Social Marketer

Social Marketing Careers

Are you interested in learning what people want and need and using this information to affect health promotion efforts? Do you have a desire to influence public behavior to better health outcomes in the community? If this sounds interesting read on to discover what a career as a social marketer looks like.

What Does a Social Marketer Do?

The social marketer creates promotions and programs aimed at influencing public health in a positive manner. The emphasis in social marketing is based on consumer wants and needs to dictate the direction of the marketing campaign. Social marketing has been used as an effective strategy to bring about social change and has gained in popularity over the years. Examples of successful social marketing campaigns include the MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) campaign and the use of colored ribbons to promote awareness of certain diseases, such as the pink ribbon for breast cancer and the red ribbon for HIV/AIDS awareness. Specific duties of the social marketer will include:

  • Research: The Social Marketer needs to develop an understanding of what the consumer wants through market research and analysis
  • The social marketer must develop a clear understanding of the desired outcome of their campaign. What change do they want to bring about in their target audience?
  • The social marketer needs to do an analysis of costs and benefits of an intended campaign. Will the benefits of the program justify the costs of implementation?
  • The social marketer needs to strategize and create a combination of activities that will influence the population and promote the desired outcome
  • The social marketer will write policy
  • The social marketer will manage implementation of policy
  • The social marketer will analyze results of policy implementation

Characteristics of an effective social marketer include:

  • Understanding of social behavioral principals
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Excellent research skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Critical thinking and ability to analyze program outcomes

Nature Of The Work

The specific nature of the work involved with social marketing will vary from job to job. Social marketers typically work for non-profit organizations, government agencies, charity organizations, or public road and highway departments. The social marketer typically works as part of a marketing team. Research and analysis is a large part of the job. Research will be conducted to gather data regarding target behaviors. An example would be a social marketing campaign geared at changing a community’s recycling habits. The first step in planning the campaign would involve investigating current practices within the community surrounding recycling.

The social marketer would analyze the data collected from their research to determine if there is a problem great enough to develop a campaign to change community behavior. If change is warranted, the social marketer then plans strategies aimed at changing behavior and outlines the implementation of these strategies.

The social marketer works with a marketing team to create materials and media to influence change. The team will distribute materials and market the program to the community of interest. The marketing team will choose effective mediums in which to get their message out. Television, radio, online campaigns, billboards, and newspaper ads may all be employed in social marketing campaigns. The social marketing team will design and adopt slogans and symbols to represent their message. An example of a well-known social marketing slogan is the U.S. government’s “just say no” in the war on drugs.

The marketing team will analyze results of their efforts and make determinations regarding the continuance, modification, or cessation of the campaign.

The social marketer works closely with the organization’s financial manager to procure and manage funds for the campaign. The social marketer may be involved in strategic planning for fundraising activities.

Education and Training

Most professionals employed as a social marketer will have a 4 year bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, social sciences, or a related field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median income for a non-profit marketing manager is $115,750 as of 2012. The demand for marketing managers is expected to grow 12% between 2012 and 2022, which is average for all occupations in the United States.


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