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Special Issue "Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health"

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Taylor J. Willmott
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD, Australia, 4111
Interests: behaviour change; behavioural science; chronic disease; obesity; prevention; health-promotion; human-centered design; social marketing
Prof. Dr. Sameer Deshpande
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD, Australia, 4111
Interests: marketing for a better world; behaviour change; sustainable development goals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The breadth and complexity of problems impacting public health around the world are ever-increasing. For example, out of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), five directly relate to public health: No poverty (Goal 1); zero hunger (Goal 2); good health and well-being (Goal 3); clean water and sanitation (Goal 6); responsible consumption and production (Goal 12). While the 12 remaining SDGs are not directly related to public health, they may be indirectly related, as behaviors do not occur in isolation but instead operate within dynamic, interactive, and ever-changing systems (Domegan et al., 2016). Some public health issues, such as population management, do not appear in any SDG, but rather overlap with multiple goals. Tackling such complex, interrelated, and multifactorial public health challenges necessitates an effective behavioral change approach.

Since its inception, social marketing has been a critical component of the public health toolkit. Social marketing utilizes marketing principles and techniques, combined with other evidence-based approaches, to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good (iSMA, ESMA, and AASM, 2013). Despite an increase in uptake and use within the public health community, efforts to synthesize and showcase how social marketing has been effectively applied in public health programs, practices, and policies are lacking (notable exceptions: Cheng et al., 2011; Evans et al., 2016 ). Critiques of social marketing often focus on its capacity to achieve and sustain behavior change, particularly in the absence of supportive environments. Evidence reviews indicate that the complete application of social marketing’s fundamental principles in public health-related interventions, programs, and campaigns remains limited (Carins et al., 2014; Kubacki et al., 2015; Xia et al., 2016; Firestone et al., 2017). Therefore, the incomplete application of social marketing is not only limiting its effectiveness (Carins et al., 2014), but is also contributing to the inconsistent and fragmented evidence base that continues to fuel debates surrounding social marketing’s effectiveness. This Special Issue seeks submissions that showcase social marketing’s contribution to public health in terms of achieving measurable outcomes and impact. In particular, we are interested in:

  • Quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method case studies of how social marketing has been effectively applied in public health programs, practices, and policies;
  • Lessons learned from both successful and failed attempts at using social marketing in public health programs, practices, and policies;
  • Effectiveness of social marketing to convince mid- and upstream audiences;
  • Differences in the effectiveness of social marketing due to the nature of behavior promoted in a public health initiative;
  • Role of social marketing to deliver social impact, over and above outcomes;
  • Identification or development of evaluation frameworks for measuring the effectiveness of social marketing in public health.
Dr. Taylor J. Willmott
Prof. Dr. Sameer Deshpande
Guest Editors

References:

  1. Carins, J. E., & Rundle-Thiele, S. R. (2014). Eating for the better: A social marketing review (2000–2012). Public Health Nutrition17(7), 1628-1639.
  2. Cheng, H., Kotler, P., & Lee, N. (Eds.). (2011). Social marketing for public health: global trends and success stories. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
  3. Domegan, C., McHugh, P., Devaney, M., Duane, S., Hogan, M., Broome, B. J., ... & Piwowarczyk, J. (2016). Systems-thinking social marketing: conceptual extensions and empirical investigations. Journal of Marketing Management32(11-12), 1123-1144.
  4. Evans, W. D., & Oxford University Press. (2016). Social marketing research for global public health: Methods and technologies. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  5. Firestone, R., Rowe, C. J., Modi, S. N., & Sievers, D. (2017). The effectiveness of social marketing in global health: a systematic review. Health Policy and Planning32(1), 110-124.
  6. iSMA, ESMA, and AASM. (2013). Consensus definition of social marketing. Retrieved from https://www.i-socialmarketing.org/assets/social_marketing_definition.pdf
  7. Kubacki, K., Rundle-Thiele, S., Pang, B., & Buyucek, N. (2015). Minimizing alcohol harm: A systematic social marketing review (2000–2014). Journal of Business Research68(10), 2214-2222.
  8. United Nations. Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals
  9. Xia, Y., Deshpande, S., & Bonates, T. (2016). Effectiveness of social marketing interventions to promote physical activity among adults: a systematic review. Journal of Physical Activity and Health13(11), 1263-1274.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • behavior change
  • health promotion
  • social marketing
  • effectiveness
  • evaluation
  • outcomes
  • impact
  • downstream
  • midstream
  • upstream

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Communication
Self-Efficacy Mediates the Effect of Framing Eating Disorders Prevention Message on Intentions to Have a Sufficient Weight: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(17), 8980; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178980 - 26 Aug 2021
Viewed by 725
Abstract
Background: In the context of social marketing, the effectiveness of prevention messages is a major issue. The main objective of the present study was to assess the effect of prevention messages framing on self-efficacy reinforcement in order to improve intentions to reach or [...] Read more.
Background: In the context of social marketing, the effectiveness of prevention messages is a major issue. The main objective of the present study was to assess the effect of prevention messages framing on self-efficacy reinforcement in order to improve intentions to reach or maintain sufficient weight in a non-clinical sample. It thus focuses on testing the mediating role of self-efficacy. Methods: Two hundred and thirty-three university student women were randomly assigned to one of the two conditions (gain-framed versus loss-framed message). They were exposed to a short persuasive message and surveyed on self-efficacy and intention to maintain sufficient weight. Results: Loss-framed messages elicited higher levels of self-efficacy than gain-framed messages, which led to higher intentions to reach or maintain sufficient weight. This study sheds light on the mediating role of self-efficacy. Conclusions: The results suggest ways to improve the persuasiveness of prevention campaigns, thereby opening up further research avenues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
A Social Marketing Intervention to Improve Treatment Adherence in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3622; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073622 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1204
Abstract
This research explores if a social marketing intervention model based on social representations theory and the health belief model can generate changes regarding treatment adherence and improve patient self-efficacy. As a pilot, a test–retest field quasi-experiment was designed to evaluate the intervention model [...] Read more.
This research explores if a social marketing intervention model based on social representations theory and the health belief model can generate changes regarding treatment adherence and improve patient self-efficacy. As a pilot, a test–retest field quasi-experiment was designed to evaluate the intervention model with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) patients of families with 8- to 17-year-old children. The intervention model was designed to clarify misconceptions, increase awareness of the benefits of following doctors’ treatments and improve patients’ self-efficacy. In-depth interviews were carried out to gain a richer understanding of the intervention’s effect. The pilot intervention generated a favourable change in shared misconceptions, individual health beliefs, glycaemic control and declared treatment adherence. This paper contributes to the social marketing literature and public health by providing early support for the theoretical assumptions regarding the role of shared misconceptions in physiological and behavioural outcomes for patients with T1DM. Contrary to previous studies, instead of only focusing on individual beliefs, this study incorporates shared beliefs between patients and caregivers, generating more comprehensive behavioural change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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Article
Process Evaluation of the ‘No Money No Time’ Healthy Eating Website Promoted Using Social Marketing Principles. A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073589 - 30 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1312
Abstract
Background: Reaching and engaging individuals, especially young adults, in web-based prevention programs is challenging. ‘No Money No Time’ (NMNT) is a purpose built, healthy eating website with content and a social marketing strategy designed to reach and engage a young adult (18–34 year [...] Read more.
Background: Reaching and engaging individuals, especially young adults, in web-based prevention programs is challenging. ‘No Money No Time’ (NMNT) is a purpose built, healthy eating website with content and a social marketing strategy designed to reach and engage a young adult (18–34 year olds) target group. The aim of the current study was to conduct a process evaluation of the 12-month social marketing strategy to acquire and engage NMNT users, particularly young adults. Methods: a process evaluation framework for complex interventions was applied to investigate the implementation of the social marketing strategy component, mechanisms of impact and contextual factors. Google Analytics data for the first 12 months of operation (17 July 2019 to 17 July 2020) was evaluated. Results: in year one, 42,413 users from 150+ countries accessed NMNT, with 47.6% aged 18–34 years. The most successful channel for acquiring total users, young adults and return users was via organic search, demonstrating success of our marketing strategies that included a Search Engine Optimisation audit, a content strategy, a backlink strategy and regular promotional activities. For engagement, there was a mean of 4.46 pages viewed per session and mean session duration of 3 min, 35 s. Users clicked a ‘call-to-action’ button to commence the embedded diet quality tool in 25.1% of sessions. The most common device used to access NMNT (63.9%) was smartphone/mobile. Engagement with ‘quick, cheap and healthy recipes’ had the highest page views. Conclusions: findings can inform online nutrition programs, particularly for young adults, and can apply to other digital health programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Marketing’s Contribution to Public Health)
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