Great Opportunities, Significant Challenges in Social Marketing

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Social Marketing Quarterly focuses on the theoretical, research and practical issues confronting academics and practitioners who use marketing principles and techniques to benefit society. Stan Polit, a 2012 Masters graduate from George Mason University’s Department of Communication, published “The Organizational Impacts of Managing Social Marketing Interventions” in the June 2012 issue of SMQ.The article examines “how socially oriented organizations can damage their legitimacy as change agents and community partners by not evaluating the true costs of employing marketing techniques,” providing warnings and recommendations to those who manage social marketing efforts. Mr. Polit kindly provided the following insights about his work.

What made you interested in the topic?

Social marketing has always been an attractive tool for organizations wishing to adopt some of private sector’s best ideas for the purposes of improving the public good.  Never has this been more true than now. With the recession straining the resources available to many nonprofit and governmental organizations, social marketing techniques are once again poised to help redefine what constitutes the sector’s “best practices.”  Unfortunately, great opportunities come with significant challenges.  Past research has widely documented the benefits socially focused organizations can accrue through employing marketing practices.  However, there is a lack of scholarly discussion about the losses to credibility that often result from organizations using business-like practices to enhance their position as social change partners.  My goal is to help academics and practitioners navigate these issues by examining both the benefits and challenges of managing marketing practices within the social change marketplace.

Stan Polit is a graduate from George Mason University’s Strategic Communication Master’s program.  His research in the areas of strategic communication and marketing management has been featured at numerous national conferences including the National Communication Association National Convention and the National Social Marketing in Public Health Conference.  He is currently pursuing a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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