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With all the talk of social marketing in the news today and utilizing it as a tool to market your business in a unique way, I got to thinking “when did it all begin?” Did this just appear in the last few years or has it morphed from traditional marketing?

Marketing experts agree that social marketing first emerged in the healthcare field in the 70’s. It was first used to communicate health issues related to contraception, heart disease, drug abuse and organ donation. According to Nedra Weinreich of Weinriech Communications:

Social marketing was “born” as a discipline in the 1970s, when Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman realized that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell products to consumers could be used to “sell” ideas, attitudes and behaviors. Kotler and Andreasen define social marketing as “differing from other areas of marketing only with respect to the objectives of the marketer and his or her organization. Social marketing seeks to influence social behaviors not to benefit the marketer, but to benefit the target audience and the general society.” Like commercial marketing, the primary focus is on the consumer–on learning what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be producing. Marketing talks to the consumer, not about the product.

Why is social marketing so appealing to businesses and to consumers? Because, as everyone knows, we are much more likely to do business with someone we know and trust. Social marketing addresses that issue and allows both to develop those relationships that benefit not only the business, but ultimately the consumer. Instead of dehumanizing the business relationship, it brings back personalization and reminds me of the old “mom and pop” business model we loved in the 50’s and 60’s.

Click here to read the entire article: What is Social Marketing?

Do you use social marketing in your business? What have you found to be the most difficult to learn: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube? What is your favorite social marketing tool?

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