‘Come on in, the water’s lovely’

How do you make someone do something they don’t really want to?


Social marketing attempts to influence and challenge the way that people think and act. The ultimate goal is to change unhealthy patterns of behaviour that are often ingrained or habitual, for the benefit of the NHS and society as a whole.


This can take many different forms, but usually presents itself to us as a public health initiative or awareness campaign that aims to target a particular socio-demographic group, and to either get the people within that group to stop doing something they shouldn’t be doing, or to start doing something they should be doing.


What comes next is unique to every project, but in the past has resulted in us doing some or all of the following: Presentations to community groups, running focus groups, data analysis and media research, pitching and proposal writing, creative design and development, market testing and campaign planning, implementation of the marketing plan, and then subsequent follow-up assessments and evaluation.


And after all this – have we learnt how to make someone do something they don’t want to do? The answer is not to bully or lecture, but to listen and learn from your target audience – what makes them tick and how can you appeal to them? From here, we develop a tailored range of interventions that due to these insights stand a far greater chance of delivering results.


So, remember to: Stop smoking, reduce the amount you drink, attend your health check, immunise your child - and don’t go to A&E unless it really is an emergency.


And if this doesn’t sound too much like a lecture, in the words of the classic Baz Luhrmann song: “Trust me on the sunscreen.”


Click here to listen to Baz Luhrmann, ‘Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen’.


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© 2018.

A design and marketing service hosted by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust

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