Social marketing: application to medical education

Ann Intern Med. 2001 Jan 16;134(2):125-7. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-134-2-200101160-00013.


Medical education is often a frustrating endeavor, particularly when it attempts to change practice behavior. Traditional lecture-based educational methods are limited in their ability to sustain concentration and interest and to promote learner adherence to best-practice guidelines. Marketing techniques have been very effective in changing consumer behavior and physician behavior. However, the techniques of social marketing-goal identification, audience segmentation, and market research-have not been harnessed and applied to medical education. Social marketing can be applied to medical education in the effort to go beyond inoculation of learners with information and actually change behaviors. The tremendous potential of social marketing for medical education should be pilot-tested and systematically evaluated.

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Education, Medical*
  • Financial Management*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Marketing of Health Services*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Social Values