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Recognizing the importance of social marketing strategies for the success of social entrepreneurial ventures (SEVs), the present article examines nine SEVs with different profit orientation to understand the role of social marketing in social entrepreneurship (SE). Using grounded theory approach and case study method, the present article cross-examines cases and develops propositions thereof, providing a holistic understanding of current and potential application of social marketing strategies in SE. The outcome of this study may help social entrepreneurs to choose appropriate strategies from a pool of social marketing strategies available. However, there is a need to test these propositions with a larger set of data in future research. Also, it is equally important to study social marketing strategies adopted by failed cases of SEVs so that the existing and potential social entrepreneurs can learn from their mistakes.
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Theory-Based Article
Application of Social Marketing
in Social Entrepreneurship:
Evidence From India
Archana Singh
, Gordhan K. Saini
, and Satyajit Majumdar
Recognizing the importance of social marketing strategies for the success of social entrepreneurial
ventures (SEVs), the present article examines nine SEVs with different profit orientation to
understand the role of social marketing in social entrepreneurship (SE). Using grounded theory
approach and case study method, the present article cross-examines cases and develops propo-
sitions thereof, providing a holistic understanding of current and potential application of social
marketing strategies in SE. The outcome of this study may help social entrepreneurs to choose
appropriate strategies from a pool of social marketing strategies available. However, there is a need
to test these propositions with a larger set of data in future research. Also, it is equally important to
study social marketing strategies adopted by failed cases of SEVs so that the existing and potential
social entrepreneurs can learn from their mistakes.
social marketing, social entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurial ventures, marketing strategies
Several social problems have been addressed by applying marketing framework. Implicit or explicit
applications of marketing principles for social good have led to the birth and growth of ‘‘social
marketing’’ discipline. Social marketing is expanding its applications (Andreasen, 2002; Dann,
2008) from reducing or ending poverty (Kotler & Lee, 2009; Rangan & McCaffrey, 2002) to several
related areas such as nutrition and health care (Goldberg, 1995; Harvey, 2008; Ling, Franklin, Lind-
steadt, & Gearon, 1992; Serrat, 2010), including social entrepreneurship (SE) (Hibbert, Hogg, &
Quinn, 2002; Schlee, Curren, & Harich, 2009). However, there is a compelling need to enrich and
further the knowledge base of this field, and thereby look to address several remaining challenges
related to social issues (Andreasen, 2003; Beall, Wayman, D’Agostino, Liang, & Perellis, 2012).
Lefebvre (2012, p. 118) suggests that ‘‘the field needs to evaluate what works, and more importantly,
School of Management & Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India
Corresponding Author:
Gordhan K. Saini, School of Management & Labour Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, V N Purav Marg, Mumbai 400088,
Social Marketing Quarterly
2015, Vol. 21(3) 152-172
ªThe Author(s) 2015
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/1524500415595208
for it to prosper and remain relevant, it must discover and incorporate concepts and techniques from
other disciplines that are aligned around core ideas of people-centred and socially oriented.’’
We believe social entrepreneurial ventures (SEVs) can be studied using social marketing frame-
work in order to understand the role of social marketing (e.g., Madill & Ziegler, 2012). This will help
in identifying the role of social marketing in achieving SE objectives, and such perspective can also
identify the key elements of social marketing for an academic inquiry, which in turn could be applied
to SE interventions to make them more effective and successful (Madill & Ziegler, 2012). It will,
hence, establish the possibilities in addressing issues of social entrepreneurs through marketing con-
cepts (Zietlow, 2001) and thereby contribute to the existing literature in this area.
Thus, against this backdrop, we examined nine SEV cases using the social marketing framework.
We selected cases from three diverse and most critical sectors, that is, health, education, and liveli-
hood; working with different profit orientation—(a) nonprofit; (b) self-sustainable nonprofit with
combined income of charity, grant, and own generated income, not for profit, or hybrid; and (c)
for-profit. The objective was to understand the role of social marketing in achieving the mission of
SEVs. We have also cross-examined cases to find out relative significance of a social marketing
element in a given context.
Social Marketing and SE Literature and Research Gaps
Social Marketing
Lefebvre (2013, p. 4) defines social marketing as ‘‘the application of the marketing discipline to social
issues and causes, [that] provides a framework for developing innovative solutions to social problems
that have long perplexed and frustrated us.’’ Andreasen (2002) proposed six benchmark criteria based
on which an intervention can be labeled as social marketing—first, focus on behavior change; second,
audience research; third, careful segmentation; fourth, creation of attractive and motivational
exchanges with target audiences; fifth, use of all four Ps of the traditional marketing mix not just
advertising or communication; and sixth, consideration of competition faced by the desired behavior.
Andreasen (2002) argued that an intervention merely focusing on communication element is not social
marketing, but, at the same time, a program need not satisfy all six benchmark criteria to label itself as
social marketing. In this article, we are interested to know how application of social marketing makes
the SEVs more effective in resolving several compelling social issues.
Practitioners and managers in SEVs are not aware of social marketing, and its potential for organiz-
ing and implementing social change (Madill & Ziegler, 2012). This has become a serious issue due to
insufficient documentation success stories, and therefore prospective adopters (of this approach) may
not be aware of its potential in achieving large-scale social change (Andreasen, 2002). In some cases,
social marketing is also perceived as ‘‘manipulative’’ and not a ‘‘community-based’’ institutional
approach, and thus social entrepreneurs, in particular, are highly concerned about the latter (Andrea-
sen, 2002; Madill & Ziegler, 2012). Therefore, we argue that social entrepreneurial approach in
implementing social change through the application of social marketing can be of great use. At the
same time, social marketing as a tool can make SEVs more impactful, and therefore knowledge from
both the disciplines may be shared with one another.
The concept of SE has emerged as a global phenomenon to bridge the gap between the demand for
social and environmental needs and the supply of resources to meet those (Nicholls, 2006).
SE is considered to act as a response to a market failure, state failure, or both, in meeting social
needs (Nicholls, 2006). Social entrepreneurs are recognized as change agents (Dees, 1998) because
Singh et al. 153
they aim at systematic solutions to social problems and bring about the social change desired (Nicholls,
2006). Till date, there is no universal definition of SE (Christie & Honig, 2006; Martin, 2004; Martin &
Osberg, 2007; Nicholls, 2006; Weerawardena & Mort, 2006; Youssry, 2007), and it has different
meaning for different people (Bornstein, 2005; Boschee & McClurg, 2003; Dees, 1998; Irwin, 2007;
Light, 2005; Mair & Marti, 2006).
However, there are two important elements of SE: First, its primary focus on social mission and,
second, its entrepreneurial approach. Social entrepreneurs follow the entrepreneurial approach to
achieve their social mission (Nicholls, 2006).
A number of social entrepreneurs have brought about social changes with their innovative
approaches all over the world. Their innovative and entrepreneurial approaches of problem solving
are needed in all the countries and are most critical in underdeveloped and developing countries such
as Bangladesh, Nigeria, and India due to the challenging socioeconomic scenarios and inadequacy of
resources. In addition, these innovative and entrepreneurial problem-solving approaches by social
entrepreneurs play a crucial part in the inclusive growth of the country (Ianchovichina & Lundstrom,
2009), as ‘‘development’’ not only includes economic growth but also includes social progress and
improvement at the level of the individual (Lundstrom & Zhou, 2011). Thus, it establishes the
importance of social entrepreneurs in solving social problems efficiently and effectively.
Research Gaps and the Research Setting
We have the scholarly challenge of dealing with two emerging streams of academic inquiry—social
marketing and SE. These are multidisciplinary and hence have multiple perspectives. Interestingly, in
application both are contemporary, relevant, and critical for development of a significant portion of
world population.
Researchers (Hibbert et al., 2002; Madill & Ziegler, 2012; Schlee et al., 2009; Zietlow, 2001) have
examined or advocated the role of (social) marketing in SE education and practice. To the best of our
knowledge (based on the keyword search of academic databases such as EBSCOhost, JSTOR, Wiley,
Taylor & Francis, Sage, Emerald, etc.), there are two studies—Madill and Ziegler (2012) and Zietlow
(2001)—which have examined the marketing or social marketing aspects of SEVs. Madill and Ziegler
(2012) specifically analyzed the adoption of social marketing for SEs. They used a case analysis on
One Drop and its Aqua expo and the utilization of social marketing framework to achieve water
conservation in Northern Hemisphere and concluded that social marketing elements were applied
implicitly. Zietlow (2001) examined managerial, finance, and marketing aspects of SE and identified
four themes—new and increased marketing emphasis, need to acquire a greater marketing capacity,
change in marketing approach, and marketing mix implications.
Our study is the first and an unique attempt of sorts to analyze the SEVs using social marketing
framework in Indian context because of the following reasons: First, social marketing literature has
mainly focused on the Western countries (Fox & Kotler, 1980; Smith, 2010), and studies focusing on
South Asia (e.g., Chance & Deshpande, 2009; Luthra, 1991; Madhavi, 2003; O’Sullivan, 2010; Saini
& Mukul, 2012) are rare. There are irreducible qualitative contextual differences between the devel-
oped and the developing countries (Luthra, 1991; Smith, 2010), which make it inevitable to study the
developing countries separately. Second, the existing social marketing research (e.g., French, Stevens,
& McVey, 2009; Grier & Bryant, 2005; Ling, Franklin, Lindsteadt, & Gearon, 1992) is skewed toward
public health-related interventions (Smith, 2010), whereas our study reviews diverse, multidiscipline
set of SEVs. Third, the two available studies (i.e., Madill & Ziegler, 2012; Zietlow, 2001) explicitly
suggest a need for further research in this area. Particularly, Madill and Ziegler (2012, pp. 350–351)
suggested, ‘‘research on the use of social marketing in social enterprises is needed to understand the
issues involved in adopting social marketing approaches in such organisations.’’
154 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
Kotler and Zaltman (1971) applied the classical four Ps of marketing—product, place, promo-
tion, and price, in social context. Two more Ps—partnership and positioning—are suggested by
Kotler and Roberto (1989), Saini and Mukul (2012), and Weinreich (1999), and we find them
appropriate to study SEVs. To deal with the diversities of opinions over the definition of the four
Ps of marketing mix (Tena, 1988), we adopted, in this article, a functional definition of each
marketing P from Saini and Mukul (2012, p. 322), which are drawn from Kotler and Lee (2008)
and Kotler and Zaltman (1971).
The remainder of this article is structured as follows: The second section discusses the approach and
methodology; the third section reports the findings and discussion; and finally, the fourth section
includes implications and conclusion.
Approach and Methodology
For the present study, SEV cases are specifically selected in order to analyze them from the social
marketing perspective. Social entrepreneurs, through their SEVs, focus on the behavior change of their
target audience while solving social problems. Thus, an analysis of SEVs using social marketing
framework is considered to be useful to explore the role of social marketing in achieving social mission
of social entrepreneurs.
While the fields of ‘‘marketing’’ and ‘‘entrepreneurship’’ are well developed and established as
independent academic fields, and thus have several theories of their own, social marketing and SE on
the other hand are still emerging as independent academic fields and do not have their own theories.
The scholarly literature is still in search of theories in these fields. Grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin,
1998) is a good design to use when a theory is not available to explain the process or phenomenon
(Creswell, 2007). It is important to know that a theory is needed on the practical side to explain how
people are experiencing a phenomenon, and grounded theory provides opportunities to develop gen-
eral frameworks (Creswell, 2007).
In addition, SE is a complex and context-based phenomena, and ‘‘The case study is the method of
choice, when the phenomenon under study is not readily distinguished from its context’’ (Yin, 1993,
p. 3). Further, in multiple-case study, the cross-case analysis facilitates researcher to predict similar
results across cases or predict contrasting results and finally to develop propositions. Thus, we have
adopted multiple case-study method for our study.
SEVs emerge in a variety of structures, nonprofit, the public sector, for-profit sector, and a com-
bination of these three sectors (Christie & Honig, 2006). Thus, in order to compare and contrast the
cases to know the relative significance of a social marketing strategy in diverse types of SEVs, cases
are selected from all types of SEVs’ forms. The selected SEVs are as follows:
(a) Nonprofit SEVs dependent on external funding, such as charity, and also grants and subsidies
from the government.
(b) Nonprofit SEVs sustainable with combined income of donations and subsidies, in addition to
its own earned income or, self-sustainable SEV of not-for-profit sector, or hybrid SEV.
(c) For-profit SEVs, registered as private limited companies but with the primary mission of
solving social problem, creating social value, and bringing social change.
Three important sectors—health, education, and livelihood—have been identified to get maximum
variation (Sandelowski, 1995). The rationale behind selecting these sectors came from the fact that
poverty is a major problem (Chambers, 1995). Poor status of health and accessibility of health services
(Acharya & Ranson, 2005; Tamayo, 2003), education (Jha, 2007; Siggel, 2010), and livelihood
(Chambers, 1995) are the other major dimensions of poverty. Thus, recognizing the importance of
health, education, and livelihood sectors for poverty alleviation, and well-being of the people in India,
Singh et al. 155
these three sectors were identified for case/sample selection. Thus, we selected the nine SEVs as
sample cases, that is, three from each of these sectors—health, education, and livelihood.
Since the selected cases encompass a wide range of variation, they are likely to enhance the
representativeness of the sample of cases chosen for our study (Seawright & Gerring, 2008). Multiple
cases within each category allow findings to be replicated within categories (Eisenhardt, 1989). We
have chosen social entrepreneurs who are Ashoka Fellows because Ashoka Foundation selects only
those social entrepreneurs who have created high social impact, and their selection procedure of social
entrepreneurs (for Ashoka Fellowship) is rigorous and well researched. Table 1 presents the nine
selected SEVs.
Data Collection
For data collection, a combination of in-depth interviews, observations, and documentation was used.
Use of multiple sources of evidence for data collection facilitates holistic understanding of the phe-
nomenon being studied (Baxter & Jack, 2008), and the problem of construct validity is also addressed
through this process (Yin, 2003). In-depth interviews were conducted with social entrepreneurs/prin-
cipal founders of the SEVs, top management, other employees, and the target audience (i.e.,
Two interview guides were developed for data collection: The first guide was used for interviewing
the nine social entrepreneurs to explore their process of social value creation. Based on the review of
SE literature, we identified the following themes for guiding the data collection process—opportunity
identification, context, resource mobilization, capabilities of social entrepreneur, and social value
creation. The same guide was used to conduct interviews with top management (one in each of the
SEVs) and employees (in some cases—Vaatsalya, SammaaN Foundation, SAATH, Akanksha, Book-
Box, Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action [SNEHA]) who have a significant role to play
in the decision-making process of an SEV. To supplement the information obtained from social
entrepreneurs and top management, interviews with other employees were also conducted. The second
interview guide was used for getting information from the targeted beneficiaries—namely, on the
backgrounds and the perceptions about the social value created. Following saturation logic of data
collection, the number of interviewed beneficiaries varied across the selected SEVs (in the range of 8
to 12 for each of the SEVs, depending on the saturation).
With prior appointments, structured interviews were conducted with founders and/or management
personnel to collect information on the profile of SEVs. Participant and nonparticipant observation
methods were also used to capture more information. Participant observations were recorded with
select few individuals to understand their actions and interactions in context. It also helped us to
understand the operating model of the organization and resulting social impact on the beneficiaries. On
the other hand, nonparticipant observation was used to provide contexts to each of the case studies
through observation of specific places and people’s actions and interactions. Several documents,
reports, and audiovisual materials were also collected. These included brochures, annual reports, other
studies available, articles related to the founders, movies, and documentaries on SEVs. The data
collection period lasted for 6 months, that is, from January 01 to July 07, 2012.
Data Analysis
After data collection, all audio tape-recorded interviews were transcribed and coded using Strauss
and Corbin’s (1998) guideline. Content analysis was used for the audiovisual data. For cross-case
analysis, within-case data were combined to obtain the contextually grounded and generalizable
findings (Ayres, Kavanaugh, & Knafl, 2003). We followed Miles and Huberman’s (1994)
approach for within-case and cross-case analysis. These analyses brought out many similarities
156 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
Table 1. Selected Sample Cases of SEVs for the Study.
Sector Nonprofit SEVs purely
depended on external funding
such as charity, donations, and
also grants, and subsidies
from the government
Not-for-profit self-sufficient
SEV, or Nonprofit partly
funded sustainable SEV, or
hybrid SEV
For-profit SEVs (SEVs registered
as private limited companies,
but their primary mission is
solving social problem,
creating social value, and
bringing social change)
Health SNEHA, Mumbai (Dr. Armida
Fernandez, Founder)
‘Narayana Hrudyalaya Pvt. Ltd.,’’
Bengaluru (Dr. Devi Shetty,
‘Vaatsalya Healthcare Solutions
Pvt. Ltd,’’ Bengaluru
(Dr. Ashwin Naik, Founder)
SNEHA’s initiatives target both
care seekers and care
providers in order to improve
urban health standards. On
the one hand, SNEHA
worked at the community
level to empower women and
slum communities to be
catalysts of change in their
own right. On the other hand,
SNEHA collaborated with
existing public systems and
care providers to create
sustainable improvements in
urban health. The head office
of SNEHA is located in
Dharavi, Mumbai
In order to achieve his aim of
providing affordable and
accessible health care delivery
for the masses worldwide, Dr.
Shetty is following hybrid
model and relying on
economies of scale. He has
three types of packages for
the patients: general,
charitable. and patients
insured under government’s
micro health insurance
programs. However, the
quality of services was same
across all types of patients in
all the network hospitals of
NH. The head quarter of
Narayana Hrudayalaya
Hospitals is in Bengaluru
Started in 2005 as India’s first
hospital network focused on
tier-two and tier-three towns,
Vaatsalya has grown to a total
of seventeen hospitals across
Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh. Their four main
focus areas are gynecology,
pediatrics, general surgery,
and general medicine. Apart
from these, they also provide
nephrology/dialysis in some of
the hospitals, wherever
Education ‘Akanksha Foundation,’’
Mumbai (Ms. Shaheen Mistri,
‘Kathalaya,’’ Bengaluru
(Ms.Geeta Ramanujam,
‘BookBox Pvt. Ltd.,’’
Pondicherry (Dr. Brij Kothari,
The Akanksha Foundation is
working with a mission to
maximize the potential of
every child and transform
their lives. It has the vision to
provide the highest quality of
education to every child in the
country. They were doing it
largely by running ‘‘after-
school centers’’ and ‘‘schools’
directly for children of low
income families in Mumbai
and Pune (Maharashtra).
Initially, Akanksha started
after-school centers for its
students, with a focus on
English, Mathematics, Values
and Extracurricular Activities,
and then changed its model to
running schools in partnership
with the government. It has
47 centers and nine schools
between Mumbai and Pune
and reached out to over four
thousand children through
these two models.
‘Kathalaya Trust’’ uses
storytelling as an educational
and communicative tool to
affect change in society. They
introduced stories related to
the curriculum in the
classroom with the aim of
enriching the curriculum.
Weekly storytelling sessions
are held for children in primary
classes (class one to five) in
schools, along with other
activities mentioned in the
curriculum. The schools are
from both categories; private
and government aided rural
schools in the outskirts of
Bengaluru (Karnataka). They
teach mainly two subjects
through storytelling, namely,
Environmental Science (EV)S
and languages. ‘‘Kathalaya’’ also
conduct short- and long-term
certificate courses in
storytelling and is affiliated to
the International Institute of
Storytelling, Tennessee,
United States
In 2004, after winning a 1-year
fellowship at a business plan
competition at Stanford
University, Dr. Brij Kothari
along with his team members,
founded ‘‘BookBox Inc.,’’ a
for-profit social enterprise in
Pondicherry. The mission of
the ‘‘BookBox’’ is to create
content or produce animated
stories to help improve
reading skills and language
learning, ultimately promoting
a love for reading. This
scientifically tested and
proven innovative approach
of same language subtitling
(SLS) is at the heart of
BookBox’s strategy. BookBox
aims to provide an access to
reading content or a ‘‘book’
for every child in his or her
own language, and through
‘Edutainment’’—a mix of
education and entertainment
Singh et al. 157
and differences based on which the propositions have been developed in alignment with our
research objective, that is, to explore the role of social marketing in achieving the social mission
of SEVs.
Results and Discussion
In this section, we present the meaning of ‘‘social value creation’’ both from the social entrepreneurs’
and the beneficiaries’ perspectives. From the social entrepreneurs’ perspective, we find that social
value creation is about bringing the desired social change or creating social impact through addressing
social problems/issues, which include a range of impacts such as increasing awareness in the com-
munities, empowering the beneficiaries, providing socioeconomic benefits, bringing a change in their
perception, attitudes, behavior, and also changes in norms. Whereas, for the beneficiaries, their
perceived ‘‘value’’ is in getting various kinds of benefits provided by social entrepreneurs, and in
various positive changes/impacts in their lives brought in because of these benefits.
Based on the two perspectives, we identify and correlate social marketing objective and desired
behavior of each of the SEVs (see Table 2) and map the SEVs to social marketing elements. Later,
based on the analysis of cases, we frame propositions and substantiate our arguments by citing specific
instances from the cases.
Table 1. (continued)
Livelihood ‘SAATH,’’ Ahmedabad (Mr.
Rajendra Joshi, Founder)
‘SammaaN Foundation,’’
Patna (Mr. Irfan Alam,
‘KnidsGreen Pvt. Ltd.,’’ Patna
(Mr. Kaushalenrda Kumar,
Since the poor often have many
needs at once, SAATH
created one-stop centers,
through which slum residents
and those in vulnerable
situations had access to
services such as health,
education, affordable housing,
micro-finance and livelihood
options. Communities co-
invested with SAATH and the
donors, by paying for,
deciding and implementing
programs. All the programs of
SAATH are funded by the
government (60%), private
funding (30%), and
beneficiaries (10%). SAATH’s
one stop, integrated services
reached over one lakh slum
dwellers in Ahmedabad and
many more in the states of
Gujarat and Rajasthan
The idea at the core of
‘SammaaN Foundation’’ is to
organize a micro public
transport sector, i.e.,
Rickshaw Pulling, and convert
this potential sector into a
promising earning source,
thereby enhancing the
standard of living of the
families of the cycle rickshaw
pullers.Initially, SammaaN
Foundation started by giving
them rickshaws, uniforms,
bank accounts, identity cards,
and accidental insurance for
the rickshaws, rickshaw
pullers, and their passengers
as well. Later, it included
rickshaw-pullers’ health
insurance also. Through this
model, ‘‘SammaaN
Foundation’’ is able to provide
them access to finance,
insurance, and health care
services. It also provide their
children access to education
KnidsGreen aims to give equal
benefits to all its
stakeholders—farmers (small,
marginal, and landless [SMAL]
vegetable growers), the poor
vendors at the two ends of
the vegetable value chain, and
lastly, also the consumers. In
other words, its aim is to
benefit the farmers, vendors,
consumers and also generate
employment at the grass
roots level. He had put a
system in place which brought
together SMAL growers,
value adding intermediaries,
vendors and consumers on
one platform, and developed a
formal vegetable supply chain.
The government of India
adopted Kaushalendra’s
integrated and inclusive
model for vegetable value
chain and tried to replicate it
in the form of the ‘‘National
Vegetable Initiative’’ (NVI)
project in eight states of India
Note. SEV ¼social entrepreneurial venture; SNEHA ¼Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action; NH ¼Narayana
Hrudayalaya Pvt. Ltd.
158 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
Mapping of SEVs to the Social Marketing Elements (Six Ps)
Table 3 reports the mapping of SEVs to the six Ps of marketing identified in the first section. Table 4
presents the salient characteristics of the selected SEVs along with the social marketing focus areas
such as knowledge, attitude, and behavior. The mapping and characteristics lead us to develop the
analytical framework for marketing propositions.
It is therefore evident that the contextual factors play an important role in determining the market-
ing strategies of the SEVs, which include diverse things like socioeconomic background of the
beneficiaries and their struggle for getting sustainable sources of livelihood. SEV orientation for profit
versus not for profit also influenced their marketing strategies.
Table 2. Profile of Social Marketing Programmes (SMPs) in Selected Social Entrepreneurial Ventures.
SEV Social Marketing Objective Desired Behavior
SNEHA To improve the health status of urban slum
communities through women
To encourage slum community to access
government health care services and
make them aware about the preventive
health care services
Narayana Hrudayalaya
Pvt. Ltd.
To make quality health care delivery
affordable and accessible for the
common man
To encourage every common man to
access quality health care services
irrespective of their capacity to pay
Vaatsalya Healthcare
Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
To make quality health care services,
affordable and accessible to the
semiurban and rural population, and also
to create opportunities for medical
professionals in their own smaller home
To encourage people of semiurban and
rural people to access quality health care
services available, and to encourage
medical professionals after completing
their education to go back to their
hometowns to serve the people of small
towns and cities
Akanksha Foundation To provide the highest quality of education
to every child of the country
To encourage children of low income
families to enroll in Akanksha’s after
school center and full-time schools for
transforming their lives
Kathalaya To use storytelling as an educational and
communicative tool to affect change in
To promote government and private
schools to use storytelling as a tool to
teach different subjects to the students
BookBox Pvt. Ltd. To enhance reading skills and language
learning, ultimately promote a love for
reading by creating contents/animated
To encourage target audience to use
BookBox’s products for improving their
readings and learning abilities
SAATH To create inclusive societies by
empowering India’s urban and rural poor
by using market-based strategies
To encourage slum residents and those in
vulnerable situations to access services like
health, education, and affordable housing,
microfinance and livelihood options
SammaaN Foundation To organize rickshaw pulling sector and
convert this sector into a promising
earning source, and ultimately enhancing
the standard of living of the families of
cycle rickshaw operators
To encourage cycle rickshaw pullers to
earn sustainable livelihood and improve
their standard of living
KnidsGreen Pvt. Ltd. To create gainful and dignified
opportunities in self-employment for
vegetable growers, vendors and others
dependent on agriculture
To mobilize vegetable growers and
vendors to become part of formal
vegetable supply chain created by
KnidsGreen Pvt. Ltd.
Note. SEV ¼social entrepreneurial venture; SNEHA ¼Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action.
Singh et al. 159
Table 3. Mapping of Social Marketing Programs to the Six Ps of Marketing.
SEV Target Audience Product/Service Price Place Promotion Positioning Partnership
SNEHA Slum communities Different benefits (counseling
services and vocational
training) and opportunities
related to various issues
like health, gender-
discrimination and others
Counseling service free of
cost, nominal fee for
vocational training
Different slums of
Community meetings in
slums, women groups
in slums. Targeted at
both care seekers and
public health systems
positioning, barrier-
focused positioning
Govt., NGOs,
Pvt. Ltd.
Patients from all income
Affordable and quality health
care service delivery to the
masses. Augmented
product—Yashasvini micro
health insurance program,
issuing identity cards to the
insured persons,
Differential pricing (three-tier
fee-structure for patients
from different income
groups) and free for
extremely poor patients
and patients insured under
Govt. micro health
insurance program
Narayana hospitals
(India and
Rural Camps,
Newspapers, TV
Media-Satyamev Jayate
Benefits-focused, barrier-
focused positioning
NGOs, Govt.,
donors, and
Pvt. Ltd
Middle income category,
i.e., excluding upper
30% of the rich and
bottom 30% of the
poor (semiurban and
rural population)
Delivering affordable and
quality health care services
in two- and three-tier cities
of India
Below market rates and free
for patients insured under
Govt. micro health
insurance program
A network of
hospitals (17) in
Andhra Pradesh
and Karnataka
Radio, NGOs,
Newspaper, Village
meet, health
awareness camps
positioning (setting-up a
chain of no-frills-low-
price hospitals in small
cities and towns in
Children from lower
background residing in
Providing the highest quality of
education and mentoring,
augmented services—art
program, sports,
scholarship program, social
leadership program, etc.
All the services free of cost Mumbai slums,
after school
centers (47),
schools (9) in
Mumbai and
Shops for selling the
products made by
students of the Art
Program, Exposure
visits, through CSR
activities of corporate
Barrier-focused, benefits-
focused positioning
NGOs, Govt.
Kathalaya Children of all categories Effective and innovative
teaching and learning
method, focused on story-
telling, short- and long-
term certificate courses in
Differential pricing (Govt. and
private school). Story
telling training at market
rates. Minimizing
nonmonetary costs such as
search cost, convenience
Public and private
schools in
Andhra Pradesh
and Karnataka
Fairs, personal selling in
Govt. NGOs,
BookBox Pvt.
Children of all categories Subtitling services for mass-
literacy and reading
developments, Digital
‘‘AniBooks’’ (Animated
Books) in more than 25
Indian and foreign
languages. Applications for
I-pad, I-Phone, I-Pod,
Anroid Mobiles, Mobile
Phones, Akash Tablets.
Audio-video digital forms of
stories are available in CDs,
DVDs, and VCDs
Some free content on online
outlets, Paid products such
as CDs, DVDs, etc.
Online (YouTube,,
Outlet in
Digital promotion
through Internet,
YouTube, etc.,
Table 3. (continued)
SEV Target Audience Product/Service Price Place Promotion Positioning Partnership
SAATH Slum residents, who have
vulnerable access to
health, education,
housing and livelihood
One-stop center for providing
services for integrated slum
development such as
providing vocational
training (Ummeed, Urmila,
and Udaan), access to micro
credit, access to health
services, and creating
livelihood opportunities
Nominal prices for various
Slums and
schools in
Gujarat and
Pamphlets, meetings in
slums, door to door
Benefits focused
positioning, barrier-
focused positioning
Cycle rickshaw puller Rickshaw (traditional as well as
innovated battery
operated), uniforms, bank
accounts, identity cards,
accidental insurance to the
rickshaw pullers and
commuters though
insurance firms, access to
finance, health care services
in through mobile
‘‘SammaaN Swasthya
Vertical’’ (Mobile Van
equipped with doctor, and
other health facilities).
Augmented products—
commission on each
product sold on rickshaw
by rickshaw pullers like
water, cold drink, fruit
juices, etc.
Reducing transaction costs and
administration costs by
acting as a mediator
between target and service
providing partners (banks
and insurance companies).
Commissions from banks
and insurance companies
Patna city, Noida
Village meetings,
community meetings,
Word of Mouth
Pvt. Ltd.
Vegetable growers (land
less and marginal land
holder), vegetable
vendors, and farm
laborers of Bihar
Actual product- creating
market in their villages.
Now, the farmers do not
need to go to market to sell
their products. Innovated
augmented products-
‘‘Samriddhii Green AC cart’’
for selling fresh vegetables,
‘Pusa Zero Energy Cool
Chambers’ for storing
vegetables, and ‘Poly
Houses’ for cultivation of
non-seasonal products.
Product selling services free of
costs, 100 percent subsidy
for Pusa Zero Energy Cool
Chambers through State
Govt. of Bihar, and market
price for Green AC cart
Rural areas in and
around Patna
Village meetings,
hoarding, bill boards,
door to door in
housing societies,
Sammriddhii vegetable
positioning (to benefit
the farmers, vendors,
consumers and also
generate employment at
the grass root level)
Note. SEV ¼social entrepreneurial venture; SNEHA ¼Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action; CSR ¼corporate social responsibility; NGO ¼nongovernmental organization.
Table 4. Salient Characteristics of SEVs.
SEV SM focus area Salient Characteristics
SNEHA KAB Changing the behavior of the community by empowering women to look at
their own health, their children’s health and also their families’ health
Use of existing government health facilities to minimize the cost and make the
effective use of available resources (Focus on strong partnership with
Narayana Hrudayalaya
Pvt. Ltd.
AB Making quality health care facilities affordable and accessible to the masses.
Pricing based on segmentation
Use of technology to connect with people from remote areas and also from
different countries (process innovation)
Use of economies of scale
Use of popular media to promote
Vaatsalya Healthcare
Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
BProviding quality health care services in small towns and semiurban cities in India
Identification of target audience was the key (excluding upper and lower
30% of the population) to make his business financially viable
After identifying needs in the town, focus on identifying doctors first from
local area and then creating opportunities for him/her in that area
Use of economies of scale
Akanksha Foundation KAB Providing highest quality of education and opportunities to the children of
low income families in order to maximize their potential and transform
their lives
Focus on strong partnership with government to use existing resources
fully, and volunteerism
Kathalaya KAB Replacing traditional way of imparting knowledge with new and innovative
ways of learning, especially through storytelling
Monetaryand nonmonetary pricingto impact large no of childrenand teachers
BookBox Pvt. Ltd. KB Using innovative way of distribution—YouTube
Contents available on website for free download to make it accessible to
children of all income classes
Partnership with NGOs to make it available to disadvantaged children
Making contents available in all form of gadgets for sale to make it profitable
SAATH KAB One-stop center for providing all the services of integrated development of
Building multiple within and cross-sectors partnerships with multiple
Focus on using exiting government infrastructure and market based
strategy in all the interventions
SammaaN Foundation KAB Providing a wide range of services (e.g., health, insurance, and finance) to
improve quality of life
Diversifying revenue sources—product sale, manufacturing, advertisement
and financing
Product innovation
KnidsGreen Pvt. Ltd. KAB Creating gainful and dignified opportunities in self-employment for the
families dependent on agriculture, especially disadvantaged and landless
vegetable growers
Creating market at village level and reviving vegetable supply chain
Focus on product innovations to benefit farmers, vendors, and consumers
Partnership with government, banks, insurance companies to ensure
model’s success
Capacity building by providing trainings to the farmers
Branding an important element and use of segmentation for selling
Note.K¼Knowledge; A ¼Attitude; B ¼Behavior; SEV ¼social entrepreneurial venture; SNEHA ¼Society for Nutrition,
Education and Health Action; NGO ¼nongovernmental organization.
162 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
These contextual factors lead to specific challenges in hiring and retaining talents. To deal with
such challenges, they develop innovative marketing strategies. For example, the respective sectors of
operation in SammaaN and KnidsGreen, that is, cycle rickshaw and vegetable sector, respectively, are
considered as ‘‘taboo’’ in the Indian society. Jobs in these sectors are not considered as dignified jobs.
Irfan Alam, founder of SammaaN, mentioned:
Rickshaw sector is still a taboo. And many people feel that how lucrative my career would be. That’s the
reason that we literally discourage hiring ... you know ... very qualified and corporate type people. We
... now ... actually believe in nurturing talents. So, instead of going to centres of excellence like IIT and
IIM, we prefer somebody, local graduate or MBA from some local school, whose opportunity cost is not
very high because, whose opportunity cost is high, at the end of the day, not only for me, but for any billion
dollar company, retaining him is a difficult task.
Both the SEVs being based in the Indian State of Bihar, which has a long history of struggle of the local
people to get sustainable sources of livelihood, are subjected to complexities for this reason. Thus, in
Bihar, there is rampant employment of locals without having high educational qualifications, and who
are asked to market products and services being consumed in the communities, thus linking the rural
vegetable producers and urban consumers (in case of KnidsGreen) and cycle rickshaw pullers (in case
of SammaaN).
This aspect of our discussion reinforces the need for conducting a formative research and situational
analysis before designing marketing strategies. The role of contextual factors (including organizational
strengths and weakness and environmental opportunities and threats) is vital in deciding the campaign
purpose and focus (Deshpande & Lee, 2013). In the above-mentioned two cases of KnidsGreen and
SammaaN, factors like socioeconomic background of the beneficiaries, historical struggle of the
beneficiaries in getting sustainable sources of livelihood influenced the SEVs’ purpose of working
with them, that is, ‘‘providing sustainable source of likelihood’’ to target audience by unleashing
employment opportunities available in the traditional livelihood options like growing vegetables and
operating cycle rickshaw. On the other hand, the prevailing public perception about selected SEVs’
activities almost forced the entrepreneurs to engage local talent to market products and services.
Engaging locals not only addresses the issues of human resource (such as attrition, training, employee
engagement, and high labor cost) but also provides deeper market insight about the target audience’s
behavior as these locals come from the very population which forms ‘‘the market’’ for them. More
specifically, such human source strategies influence the development of products/services and promo-
tion strategies. For instance in case of SammaaN Foundation, hiring of local, experienced rickshaw
pullers helped in improving the traditional design of cycle rickshaw which is easier to pull for rickshaw
pullers as well as comfortable for the passengers. It should be noted that strategies armed with local
knowledge are likely to be more successful than the strategies without such an understanding (Minja
et al., 2001). Thus, we propose the following:
Proposition 1: Contextual factors determine marketing strategies of SEVs.
Our multiple-case analysis leads us to understand that irrespective of the profit orientation of the
SEVs and their operational sectors, and these SEVs to a reasonable extent depend on partnership and
networking with organizations and individuals. Not only do they maintain the existing networking and
partnerships to access resources during their initial years of operation, but they also develop multiple
new within and cross-sector partnerships and networks to enhance competencies and capabilities.
SNEHA, SAATH, KnidsGreen, Narayana Hrudayalaya (NH) Pvt. Ltd., Vaatsalya, and Akanksha have
been continuously developing partnerships with corporate, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs),
and government. Following a similar philosophy, NH has collaborated with Dr. Kiran Mazumdar
Singh et al. 163
Shaw (founder of Biocon) to establish a cancer hospital in Bengaluru to offer high-quality and
affordable cancer care facilities. NH also developed network with government to implement Yashas-
vini—micro health insurance program to support large number of poor people in the Indian State of
Recognizing the fact that the government has resources and facilities to provide greater access to the
people in remote areas, partnership with government has emerged as one of the major strategies to
maximize the depth and width of reach. Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation provides space to SAATH
for running vocational training to the slum residents of Ahmedabad (Gujarat). For all the cases,
‘Strategic alliances are an important source of resources, learning, and thereby competitive advan-
tage’’ (Ireland, Hitt, & Vaidyanath, 2002, p. 413). Social marketing literature reports upstream partner-
ships with the public, the media, and policy makers (Andreasen, 2006; Andreasen & Herzberg, 2005),
and downstream partnership exists with manufacturers and suppliers (Wallack, Dorfman, Jernigan, &
Themba, 1993). While SAATH has established upstream partnership with the Ahmedabad Municipal
Corporation, NH collaborated with Dr. Kiran Mazumdar Shaw for downstream partnership. This is
similar to the findings of Saini and Mukul’s (2012) study. Also, our literature review reports that
partnerships may occur concurrently at five levels, namely, intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional,
community, and public policy, and also it manifests in the social context of complex multiple
exchanges (Domegan, 2008). Hence, we submit the following proposition:
Proposition 2: Partnership and networking are major elements in all the SEVs.
The SEVs for our study focused on bringing positive changes pertaining to behavior, practices, or
perception of the people. SNEHA primarily engages in creating awareness and empowering the
community to bring about change, while others (Akanksha, BookBox, Kathalaya, Vaatsalya, NH,
SAATH, SammaaN, and KnidsGreen) are providing products and services, in addition to creating
awareness, to the target audience. Social entrepreneurs make efforts to solve long-lasting problems
with innovative ideas and create innovative products/services for the same. Generally, the community
or the target audiences does not have any information about such possibilities of these ideas or
products/services. Even if they are aware, they do not believe or accept such possibilities very easily.
In order to propagate their ideas and to create awareness about their products/services, SEVs deploy
community-focused, innovative, and integrated communication strategies. It is needed more in places
where the target audience is illiterate or less literate and located in remote or rural areas. SNEHA,
Akanksha, and SAATH, while dealing with the slum residents, conducted many community meetings,
including door-to-door meetings, and separate meetings for women, youth, girl children, and parents of
school children were organized for rapport building and understanding. Similarly, Vaatsalya and
BookBox used Radio as tool to communicate their message to the target audience in remote villages.
NH used Satyamev Jayate, a popular television program on Indian Television Channel, as a commu-
nication tool. Most of the SEVs (NH, Vaatsalya, Akanksha, KnidsGreen, and SAATH) developed
partnerships with NGOs for organizing community meetings and camps in villages or slums for
creating awareness, involving local volunteers for this purpose. It is evident from our study that
community-focused, innovative, and integrated behavior moderate their communication strategy.
Explicitly or implicitly, SEVs follow three principles of integrated social marketing communication
as proposed by Alden, Basil, and Deshpande (2011). These principles are consistency, integration, and
emphasis on behavior change. First, SEVs deliver their message consistently through different com-
munication mix such as community meetings, door-to-door meetings,radio,hoardings,andbill
boards. Second, promotion is integrated with other Ps of product, price, and placement (see Table
3). Third, in communicating the message, there is a clear focus on behavior change by urging target
audience to adopt the desired behavior. Literature also reports that emphasis on behavior change
communication has greater impact on the outcome of a social marketing program than just pushing
164 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
sales. Additionally, integrated behavior changes communication (IBCC) increases the effectiveness of
communication messages (Nair & Nair, 2012). Therefore, we make the next proposition:
Proposition 3: SEVs use community-focused, innovative, and IBCC strategy.
In nonprofit SEVs (Akanksha, SNEHA, and SAATH), we notice that the emphasis is on elimination
of monetary price and reducing nonmonetary prices in the services provided. Akanksha provides
services (after-school centers, full day schools, and other programs such as sports, leadership, art and
craft, etc.) to the students free of cost. SNEHA has created health awareness among the slum dwellers
free of cost, and they also provide counseling service free of cost while charging a nominal fee for
vocational training. SAATH asks for 10%to 25%contribution from the target audience for the
integrated slum development services such as vocational training, housing, and so on.
We find that nonprofit SEV combines donations, subsidies with the earned income (Kathalaya), and
hybrid (NH) uses differential pricing. NH for example has a three-tier fee structure for patients from
different income groups but no fees for the poor patients. It also provides services to the patients
insured under government micro health insurance programs like Yashaswini or Vajpayee Arogaya
Yojana. Kathalaya provides services free of cost to the students of government schools while charging
fee to the private schools. It also offers storytelling training to the teachers at a price. Not for profit
(SammaaN) acts as a mediator between target audience and service providing partners (banks and
insurance companies) and hence reduces the transaction and administration costs. For providing its
services, the SEV charges commissions to the banks and insurance companies.
For-profit SEVs (Vaatsalya, BookBox, and KnidsGreen) have adopted market-based pricing stra-
tegies with focus on maintaining high-quality and affordable cost. In some cases, products and services
are offered at reduced rate to the needy target audience. For example, Vaatsalya Hospital provides
health care to the patients insured under government micro health insurance schemes. BookBox while
selling products also provides few contents free of cost on Internet for those who cannot afford.
Similarly, KnidsGreen sells high-quality vegetables to the consumers at affordable cost with the help
of innovative method, Sammriddhii Vegetable Cart, to the vendors. At the same time, it also provides
supporting services like training (to vegetable growers) free of cost.
Overall, we observe that monetary and nonmonetary price strategies vary depending on nonprofit,
not-for-profit, or for-profit SEVs. However, irrespective of the SEVs’ type, pricing strategies are
influenced by ‘‘social equity’’ objective of pricing explained by Kotler and Roberto (1989). For-
profit SEVs follow ‘‘maximizing retained earnings’’ pricing objective without compromising on the
social equity. Hence, the related proposition is,
Proposition 4: The selection of monetary and nonmonetary price strategies depends on the
characteristics of particular target segment.
Our study reflects that in for-profit SEVs (Vaatsalya, BookBox, and KnidsGreen), technology
played a major role in innovating products/services as against nonprofit SEVs. Vaatsalya provides
advanced and high-quality health care with technological support, while BookBox offers innovated
products for enhancing the learning and reading abilities of children. It has innovated ‘‘AniBooks’’—
animated stories for children, with narration appearing on-screen as same language subtitles and
contents are created for iPads, iPods, tablets, mobile phones, androids, and so on. Similarly, Knids-
Green innovated a range of products to help the target audience by changing their current practices and
behavior. The major innovated products are Samriddhii AC Cart for vendors to sell fresh vegetables to
the customers, Pusa Zero Energy Cool Chambers for the vegetable growers to store farm fresh
vegetables without using electricity, and Poly Houses for vegetable growers to grow nonseasonal
products, and earn more. SammaaN and NH also use technology for innovating their services/products.
SammaaN has innovated battery-operated cycle rickshaw which is easier to ride and also more
Singh et al. 165
comfortable for the passengers when compared to the traditional heavy cycle rickshaw. NH uses video
conferencing for ‘‘telemedicine’’ that connects doctors/hospitals with the distant patients within and
outside India. However, in nonprofit partially funded venture (Kathalaya), we did not observe explicit
application of technology in products/services: availability of limited fund from external sources could
be a reason. Thus, we report a glaring contrast between profit-generating SEVs (Vaatsalya, BookBox,
KnidsGreen, SammaaN Foundation, and NH) and nonprofit-generating SEVs, which are fully or
partially dependent on external funding sources (i.e., SNEHA, Akanksha, SAATH, and Kathalaya).
Overall, technology acts as a great enabler in product and service innovation in for-profit SEVs
which are offered as affordable solutions to the problems at a price lower than other available solutions
in the market. More specifically, among the three levels of products in social marketing, technology is
critical for the products and the augmented product development. We also infer that technology plays a
major role in innovating products/services in profit-generating SEVs in contrast to the nonprofit SEVs.
Although communication on availability of such innovative products/services are important, in poor
countries, the target audience needs more than merely the ‘‘message.’’ The desired behavior change
does not take place unless the products/services are available for free of cost or at a reduced price
(Saini & Mukul, 2012; Smith, 2010). This is critical in developing countries like India where con-
sumers (target audience in social marketing) are highly price sensitive (Mukherjee, Satija, Goyal,
Mantrala, & Zou, 2012), so our fifth proposition,
Proposition 5: Technology plays major role in innovating products/services in context of
profit-generating SEVs as contrast to the nonprofit SEVs.
Case analyses reveal that the products/services of SEVs and promotion techniques are customized
to market the products/services in themselves. SE is thereby more of a contextual phenomenon, and the
process of social value creation is greatly influenced by contextual factors (Singh, 2013), and SEVs
operating in different contextual environment be it political, social, or economic, acceptance or
rejection of the products or services are highly influenced by those contextual factors. Therefore,
SEVs not only localize and customize their products/services according to the needs of the target
audience but also remain sensitive to the feedbacks. They continuously improve their products/ser-
vices based on those feedbacks. For example, SammaaN innovated battery-operated rickshaw and
further improved it based on the feedback and suggestions from rickshaw pullers and customers. It is
important to note that SammaaN regularly conducts such exercises to engage with the stakeholders.
Similarly, KnidsGreen improved Sammriddhii AC Cart with several versions. Also, Akanksha initially
started with ‘‘After-School Centres’’ for the children staying in slums and later, realizing their needs,
started full-fledged schools in collaboration with Bombay Municipal Corporation in Mumbai along
with the Municipal Corporation in Pune.
SEVs use combination of promotion techniques to draw the attention of different target groups. For
example, SNEHA, SAATH, and Akanksha conduct community meetings, and door-to-door meetings
in the slums. Vaatsalya aims to attract people from remote villages using radio, and NH and Vaatslya
also take help of NGOs to create awareness about their services. SammaaN and KnidsGreen frequently
conduct village/community meetings and door-to-door contacts, while NH and BookBox make exten-
sive use of telecommunication services for sales and promotion.
It is observed that relationships with both beneficiaries and stakeholders are important for SEVs
success. Hasting (2007) suggests that the use of relationship marketing in social marketing can help in
achieving social goals by focusing on target audience satisfaction as a key metric, building trust among
stakeholders and reinforcing commitment to them, and engaging and mobilizing priority target audi-
ence. The studied SEVs agree with the social marketing theory on consumer research and strategy
crafting. To understand self-interest of consumers, social marketers should first discover the motiva-
tion of target audience and then develop a thorough understanding (Hjelmar, 2005). As customers
166 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
become more self-centric, there is an increased requirement to understand and invest in motivation,
commitment, and trust (Hastings, 2006; Hjelmar, 2005). Andreasen (2002) advocates a robust con-
sumer research to achieve a cultural fit between consumer and marketing activities. Leo (2013) also
emphasized on application of customer orientation concepts in social marketing, hence our last pro-
position is,
Proposition 6: SEVs customize products/services and promotion techniques based on the
need of the local people.
Table 5 shows the reasons (or social problems) for which social ventures are created and social
marketing solutions are used by the SEVs thereof. Here, it is also important to report that in most of the
cases, social entrepreneurs do not use the term ‘‘social marketing strategy’’ or any other similar word to
explain the marketing-related activities they undertake.
Table 5 lists the areas of social marketing interventions, specifically under the social problem
context and shows a tentative framework. The proposed framework can guide social entrepreneurs
aiming to address similar social problems by unleashing the power of social marketing.
Conclusion, Implications, and Future Research
In this article, we have described the application of social marketing in SEVs. Based on the analysis of
cases, we have developed insights into the usage of social marketing solutions to the social problems
addressed by the SEVs.
Overall, this article has the following theoretical implications: First, we find that the contextual factors
such as socioeconomic conditions, literary, culture, and social fabric of the target audience, significantly
influence the social marketing decisions related to product, positioning, and promotion. Thus, social
marketing strategies are tailored to match the local requirements. Second, technology plays an important
role in developing appropriate products and affordable cost solutions to the target audience (the poor and
the needy). Technology also helps in distribution and delivery of the products/services hence influencing
the product and place strategies. By unleashing the power of technology, SEVs are able to cater to the
segments that were hitherto considered unsustainable with traditional business models. Third, customer
orientation is important in the social ventures irrespective of being nonprofit, not for profit, or for-profit.
Table 5. A Framework: Social Marketing Solution to Social Problems.
Social Problems (Reasons for
SEV’s Emergence) SEV Cases
Social Marketing Solution Used
by SEVs
Unavailability of services/products Vaatsalya, SammaaN, KnidsGreen,
Creation of innovative products/
Poor quality of existing products/
NH, Vaatsalya, Akanksha Creation of high-quality
products/services at
affordable price
Affordability problem (high price of
existing products/services)
NH, Kathalaya, SammaaN, BookBox,
Akanksha, KnidsGreen
Innovative products/services at
affordable price
Lack of awareness (regarding product
and services)
SNEHA Promotion (focusing on behavior
change communication)
Accessibility problem (target audience
remotely located, difficult to access
through existing system)
Vaatsalya, NH, SAATH, Akanksha, Place, distribution, and
Note. SEV ¼social entrepreneurial venture; SNEHA ¼Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action; NGO ¼nongovern-
mental organization; NH ¼Narayana Hrudayalaya Pvt. Ltd.
Singh et al. 167
Social marketing strategies of SEV are influenced by customer orientation wherein the entrepreneurs’
knowledge and experience, and formative research provide important inputs for implementing customer-
oriented activities of the designed social marketing strategy. Fourth, partnership is useful for the SEVs to
overcome resource constraints and to bring synergy in the efforts of several agencies working on similar
social goals. Partnership and networking are important and provide potential for growth of SEVs. Fifth,
entrepreneurial efforts are influenced by the social equity objective of pricing strategy. Irrespective of the
type of SEV (e.g., for-profit and not for profit), social equity remains relevant in guiding the pricing
strategy. SEVs can be sustainable or profitable by using differential pricing strategy. Finally, an addi-
tional P—‘‘people’’—adds to significant understanding on formative research, promotion of social good,
and delivery and distribution of products/services.
We have therefore attempted to contribute to social marketing literature with special emphasis on
situational analysis, product, place, and partnership (Deshpande & Lee, 2013; Leo, 2013; Saini & Mukul,
2012; Smith, 2010) emphasizing on technology, people, and social equity in pricing decisions of SEVs.
A social marketer should appreciate the differences in contexts, socioeconomic profile of the target
audience, and types of an SEV while designing social marketing program. This is pervasive irrespec-
tive of the social sector like health, education, and livelihood, as noticed in this study.
To summarize, this article provides a better understanding of current and potential application of
social marketing strategies in SE. Social entrepreneurs develop effective strategies to make them more
impactful in order to achieve social mission, which often align with social marketing principles. This
article also provides deeper insights into the strategies being adopted by specific types of SEV. This
may help social entrepreneurs to choose the appropriate strategies from a pool of available social
marketing strategies. Here, we acknowledge that the present study only concentrated on successful
cases of SEVs (founded by Ashoka Fellows), which is the limitation of this study. There is an equal
need to study social marketing strategies adopted by failed cases of SEVs so that the existing and
potential social entrepreneurs can learn from the mistakes. It would help them to select right and
possibly the perfect marketing strategies for their ideas and models.
‘Market orientation’’ has already been recognized as one of the key subconcepts in the concept of
SE (Choi & Majumdar, 2013). In this way, social marketing becomes very important aspect for the
SEVs. Recognizing its importance and the dearth of studies on this issue, conducting a large sample
study specifically to understand the social marketing strategies adopted by the social entrepreneurs
would be the interest area of research in future. In the present article, we have submitted propositions.
We suggest further testing of these propositions with larger set of data in future research. We studied
two emerging fields of academic inquiry—social marketing and SE—and established a sound basis for
further research in both the fields.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication
of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
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Author Biographies
Archana Singh is currently an assistant professor at the School of Management and Labour Studies at
the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Her areas of interest include social entrepreneurship,
social value, social change, and women empowerment. She has published research papers in interna-
tional journals including International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, International Journal
of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She can be contacted at or
Gordhan K. Saini is currently an assistant professor at the School of Management and Labour Studies
at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. His areas of interest include marketing strategy,
employer branding, and social marketing. He has published research papers in national and interna-
tional journals including Journal of Brand Management,International Journal of Nonprofit and
Voluntary Sector Marketing,Journal of South Asian Development,andEconomic and Political
Weekly. He can be contacted at or
Satyajit Majumdar teaches entrepreneurship and strategy at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mum-
bai. His research interest area is strategy processes and models of entrepreneur managed organization,
both business and social enterprises. His advises institutions and organizations on various academic
matters. Also he acts as expert reviewer of reputed peer-reviewed journals. He can be contacted at
172 Social Marketing Quarterly 21(3)
... Specifically, it is the exchange of immaterial -the operant resources -that matters for social marketing. It is also argued that interventions focusing on communication or merely advertising cannot be considered social marketing (Singh et al., 2015) and that a company aiming to provide effective initiatives must draw solutions on stakeholders from across the whole exchange systems (Lefebvre, 2012;Polonsky, 2017). As a result, the efforts employed by all relevant actors must be considered in three distinct but complementary approaches: upstream, downstream, and midstream (Polonsky, 2017;Russell-Bennett et al., 2013). ...
... It is not trivial, and I cannot create a cause for you, but it needs to make sense considering who you are" (Gamma). Moreover, interventions focusing on simply advertising a change cannot be considered social marketing nor expect to be well understood by all audiences (Singh et al., 2015). ...
... Corresponding literature (Hoeffler & Keller, 2002;Orazi et al., 2017;Singh et al., 2015;Tafesse & Kitchen, 2017) "strategy cannot solve hypocrisy issues." (Alpha's co-founder) ...
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The article explores the paradoxes that for-profit social ventures face when managing integrated marketing communications (IMC) and how they deal with and overcome the tensions that comprise these paradoxes. To investigate the nature of these paradoxes we integrated two theoretical perspectives: Service-Dominant Logic and Paradox Theory. While the former served as a lens to analyze social marketing phenomena, the latter is applied to comprehend and explore the underlying tensions within these social businesses in the communication setting. Following a multiple-case study based on interviews with founders, owners, and directors of Brazilian for-profit social ventures, we depicted how traditional marketing practices can lead both to problems and solutions manifested in the four IMC pillars (stakeholders, content, channels, and results). We recognize that properly managing stakeholders’ relationships aiming at the cocreation of value may result in valuable insights for dealing with tensions in all the four IMC pillars, and for achieving better marketing performance and higher social impact.
... Some prominent suggestions to address the challenges included; creating inclusive community based social development through the involvement of social divisions and local politics (Bradley, Chakravarti, and Rowan 2013), use of ICT (Dub e et al. 2020), and developing alternate commercial business models (Jones and Stead 2020). The role of technology and grassroots innovations in creating access for low-income individuals was highlighted in several studies (Singh, Saini, and Majumdar 2015;Hulikal Muralidhar et al. 2018;Sarkar 2019;Sharma and Kumar 2019). Pati and Garud (2011) identified that while innovations in marketing, product design, financial support, and distribution contributed to the success of a business model, an extremely devoted management and employee team who took pride in their work remained at the heart. ...
... Likewise, the main features of the socially embedded business model to achieve socio-economic success at the BOP centred on non-traditional partnerships, local capacity building, and a grass-root learning-based ecosystem for business model innovation (Goyal, Sergi, and Kapoor 2014;Jain and Koch 2020). Further, contextual factors like literary culture, socioeconomic conditions, and the social fabric of the target audience influenced the social marketing decisions related to the product offering, promotion, and positioning (Singh, Saini, and Majumdar 2015). In this, manner the social marketing strategies were tailored to match the local requirements. ...
Social enterprises (SE) have played a prominent role in overcoming social problems in society and supporting sustainable development. In line with global trends, there is a growing interest of business firms, policymakers, and scholars in and engagement with SEs in emerging economies, such as India, as a promising and viable mechanism to address varied, complex, and widespread social development problems. In the wake of the increasing engagement of scholars and businesses, it is crucial to collate, review and synthesise scholarly research to develop a holistic understanding of SE operation in a developing economy set up. This article presents a systematic literature review of scholarly research on Indian SEs. The study analysed 101 peer-reviewed articles published over the last three decades, elaborates the evolution of research, presents a business model canvas of Indian SEs, extends the understanding of the interplay of value systems of society, growth of social entrepreneurship culture, and emerging market economies. The scholarly research is classified into six core research themes, major findings are reported and research gaps are identified to provide directions for future research.
Purpose The entrepreneurial marketing (EM) literature has grown rapidly during the last decade, yet much is left undiscovered. This paper aims to conduct a bibliometric analysis and text mining of the EM domain to provide trends in previous EM research to address this issue. Future avenues for EM research are provided. Design/methodology/approach Using the Scopus database, a bibliometric analysis and text mining are conducted with EM articles published between 1976 and 2020. Findings The paper reports the most frequently published and cited authors and their co-author networks. Journals which contain these articles are included with country data, subject areas and use of author keywords related to the EM topic. Frequencies of keywords and newly-emerging keywords in every three-year period during the past 12 years are also examined. The findings suggest that future researchers should explore the subtopics of EM education, legitimation, entrepreneurial networking and social media/digital marketing within the EM domain. Originality/value Bibliometric analysis and text mining are relatively new methods with which to study the EM research domain, allowing for analysis of emerging trends over the past 12 years.
Ayushman Bharat is a flagship programme of Government of India and has been much publicised; however, the extent of its translation to the ground level has not been documented. A study was conducted to assess the implementation and satisfaction of the AB-PMJAY scheme in the inpatient department of AIIMS, New Delhi. Data were collected from January 2019 to June 2019. The sample size was a universal sample, and therefore, all the beneficiaries who availed the services at AIIMS, New Delhi were enrolled. A total of 120 patients were enrolled in the study. The mean age of the participant was 36.37 years, about 45.83% of the participants were illiterate and 69.17% resided in the rural area. A total of 88% of patients did not face any problem in availing the scheme, while 18% of the patients were asked to purchase medications from outside. Patients were highly satisfied with the ease and benefits of availing the scheme. The government should examine the reasons why some medications are being purchased from outside, and a contingency fund may be given to the hospital to prevent people from purchasing the medications from outside.
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Sivil toplum kuruluşları için yeni finansal kaynaklar üretme imkânı sağlayan sosyal girişimcilik ile STK'ların farkındalık ve yaygınlaştırma kapasitesini geliştiren sosyal pazarlama, popüler iki konsept olarak uygulama alanını genişletmektedir. Araştırma çerçevesinde STK'lara katma değer yaratacak bu iki yeni uygulama sa-hasına ilişkin İzmir ilinde sosyal hizmet odağında faaliyet yürüten STK'ların farkındalık seviyesinin ve uygulama kapasitesinin ölçümü hedeflenmiştir. Araştır-ma çerçevesinde sivil toplum yöneticileri ile derinlemesine mülakatlar gerçekleştirilmiş ve elde edilen veriler nitel analize tabi tutulmuştur. Yapılan analiz sonucunda sosyal girişim işletmesi olan STK'ların sosyal girişimcilik bağlamında yeterli ve tutarlı bilgisi olduğu görülmüştür. Ancak sosyal girişim konusunda deneyimi olmayan STK'ların sosyal girişim hakkında teorik bilgiden de yoksun olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Bunun yanında sosyal girişim sahibi STK'ların da destekleme mekanizmalarından yoksun olduğu ve aktif sosyal girişim ağlarından yeterince faydalanamadığı anlaşılmıştır. Araştırma bulgularına göre söz konusu sonucu yaratan en büyük etken, sosyal girişimler için özel olarak yetiştirilmiş insan kaynağının bulunamamasıdır. Sosyal pazarlamanın STK yöneticileri tarafından daha çok "halkla ilişkiler" ve/veya "savunuculuk" olarak algılandığı tespit edilmiştir. Söz konusu bulguların sosyal girişimi olan ya da olmayan STK'lar nezdinde bir farklılık arz etmediği görülmüştür. Bu sonuçlara göre İzmir ili özelinde STK'lara yönelik sosyal girişimcilik ve sosyal sorumluluk konulu eğitim programlarının düzenlenmesinin ve STK'ların bu alanda yetişmiş nitelikli insan kaynağı ile desteklenmesinin büyük önem taşıdığı anlaşılmaktadır. Anahtar Kelimeler: Sosyal hizmet, sosyal girişim, sosyal pazarlama, sivil toplum kuruluşları. Abstract Social entrepreneurship, which provides the opportunity to generate new financial resources for non-governmental organizations, and social marketing, which improves the awareness and dissemination capacity of NGOs, expand the field of application as two popular concepts. Within the framework of the research, it was aimed to measure the awareness level and implementation capacity of the NGOs operating in the social services in Izmir, regarding these two new application areas that will create added value for NGOs. Within the framework of the research, in-depth interviews were conducted with civil society managers and the obtained data was subjected to qualitative analysis. According to the results, it has been seen that NGOs that operate social enterprise businesses have sufficient and consistent knowledge in the context of social entrepreneurship. However, it has been determined that NGOs that do not have experience in social enterprise also lack theoretical knowledge about social enterprise. In addition, it has been understood that social enterprise NGOs lack support mechanisms and cannot sufficiently benefit from active social enterprise networks. According to the research findings, the biggest factor creating that results is the lack of qualified human resources for social enterprises. It has been determined that social marketing is perceived more as "public relations" and/or "advocacy" by NGO managers. It has been observed that the findings in question do not differ in terms of NGOs with or without a social enterprise. According to these results, it is understood that implementation of training programs on social entrepreneurship and social responsibility for NGOs in the province of Izmir and supporting NGOs with qualified human resources trained in this field are of great importance.
A considerable number of contributions at the intersection of social media platforms and social entrepreneurship has been witnessed over the past decade. The multi-disciplinary nature of current literature necessitates integrative insights on the topic. We thus undertake a two-pronged approach – bibliometric analysis followed by systematic review – to map the extant literature in a structured, objective, and quantitative way. We contribute to the literature as we (i) offer a classification of the literature in three clusters, namely ‘social media platforms, social collaboration and social marketing’, ‘social media platforms and crowdfunding, and ‘social media platforms and crowdsourcing’; (ii) analyze recent research development in each cluster, methodological development, countries co-authorship and evolution of research in the area; and (iii) propose a conceptual framework -accompanied by research propositions- that provides an overview of the literature at the intersection of social media platforms, various social entrepreneurial practices and their influence on the social enterprise performance. Our review culminates with numerous impactful research avenues for scholarly progression in the area. From a practical standpoint, this review integrates scattered findings into one body, allowing the practitioners and policymakers to discern the role of social media platforms in dealing with emerging societal problems and increasing operational efficiencies of social enterprises (SEs). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review of its kind, offering unique perspectives at the nexus of social media platforms and SE’s performance.
Background Corporate social marketing (CSM), as a type of corporate social initiative, is considered to be the most effective tool for creating social good through behavioural change. However, the relevance and benefits of CSM in the business context are largely unknown. The understanding of ‘the business case’ of CSM initiatives can provide useful insights to practitioners in this field. In this paper, we study the boundary spanning benefits of CSM in the area of employer branding. Research Questions This research aims to answer one major question: Do CSM campaigns play any role in building an organization’s employer brand? If yes, then how? Further, two associated supplementary questions include (i) how do managers perceive the use of CSM campaigns during campus engagement initiatives? (ii) how do job seekers perceive the use of CSM campaigns in campus engagement initiatives? Methods We use a qualitative research approach to answer the above questions. Using a purposive sampling method, we interviewed 6 managers who manage and 13 management students who attended campus engagement initiatives. The research was carried out in an emerging economy context, namely India, which has had several successful CSM campaigns and is home to the youngest working population, particularly millennials. Results The study shows that CSM leads to three major employer branding outcomes – increasing employer awareness, enhancing employer attractiveness and differentiating an employer from other competing organizations. Students prefer employers who provide them opportunities to work for society and are even willing to accept a lower pay in such organizations. Managers revealed the importance of showcasing CSMs during campus presentations and confirmed the relevance of social causes in employer branding initiatives. Recommendations for Practice The study offers useful insights to human resource managers on the role of CSM campaigns in creating employer awareness and attracting talent during campus engagement. We recommend that CSM campaigns be leveraged during campus engagement sessions for achieving differentiation in a competitive talent market. Lesser-known employers can use CSM campaigns for increasing employer awareness among potential student recruits. Organizations may proactively design and implement CSM campaigns, consistent with their values and mission, for the positive spill-over effects it can yield for their employer brand. The study aims to contribute to the CSM literature by studying the boundary spanning role of CSM in employer branding.
The tourist destination does not only connote a geographical space but also a system comprising services, facilities and infrastructure. Therefore, to create attractive destinations, a multifaceted set of products and services needs to be developed and marketed. Destination marketing organisations (DMOs) play an instrumental role in the marketing of destinations. However, some DMOs, especially those in emerging economies, are confronted with many challenges. Emerging economies have some huge tourism potentials, yet there are many challenges that militate against their destination marketing activities. This introductory chapter provides a review of the key concepts and issues relating to destination marketing in emerging economies. The concepts of tourist destination, destination marketing, destination marketing mix, DMOs and emerging economies are reviewed, followed by an overview of the prospects and challenges of destination marketing in emerging economies.
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Wilcox and Cameron [2009:5] explained that people often define public relations by some of its visible techniques and tactics such as public in a newspaper, a television interview with an organization spokesman, or the appearance of a celebrity at a special event. What people fail to understand is that public relations is a process involving many subtle and far-reaching aspects. Public relations include research analysis, policy formation, programming communication, and feedback from numerous publics. Its practitioners operate on two distinct levels, as advisers to their clients or to an organization’s top management and as technicians who produce and disseminate messages in multiple media channels.
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Social entrepreneurship could be considered as a hybrid model with; profit and non-profit actions, that bleared the traditional boundaries among the public, private, and nonprofit categories, and simultaneously, affordable solutions for societal issues. herein the hybrid package of the "charity and commercial business" at the same, will lead to social enterprises that become prominent economic and social contributors among the globe. Moreover, social marketing refers to the application of the marketing concept catering the social problems with innovative answers. In that light, the objective of this paper is to systemize and organize the contemporary knowledge on social marketing from the social enterprise research context to identify the knowledge gap. Herein; (1) Citation analysis, and (2) Thematic analysis has been conducted to discover core themes within the context. Research articles were selected from well-reputed databases; Web of Science, Social Science Citation Index, and Google Scholar, during the period of September-November 2020. Thematic analysis was conducted, and five parental themes have been developed, (a) Issues within the social marketing context, (b) Social Marketing strategies, (c) Social marketing and organization, (d) Social enterprise dualities, and (e) Implications of the social marketing. Study findings will provide the future research direction for empirical analysis.
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Social marketing uses the principles and techniques of commercial marketing by applying them to the complex social context in order to promote changes (cognitive; of action; behavioral; of values) among the target population in the public interest. The advent of Internet has radically modified the communication process, and this transformation also involved medical-scientific communication. Medical journals, health organizations, scientific societies and patient groups are increasing the use of the web and of many social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google, YouTube) as channels to release scientific information to doctors and patients quickly. In recent years, even Healthcare in Italy reported a considerable application of the methods and techniques of social marketing, above all for health prevention and promotion. Recently the association for health promotion "Social marketing and health communication" has been established to promote an active dialogue between professionals of social marketing and public health communication, as well as among professionals in the field of communication of the companies involved in the "health sector". In the field of prevention and health promotion it is necessary to underline the theme of the growing distrust in vaccination practices. Despite the irrefutable evidence of the efficacy and safety of vaccines, the social-cultural transformation together with the overcoming of compulsory vaccination and the use of noninstitutional information sources, have generated confusion among citizens that tend to perceive compulsory vaccinations as needed and safe, whereas recommended vaccinations as less important. Moreover, citizens scarcely perceive the risk of disease related to the effectiveness of vaccines. Implementing communication strategies, argumentative and persuasive, borrowed from social marketing, also for the promotion of vaccines is a priority of the health system. A typical example of the application of social marketing, as mentioned in the manuscript, is the campaign to promote the proper practice of HPV vaccination through the use of effective and cost-saving communication strategies.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the field of social marketing. The field needs to evaluate what works, and more importantly for it to prosper and remain relevant, it must discover and incorporate concepts and techniques from other disciplines that are aligned around core ideas of people‐centered and socially oriented. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews new insights and understandings from modern social marketing practice, social innovation, design thinking and service design, social media, transformative consumer research, marketing theory and advertising practice and develops a model for transforming social marketing thought, research and practice. Findings – A three dimensional model is presented that includes: scope – co‐creation, conversations, communities and markets; design – honoring people, radiating value, engaging service and enhancing experiences; value space – dignity, hope, love and trust. Originality/value – The presentation weaves together a set of ideas from different disciplines that together strengthen the social marketing approach and provide a broader set of outcomes and perspectives that can be incorporated into work in this field.
The application of marketing to the promotion of social causes was proposed a decade ago. The authors position social marketing as an approach to social change, describe its evolution, and review social marketing applications and assess their impact.
Can marketing concepts and techniques be effectively applied to the promotion of social objectives such as brotherhood, safe driving, and family planning? The applicability of marketing concepts to such social problems is examined in this article. The authors show how social causes can be advanced more successfully through applying principles of marketing analysis, planning, and control to problems of social change.
- This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.
The first proposed presentation is a paper co-authored by Julie Battilana, focusing on how imprinting at founding influences paradoxical performance tensions between social and economic goals faced by mature social enterprises. Investigating the nature and development of these paradoxical tensions in a growing social enterprise, Marya Besharov offers to paint a rich and dynamic picture of how the social enterprise and its leaders managed issues around hiring, growth, and leadership. Rolf Hoefer, delving into Battilana et al.'s argument about the criticality of the founding phase, plans to zoom into how nascent entrepreneurial actors build and maintain productive social networks over time to advance their social business ventures. Finally, Peter Roberts aims to provide a broader perspective by discussing the promise that his ongoing, large-scale data-collection effort for a new database holds for scholars interested in conducting research within the context of social entrepreneurship. • Building Productive Networks: A Longitudinal Study of Nascent Entrepreneurial Actors • Presenter: Rolf Lorenz Hoefer; INSEAD • Harnessing Productive Tensions in Hybrid Organizations • Presenter: Julie Battilana; Harvard U. • Testing Ideas About Social Entrepreneurship: The Case for a Comprehensive Program • Presenter: Peter W Roberts; Emory U. • Sustaining Paradoxical Tensions over Time: A Longitudinal Study of a Global Social Enterprise • Presenter: Marya L. Besharov; Cornell U. • Presenter: Wendy K. Smith; U. of Delaware
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into what social marketers see as trends, issues, and opportunities emerging within social marketing globally. Design/methodology/approach A global online survey was conducted among social marketing professionals who were invitees and pre‐registrants attending the Second World Non‐Profit and Social Marketing Conference. The 15‐minute survey was fielded from March 15‐30, 2011. Findings Respondents agree that social marketing is at a critical turning point in driving personal behavior and social change around the world. Many success stories lay the foundation for social marketing, but much remains to be done to realize its promise, including better marketing of its proven capabilities. Social marketers see the immediate future as ripe with opportunities for broadening the focus and applications of social marketing and realizing the promise of a growing and dynamic social marketing movement. Emerging developments also are expected to include the expanded importance of digital and social media, community and audience engagement, and public/private partnerships and corporate participation. Practical implications Findings underscore the success of social marketing and its growing importance globally. They point to the need to continue to evolve the science and art of social marketing, reflecting strong standards of practice while encouraging creativity and innovation; broaden its applications; better evaluate, package, and marketing proven benefits; and organize and strengthen professional organizations, training and development opportunities, and integration with and within related disciplines and fields such as environmental studies and public administration. Originality/value The survey is believed to be a unique, current assessment of social marketers across the globe, including varied professional backgrounds.