Gordon, Ross; Hastings, Gerard; McDermott, Laura; and Siquier, Pierre, 2007, The critical role of social marketing, In M. Saren, P. Maclaran, C. Goulding, R. Elliott, A. Shankar & M. Catterall (Eds.), Critical Marketing: Defining the field. Burlington, MA: Elsevier, , 159-173.
Criticism of conventional marketing is growing and well justified. However, to be effective any critique should not just find fault with the current situation, but identify ways forward - it should offer solutions. This chapter argues that social marketing does this by (a) suggesting a socially beneficial use for marketing techniques and ideas and (b) enabling the control and regulation of conventional marketing. In the first section, we discuss the nature of marketing, its influence on human behaviour, and examine criticisms that have arisen both from within and outside of the discipline. We then introduce the idea of social marketing and explore its contribution to the critical marketing debate. Here we discuss the need to (i) critically examine the effects of commercial marketing on the health and welfare of society and (ii) apply these same tools and techniques to the resolution of social and health problems. In the third section of this chapter we argue that critical studies of commercial marketing can inform policy decision-making. However, before policy-makers can act, they require a sound evidence base on which all parties agree. We show - through three different case studies - how social marketing offers new insights to the task of building an evidence base for policy-makers.