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Today, social media marketing is everywhere, but marketers can be hugely successful by practicing another kind of social marketing. That social marketing is using marketing to solve social problems.

Today, social media marketing is everywhere, but marketers can be hugely successful by practicing another kind of social marketing. That social marketing is using marketing to solve social problems. Consider the following examples:

  • Google is the top search engine, with over 60% market share. According to Google’s website, its mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Facebook has been valued at over $100 billion dollars. Facebook’s mission is to connect the world. In a recent PC World interview, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted saying, “There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future.”
  • A great example of corporate social marketing is Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program which helps move America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families.  Every time a Kids’ Meal is purchased, three cents is given to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. 

Supporting this idea is a quote from management guru Peter Drucker from his book Management:

“… it is the function of business… to satisfy a social need and at the same time serve their institution, by making resolution of a social problem into a business opportunity.”

But Drucker also warns in a later writing that “The first social responsibility of business is to make enough profit to cover the costs of the future.”

By focusing on social marketing, marketers have the potential to be highly successful with their products as well as help improve society through business. For example, Wendy’s recently overtook Burger King to become the world’s second largest hamburger chain even though Burger King has twice as many locations. 

Much of this credit can be attributed to Wendy’s strategy of focusing on what their customers wanted – more fresh food offerings. However, Wendy’s also heavily promotes their Wonderful Kids program in-store with donations made with the purchase of a Frosty on Father’s Day or Halloween Coupon books as well as in-store POP and donation canisters.  Burger King also has a foundation but it is supported primarily through employees, franchisees, and suppliers.

Domus has worked with numerous clients on social marketing initiatives for the good of social issues and that make good business sense including establishment and promotion of foundations, cause-related event sponsorships and charity promotion overlays.

Ed Samide is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at betty.tuppeny@domusinc.com or 215-772-2805.

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