Applying an ecological model to social marketing communications


Lindridge A, MacAskill S, Ginch W, Eadie D & Holme I (2013) Applying an ecological model to social marketing communications. European Journal of Marketing, 47 (9), pp. 1399-1420.

Purpose - By applying ecological models of health behaviour to marketing communications to achieve behaviour change, this paper aims to illustrate the importance of taking into account various economic, environmental and social influences. Design/methodology/approach - A two-part study was undertaken. Part one involved exploring the lived worlds of the targeted population. Part two explored how the needs of the target audience informed a social marketing communications strategy. This was illustrated through Childsmile, a Scottish Government funded oral health institution. Findings - A variety of intra- and inter-personal influences where identified that encouraged or discouraged oral health. Complementing this was how these needs are incorporated into an ecological social marketing communications campaign. Although the long term effects of the ecological social marketing campaign will not become evident for a number of years, initial results indicate its important role in changing behaviour. Practical implications - The importance of engaging with various groups within social marketing is shown. Specifically, the need to understand and encourage interaction between individuals, their community, health institutions and the Government. Social implications - Behaviour change, through social marketing communications, is possible among socio-economic deprived groups. Change supported with face to face interactions with health professionals. Originality/value - Previous criticisms of social marketing research being American-centric, and avoiding issues around socio-economic deprivation are addressed. In addressing this, the paper also answers calls for research into ecological models of social marketing communications to understand how influences affect its applicability.

Behaviour change; Children (age groups); Communications; Ecological model; Oral health; Social marketing

European Journal of Marketing: Volume 47, Issue 9

Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online09/2013
Date accepted by journal07/11/2012