Social Marketing and Health Messages

Texting away in Spitalfields market
Christopher Legg(cc)

Social marketing is become a major part of our day-to-day life. Let’s face it — you’re currently reading a blog with that in mind! Health researchers have long been seeking ways to use social marketing to reach out to their communities and  better aid the public and Dr. Jessica Fits Willoughby may have done just that.  Dr. Willoughby developed a social marketing campaign to promote a program that allows teens to use texting to contact trained health educators with questions about sexual health.  Her published findings, “Everyone has question: Developing a Social Marketing Campaign Promoting a Sexual Health Text Message Service” can be found in Social Marketing Quarterly.

The abstract:

Text message services that provide sexual health information are increasingly popular, but often they are not promoted. This article describes the development of a social marketing campaign promoting a state-based sexual health text message service that allows teens to text a sexual health question directly to a trained health educator. Preproduction and production research using in-depth interviews and focus groups (n = 35) conducted in the southeastern United States provided information on perceived benefits and barriers and teens’ perceptions. Teens were interested in the service and wanted to see relevant settings and relatable teens in advertisements. Teens said that the promotional messages needed to include clear instructions on how to use such a service, as teens were only somewhat familiar with the process of using such a system. Implications for promotion of similarsmq services are discussed.

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