Unsuccessful social marketing programs are also well documented. They include high profile programs such as the US National Anti‐Drug Campaign of the late 1990s, the early anti‐smoking campaigns, as well as numerous other programs throughout the world. The US Got milk? campaign demonstrated the difficulties of effecting widespread behavior change. The $110 million ad campaign ran over five years and showed no corresponding increase in milk sales. Changes in milk packaging and flavoring caused a modest increase, but competition from the booming bottled water industry and a price increase for raw milk caused those increases to eventually disappear. Social marketing is a continuous struggle against unpredictable competing forces.
Social marketers must create competitive advantage by constantly adapting to and instigating change. With climate change in mind, adaptations to market changes are likely to be more successful if actions are guided by knowledge of the forces shaping market behaviours and insights that enable the development of sustainable competitive advantages.
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This concept of changing people's behavior is the basis of this section, and of social marketing as a whole. We will talk about what social marketing is, and why it can be of use to you in your organization. Then, we'll go into more depth on marketing, and discuss what are known as the "4 Ps"--the four elements around which all types of marketing, social or profit-oriented, are centered. Finally, we'll finish with an overview of the stages someone will go through if their effort is successful.
Social Marketers focus tightly and continuously on their target audience or consumers. This emphasis on the consumer is social marketing's greatest asset and the most significant contribution it can bring to any program. All too often, program organizers are so focused on the changes they want to achieve and the messages they want to convey, that insufficient emphasis is placed on understanding and effectively reaching the people they are trying to influence.
Of course, depending on your industry and audience these times could vary. The key is to test and re-test in order to see when your buyers are engaging. Look at the competition. See who is doing social successfully in your space and note their patterns. And remember, your engagement on social media is key. When you interact with your audience you are telling them you heard them, you are enhancing your brand and you are showing authenticity.
Still, before we get there, there's a whole lot of information to grasp. As an online marketer myself, it's important that I convey the truth about the industry to you so that you don't get sucked up into the dream. While there are legitimate marketers like Sharpe out there ready and willing to help, there are loads of others that are simply looking to help part you from your hard-earned cash. Before you do anything, gather all of the information you can.
Aside from advertising online, your online reputation is very important, even if you do not conduct business over the internet — before a new customer decides to patronize your business chances are they will check online reviews, so building a reputation for quality and customer service is very important. Unhappy customers are more likely to leave online reviews than satisfied ones, so having a strong reputation and plenty of positive online reviews is vital to business success in today's digital world.
The best evidence that social marketing is effective comes from studies of mass communication campaigns. The lessons learned from these campaigns can be applied to other modes of communication, such as communication mediated by healthcare providers and interpersonal communication (for example, mass nutrition messages can be used in interactions between doctors and patients).
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy. By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking. In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.