Fostering sustainable behaviour can be a result of many things, "Cost at the Pump", "Climate Change", "a Free Transit Pass", and "Traffic Congestion" to name a few. Social marketing is a process that helps uncover the barriers that inhibit individuals from engaging in positive sustainable behaviours.
Additionally, the social marketing tools created are effective in fostering and maintaining behaviour change. Initiatives created and promoted as a community often are the most effective when they are carried out involving direct contact with people. The surfacing of social marketing over the last decade can be attributed to a growing understanding that programs which rely heavily on public funding can struggle with a positive identity. Creating public awareness, and providing educating and understanding of needs and issues related to these programs, is critical to fostering behavioural change and sustaining it.
The field of Social Marketing provides valuable insight into how marketing and promotional strategies can be used to encourage the adoption of behaviour changes that benefit health, the environment, and social condition.
The Social Marketing process and principles as it applied to the transportation industry will be used to reach a comprehensive understanding of service perception, met and unmet needs, usage profiles, and expected benefits for both the community and environment.
Marketing and advertising tools can then be developed that will be instrumental in the ongoing development and implementation of a perception, education, and multi-media campaign, whose primary focus will be to limit negative and promote positive impacts discovered. This is done by employing different strategies including changes in branding, policies, infrastructure, and even technology.
Transit Branding provides a full range of Social Marketing activities and consulting assistance.
Tools of Social Marketing include:
- Focus Groups
- Accessible Formats (ADA)
- Speed Networking
- Mobility Marketing
- Coordinated Planning
- Public, Private, and Political Outreach
Focus groups provide a forum for qualitative research through group interaction. Allowing for questions in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with colleagues and other industry professionals is essential to understanding the current perception, needs, and how to best promote their products or services.
Customized training programs pertaining to transit marketing, design, software technology, research, development, service, outreach, and implementation can be developed.
Providing accessible formats to information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities.
Speed Networking is a formalized networking process or system whose purpose is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people as a way to help organizations understand similar business objectives and synergies. Speed Networking offers participants and agencies an opportunity to have focused private meetings with targeted groups in a compact time frame. READ MORE
Mobility Marketing is a process by which universal mobility programs are marketed. In the world of coordination, cost sharing, and federal mandates, public transportation should no longer be the sole focus of transportation alternatives. READ MORE
Coordinated planning procedures usually involves multiple public and private agencies in the route planning and funding of services, but rarely considers the marketing of what will eventually become a new mobility program. A Social Marketing campaign should be implemented along with all other aspects of coordinated planning to understand awareness or lack there of, current perceptions both good and bad, and utilize those finding to better educate communities of new services available.
Surveys are marketing tools that can build an appreciation of current program awareness, understanding, and perception. Program awareness is a critical component in its success, yet usually less then one (1) percent of a population is aware mobility options even exists. Understanding the opportunities and services offered is an educational process often absent in a marketing program. Current perception may be concerning, but lacking an understanding of how a service is viewed can continue to promote it in a bad light rather then work to correct it. Surveys may seem cumbersome, but their value is limitless. (View Sample Survey)
Much like surveys, polls can build an appreciation of current program awareness, understanding, and perception. Polls provide a more streamlines process of discovery through check boxes of multiple choice options; however they do not provide the opportunity for the detail a survey can provide.
PUBLIC, PRIVATE, AND POLITICAL OUTREACH
Social marketing offers many free sources of marketing opportunities. Public Service Announcements (PSA's) are a resource often not taken advantage of that cost little or nothing. Government programs can be promoted free of charge by other agencies on websites, in pamphlets, and on radio and television. Education of political leaders, community organizations, and the general public can be performed by staff on a scheduled and regular basis through in person visits. Outreach opportunities are plentiful, and require only scheduling into an annualized marketing campaign.