Promoting public health: Understanding the limitations of marketing principles and the need for alternative approaches
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This chapter comments on marketing and social marketing principles and how they may or may not apply to major public health challenges. Marketing insights make it clear that the primary focus of public health efforts needs to be on upstream rather than downstream approaches. In the typical absence of adequate funding to undertake the basic principles of marketing at the downstream level (e.g. segmentation and competitor analysis) and the inappropriateness of delivering to consumers what they say they want (a fundamental assumption of the marketing concept that doesn’t usually work in public health), marketing knowledge needs to be applied in different ways to improve well-being at the population level. The two health issues of ageing and obesity are presented as examples of cases in which (social) marketing strategies will not be effective unless implemented as recommended in the literature—they need to be thoroughly researched, strategically implemented, well-resourced, and persistent in nature.
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