10 Rules of Social Marketing brings together tactics from academic literature and real life campaigns to act as a springboard for a discussion around social marketing best practices. Inspired by Jacquelyn Ottman’s book ‘The New Rules of Green Marketing: Strategies, Tools and Inspiration for Sustainable Branding’, and developed through an environmental lens, these particular tactics are best suited for environmental and sustainability behaviour change campaigns.
Be action oriented
Focus your campaign on a specific behaviour that your audience can change, and then show them how to overcome the barriers they may be facing.
Ex. Don’t ask your audience to use less water at home, ask them to turn off the water when brushing their teeth.
Target a specific audience
Increase the impact of your campaign by targeting a specific market segment and gathering key information (e.g. psychographic) about your audience.
Ex. Messaging should be tailored for your target audience since different groups will have different responses to the same information.
Recognize the influences
Identify which influential factors play the strongest role in your target audience’s daily lives, and how you can communicate with them to ensure your message effectively reaches your audience.
Ex. Influences may come in the form of an older sibling, a community group, social media, etc.
Lose the mask and be authentic
Be authentic! Ensure that you are sending messages that align with your core values to gain your audience’s trust.
Ex. When choosing to partner with an organization, make sure the partner organization meets your values as well as the value of your target audience. This will increase trust.
Make the behaviour change public
Maximize your campaigns potential by asking audience members to commit publicly, make it personal, and give them a “receipt” to help keep them on track moving forward.
Ex. Ask followers to tweet their pledge on Twitter, like Jack Johnson’s All at Once campaign.
Target the quick wins
The smallest actions can sometimes have the largest impacts. Choose a behaviour that has the strongest combination of environmental impacts and probability of being adopted by the target audience- even if it has low penetration.
Ex. Ask your audience to switch to CFL light bulbs instead of asking them to use renewable electricity sources.
Have a positive net-impact
Look at the bigger picture. A campaign should be restructured or eliminated if it is doing more harm than good.
Ex. A rebate for an energy efficient refrigerator is given when the old refrigerator is brought in. This eliminates the possibility of an inefficient refrigerator being moved into the garage for additional storage.
Set goals, and track your progress
Take time to establish meaningful goals and measure your campaign progress; both are critical to the success of the campaign.
Ex. P&G’s largest opportunity to reduce energy consumption is to get consumers to wash their clothes in cold water. As a result, P&G established a 2020 goal to have 70% of all machine wash loads use cold water. They report on their progress each year.
Keep it positive, keep it fun
Research has shown that threatening or fear-based messages are not effective for environmental-based behaviour change. Instead, make behaviour change as fun as possible by incorporating games, music and other fun mediums. Actions that your audience can measure themselves will also be more effective.
Ex. Campus Conservation Nationals is an electricity and water reduction competition between student residences across North America.
Provide reminders and continuous encouragement
Use prompts close in space and time to the activity that you want them to do and help them form a habit, especially then the activities are not consistent and habit-forming.
Ex. In order to save electricity, place a sticker on the door to remind people to turn off the lights before they leave a room.