Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing along with other concepts and techniques to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good. Social marketing can be applied to promote, for example, merit goods, make the society avoid demerit goods and thus to promote that considers society's well being as a whole. This may include asking people not to smoke in public areas, for example, ask them to use seat belts, prompting to make them follow speed limits.
Although 'social marketing' is sometimes seen only as using standard commercial marketing practices to achieve non-commercial goals, this is an over-simplification.
The primary aim of 'social marketing' is 'social good', while in 'commercial marketing' the aim is primarily 'financial'. This does not mean that commercial marketers can not contribute to achievement of social good.
Increasingly, social marketing is being described as having 'two parents' - a 'social parent' = social sciences and social policy, and a 'marketing parent' = commercial and public sector marketing approaches.
Beginning in the 1970s, it has in the last decade matured into a much more integrative and inclusive discipline that draws on the full range of social sciences and social policy approaches as well as marketing.
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