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Difference Between Social Marketing and Commercial Marketing

The process of promoting the selling or buying of a product, referred to as marketing, is not only a common practice but also vital for business growth. While the most common forms of marketing include advertising, promoting and delivering products and services to consumers for financial gains, others do not target financial reaps but focus on changing certain habits in the community. For instance, social marketing aims at maintaining or changing people’s behavior for the benefit of society. Although social marketing and commercial marketing are similar in some ways, they have differences. 

Social Marketing

This is a sustainable and cost-effective approach used to influence and maintain people’s behavioral changes in society. By doing this, individuals and society gain benefits. Although in the past social marketing was used in the health sector, it has evolved to accommodate a multitude of environmental issues, drugs and substance abuse, governance, education, business-related issues and financial literacy, just to name a few. 

Due to the difficulties involved in behavioral changes, social marketers have more difficult goals, which can be harder to achieve. 

Examples of social marketing causes include;

  • Dangers involved in smoking
  • Importance of practicing safe sex
  • Dangers involved in driving under the influence
  • Environmental conservation practices
  • Importance of healthy eating and exercise

Among entities that are engaged in social marketing include;

  • Government agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Health services groups
  • Corporates
  • Schools
  • Public sector organizations 

The benefits of social marketing in society cannot be ignored.   

Commercial Marketing

This the process of influencing people’s choice of products and services by communicating value to retain and increase financial gains to an organization. 

For commercial marketing to be effective, market research should be conducted. This helps in the analysis of the target audience, their consumption needs and behaviors. As such, the process of commercial marketing should entail;

  • Market research
  • Market segmentation
  • Target market selection
  • Analysis of goals and objectives
  • Position
  • The four Ps of marketing namely: Product, price, place, promotion
  • Implementation
  • Monitoring and evaluation

Commercial marketing is the most common type of marketing strategy employed by profit-making organizations. To be effective, brands should focus on product developments tailored to the ideal target market and ensure they employ fair pricing strategies. 

Similarities between social marketing and commercial marketing

  • Both employ customer-oriented methods
  • Both employ the four Ps of marketing namely product, price, place and promotion
  • Both have a target market

Differences between social marketing and commercial marketing

Definition

Social marketing refers to a sustainable and cost-effective approach used to influence and maintain people’s behavioral changes in society. On the other hand, commercial marketing refers to the process of influencing people’s choice of products and services by communicating value to retain and increase financial gains to an organization. 

Product

Social marketing sells the desired behavior. On the other hand, commercial marketing sells tangible products and services. 

Target

While social marketing targets people who are likely to influence, make or encourage certain behavioral changes in the community, commercial marketing targets people who are likely to make a purchase. 

Objective

Social marketing prioritizes on positively impacting the society by influencing behavioral changes, commercial market prioritizes on making financial gins through the sale of products or services. 

Funding

While social marketing is publicly funded, commercial marketing is privately funded. 

Social marketing vs. Commercial marketing: Comparison Table

Summary of Social marketing and Commercial marketing

Social marketing refers to a sustainable and cost-effective approach used to influence and maintain people’s behavioral changes in society. Sells desired behavior and targets people who are likely to influence, make or encourage certain behavioral changes in the community. On the other hand, commercial marketing refers to the process of influencing people’s choice of products and services by communicating value to retain and increase financial gains to an organization.  It sells tangible products and services and prioritizes making financial gains through the sale of products or services. 


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References :


[0]Henley N & Donovan R. Principles and Practice of Social Marketing: An International Perspective. Cambridge University Press, 2010. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=pM42Oqz8BuUC&pg=PA40&dq=Difference+between+social+marketing+and+commercial+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwic7Mel6pjrAhUJYxoKHTe_CxsQ6AEwAHoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20marketing%20and%20commercial%20marketing&f=false

[1]Kotler P & Lee N. Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good. SAGE Publications, 2015. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=gPFMBgAAQBAJ&pg=PT41&dq=Difference+between+social+marketing+and+commercial+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwic7Mel6pjrAhUJYxoKHTe_CxsQ6AEwAXoECAAQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20marketing%20and%20commercial%20marketing&f=false

[2]Bryant C & Hastings G. The SAGE Handbook of Social Marketing. SAGE Publishers, 2011. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=rbnVgspAVp0C&pg=PA136&dq=Difference+between+social+marketing+and+commercial+marketing&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwic7Mel6pjrAhUJYxoKHTe_CxsQ6AEwBHoECAgQAg#v=onepage&q=Difference%20between%20social%20marketing%20and%20commercial%20marketing&f=false

[3]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Societal_Marketing_1.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blueprint_Commercial_Operations_Management.jpg

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