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What do social marketing programmes reveal about social marketing? Evidence from South Asia


Gordhan K. Saini, School of Management and Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai 400088, India.



  • Although social marketing is growing as a discipline, there are several social marketing programmes (SMPs) across the world which can guide us in achieving a better understanding of social marketing. In this paper, using a case study approach, we map the SMPs to the six Ps of marketing; and then attempt to provide key observations about the South Asian SMPs by critically reviewing and comparing them with the social marketing success stories of the USA. Important insights are provided on the variations in SMP strategies by the region and type of social issue. The role of partnership is important in making social marketing initiatives in developing countries effective and sustainable by providing support in manufacturing and distributing quality products at an affordable rate and in remote areas. We propose that the ‘Partnership P’ should be given equal importance as the classical four Ps of marketing mix. Moreover, the South Asian initiatives seem to be broader than those of the USA and therefore, perhaps there exist more learning opportunities for scholars from the experiences of South Asian social marketing initiatives. The social marketer should be cognizant of regional dissimilarities in terms of income, location, language, literacy, product requirement and culture, and these may be factored in the design and execution of future social marketing strategies. However, the limited number of case studies may restrict the generalisability of the findings and a further probing may be suggested with better coverage of diverse SMPs.

Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.