Social marketing and public health intervention

Health Educ Q. 1988 Fall;15(3):299-315. doi: 10.1177/109019818801500305.


The rapid proliferation of community-based health education programs has out-paced the knowledge base of behavior change strategies that are appropriate and effective for public health interventions. However, experiences from a variety of large-scale studies suggest that principles and techniques of social marketing may help bridge this gap. This article discusses eight essential aspects of the social marketing process: the use of a consumer orientation to develop and market intervention techniques, exchange theory as a model from which to conceptualize service delivery and program participation, audience analysis and segmentation strategies, the use of formative research in program design and pretesting of intervention materials, channel analysis for devising distribution systems and promotional campaigns, employment of the "marketing mix" concept in intervention planning and implementation, development of a process tracking system, and a management process of problem analysis, planning, implementation, feedback and control functions. Attention to such variables could result in more cost-effective programs that reach larger numbers of the target audience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Promotion*
  • Marketing of Health Services*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Public Health*
  • Regional Medical Programs