2017

Ross Gordon, Katherine Butler, Paul Cooper, Gordon Waitt and Christopher Magee

This paper aims to present a discursive and evaluative analysis of Energy + Illawarra, an Australian Government Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) funded…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present a discursive and evaluative analysis of Energy + Illawarra, an Australian Government Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LIEEP) funded interdisciplinary social marketing energy efficiency programme. Energy + Illawarra was a community programme working with low-income older people in Australia and involving social marketers, human geographers and engineers. The paper aims to identify how ecological systems theory can inform social marketing, and what practicalities there may be in doing so. The paper also aims to assess whether a social marketing programme that draws on ecological systems theory can have a positive impact on people’s thermal comfort.

Design/methodology/approach

First, the paper uses critical discursive analysis to examine the use of various elements of a social marketing energy efficiency programme in relation to the different levels of ecological systems theory. Second, a longitudinal cohort survey study design is used to evaluate the programme’s influence on people’s perceptions of thermal comfort and satisfaction with thermal comfort in their homes.

Findings

The study found that ecological systems theory could be an effective framework for social marketing programmes. The evaluation study found that the intervention had a positive impact on participant’s perceptions of thermal comfort, satisfaction with thermal comfort and attitudes towards energy efficiency. However, the paper identifies some potential tensions in using ecological systems theory and suggests that issues of power, representation, agenda setting, the need for reflexive practice and consideration of unintended consequences are important considerations in social marketing programmes.

Originality/value

The work presented here suggests that multi-level social marketing programmes that draw on ecological systems theory can make a useful contribution to social change as demonstrated by the evaluation survey finding positive impacts on thermal comfort and attitudes of participants. However, issues of power, representation, agenda setting, the need for reflexive practice and consideration of unintended consequences should be considered in social marketing programmes.

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2016

Linda Brennan, Josephine Previte and Marie-Louise Fry

Addressing calls for broadening social marketing thinking beyond “individualistic” parameters, this paper aims to describe a behavioural ecological systems (BEM) approach…

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4800

Abstract

Purpose

Addressing calls for broadening social marketing thinking beyond “individualistic” parameters, this paper aims to describe a behavioural ecological systems (BEM) approach to enhance understanding of social markets.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual framework – the BEM – is presented and discussed within a context of alcohol social change.

Findings

The BEM emphasises the relational nature of behaviour change, where individuals are embedded in an ecological system that involves the performances of behaviour and social change within historical, social, cultural, physical and environmental settings. Layers of influence on actors are characterised as macro (distant, large in scale), exo (external, remote from individuals), meso (between the individual and environments) and micro (the individual within their social setting). The BEM can be applied to guide social marketers towards creating solutions that focus on collaboration amongst market actors rather than among consumers.

Practical implications

The BEM contributes to a broader holistic view of social ecologies and behaviour change; emphasises the need for social marketers to embrace systems thinking; and recognises that relationships between actors at multiple layers in social change markets are interactive, collaborative and embedded in dynamic social contexts. Importantly, a behavioural ecological systems approach enables social marketers to develop coherent, integrated and multi-dimensional social change programmes.

Originality/value

The underlying premise of the BEM brings forward relational logic as the foundation for future social marketing theory and practice. Taking this approach to social market change focuses strategy on the intangible aspects of social offerings, inclusive of the interactions and processes of value creation (and/or destruction) within a social marketing system to facilitate collaboration and interaction across a network of actors so as to overcome barriers and identify solutions to social problems.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

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Article
Publication date: 3 January 2017

Kate Westberg, Constantino Stavros, Aaron C.T. Smith, Joshua Newton, Sophie Lindsay, Sarah Kelly, Shenae Beus and Daryl Adair

This paper aims to extend the literature on wicked problems in consumer research by exploring athlete and consumer vulnerability in sport and the potential role that social

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to extend the literature on wicked problems in consumer research by exploring athlete and consumer vulnerability in sport and the potential role that social marketing can play in addressing this problem.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper conceptualises the wicked problem of athlete and consumer vulnerability in sport, proposing a multi-theoretical approach to social marketing, incorporating insights from stakeholder theory, systems theory and cocreation to tackle this complex problem.

Findings

Sport provides a rich context for exploring a social marketing approach to a wicked problem, as it operates in a complex ecosystem with multiple stakeholders with differing, and sometimes conflicting, objectives. It is proposed that consumers, particularly those that are highly identified fans, are key stakeholders that have both facilitated the problematic nature of the sport system and been rendered vulnerable as a result. Further, a form of consumer vulnerability also extends to athletes as the evolution of the sport system has led them to engage in harmful consumption behaviours. Social marketing, with its strategic and multi-faceted focus on facilitating social good, is an apt approach to tackle behavioural change at multiple levels within the sport system.

Practical implications

Sport managers, public health practitioners and policymakers are given insight into the key drivers of a growing wicked problem as well as the potential for social marketing to mitigate harm.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to identify and explicate a wicked problem in sport. More generally it extends insight into wicked problems in consumer research by examining a case whereby the consumer is both complicit in, and made vulnerable by, the creation of a wicked problem. This paper is the first to explore the use of social marketing in managing wicked problems in sport.

Details

Journal of Social Marketing, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-6763

Keywords

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