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Develop a Social Marketing Plan: 10 Phases

A Social Marketing Primer*

Executive Summary: Brief summary highlighting your plan’s purpose, target audiences, major marketing goals and objectives, desired positioning, marketing mix strategies (4P’s) and evaluation, budget and implementation plan

1. Describe Background, Purpose and Focus: Note the social issues the plan will address (e.g., eye health) and summary of factors that have led to the development of the plan.

  • Purpose & Focus: A purpose statement reflects the benefit of a successful campaign, and then a focus is selected to narrow the scope of the plan.
  • Example: In 2011 the Save Our Sight Program developed a 5-year social marketing plan with a purpose to protect the sight of athletes with a focus on wearing protective eyewear.

2. Situation Analysis (SWOT): A quick audit of factors and forces in the internal and external environment, particularly those anticipated to have some impact on or relevance for subsequent planning decisions.

2.1 SWOT: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
2.2 Past or similar efforts: activities, results and lessons learned

3. Target Market(s) Profiles

3.1 Size
3.2 Demographics, geographics, related behaviors
3.3 Stage of change (readiness to “buy”)

4. Marketing Objectives and Goals

4.1 Marketing objectives: Behavior, knowledge and beliefs
4.2 Objectives: Measurable and time sensitive

5. Target Market Barriers, Benefits, and the Competition

5.1 Perceived barriers to desired behavior
5.2 Potential benefits for desired behavior
5.3 Competing behaviors/competition

6. Positioning Statement: How you want the target groups to see your target behavior relative to the competition

7. Marketing Mix Strategies (4P’s)

7.1 Product
  • Core: benefit to target market of desired behavior
  • Actual: desired behavior and any name and sponsors 
  • Augmented: tangible objects and services

7.2 Price

  • Monetary fees, incentives, and disincentives
  • Non-monetary incentives and disincentives

7.3 Place

  • Where and when to promote that the target market perform the behavior
  • Where and when to acquire any tangible products and services

7.4 Promotion

  • Messages
  • Messengers
  • Communication channels

8. Evaluation Plan

8.1 Purpose and audience for evaluation
8.2 What will be measured: output/process, outcome, and impact measures
8.3 How and when measures will be taken

9. Budget

9.1 Costs for implementing marketing plan, including evaluation
9.2 Any anticipated incremental revenues or cost savings

10. Implementation: Who will do what, by when?

*Adapted from Philip Kotler and Nancy R. Lee’s: Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good, 3rd Ed., Sage, 2008.

Last Reviewed 10/28/11