When the movie “Inception” released, the audience were awestruck with the entire concept of it. Well the marketing guys had the last laugh. Why? It’s because, they have been doing this to our innocent minds for centuries. They have been selling us ideas and then finally the product, all the while making us believe that it’s our life’s last remaining purpose and if we don’t comply then the alien Romulus clan will come and instantly vaporize Earth (highly unrealistic example but you know this is exactly how it is).
The marketing guys can actually do this because of a simple but mostly ignored necessity, communication. With good communication skills, anything is possible. It is considered as God in the marketing world. It’s this which gets them clients, contacts, networks basically anything you need for your business. Marketing guys bank on the opportunities produced by ‘communication’ and its wingman ‘networking’. Get these two together and a marketing guy with killer charm and skills and you have got yourself a “willing –to- buy- a- pin- at- an- exorbitant- rate customer”.
Now the marketing industry has a lot of branches (total world market domination), but the most eye catching one would be ‘Social Marketing’ (this is where Inception takes place to a targeted audience and not to just one entity). This just happened to be the brain child of Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman who literally thought out of the box and came up with a concept which would help them sell ideas to the customer.
Think of it this way, this is more or less on the lines of Inception of an idea which would change your life. This marketing strategy is very interesting and supremely effective and it should be considering it rides on the possibility of brainwashing the potential client into grasping the thoughts or idea being delivered to the customer.
Now don’t be alarmed, it’s just a marketing strategy. They won’t compel you to sell your country’s secrets to a polar bear. The main aim of social marketing is to promote healthy products or to make the society avoid harmful product. The simplest example in recent times being “no smoking in public area campaign”. It has obviously become a hit among the people (or the inception was successful) as you will see very few people (not everyone, as some people don’t ever change) smoking in a public area.
Social marketing is an amalgamation of two things, the social policies and commercial marketing approaches. The difference between this and commercial marketing is that social marketing primarily focuses on doing good for the society and does not really lose hair over the outcome. That being said, if the cause is a strong one, say, like awareness of sexual health among youngsters, they take a more aggressive approach so that the outcome rate is more positive.
The important thing to note here is that social marketing also needs takers. I mean, you need the society to be around when you give your presentation, right? This is where commercial marketing takes center stage. This team of experts will ensure that you have people around (the targeted audience to be specific) when the event goes down. They will announce it all over the radio, in the newspapers, the internet and basically use all the exploitable resources they have in their kitty.
The downside being this will not work for just anything (if your skills are really good, then maybe). You have to understand how the human mind works. It always receives positive information much more readily. This is why it is always easy to sell an idea to the customer if he subconsciously thinks about it or follows it (Channelling the Inception Yoda here). So selling them something positive by reinforcing their own ideas (in a positive way, of course) will always help you get a stupendous outcome.
Remember, all it takes is a thought, the more you feed it the more it grows and becomes so potent, that it becomes the way of life. Social Marketing follows this mantra when working towards doing good for the society and the results are evident. if you look around you can always see the people making a conscious effort to make better choices in their lives be it wearing a seat belt or a condom .