Hi Rachel, Thank you for thinking about this as an issue. I’m not sure I clearly understand your research problem, even though you make some good points. In other words, I don’t quite buy the premise that the vagueness of social marketing is a problem that needs to be solved. That doesn’t mean it isn’t, I just am not seeing enough rationale in your poster. In terms of your findings, I’m not sure I understand. Are you presenting a framework where charity, justice and advocacy are distinctly different from each other? Because using one of your examples, advocacy for sexual harassment would be integrally tied to justice. The advocacy could be seeking justice so are they the same or different?
Hello, Marie. Thanks for your feedback and questions. Research regarding first-order assumptions about the meaning of terms like “justice” and “advocacy” compounded by assumptions regarding how they apply to the concept of marketing is both hard to understand and hard to explain. I can appreciate the fact that the conceptual vagueness of “social marketing” may not be a necessary or addressable problem for everyone. It is true, conceptual clarity can often be addressed by clearly defining terms at the onset of written literature reviews and conversations. However, I have found that when using terms like “social marketing” or even “ethical marketing,” people in conversation often skip clarification and assume everyone is on the same page or when written, the definition lacks clarity or support which makes it difficult to build on the research for these concepts. To answer your first question, yes. I am presenting a conceptual framework in this research based on my content analysis of a number of author’s points of view on “social marketing” and the closely related term “ethical marketing” and “corporate social responsibility.” I analyzed the author’s political, economic, and moral rationale in their definition and use of the terms. I noted three themes that I found to be distinct conceptually: justice, charity, and advocacy. This does not mean that an organization is not or cannot use more than one of these concepts concurrently within a creative social marketing strategy campaign. According to my findings, and as you noted, an organization may be engaging in justice and advocacy, but they may also exclusively invest in “justice” according to my Table 1.0 research findings. For example, if an organization’s social marketing strategy addresses sexual harassment by tangibly investing in things like education for their internal stakeholders, this would be considered “justice” but not “advocacy.” I recognize and agree that acts of justice are also generally an act of advocating for a specific person or group. However, based on my findings from the authors’ use of the term, “advocacy,” in this research, was more nuanced to specifically mean an organization’s intangible positioning through actions like promotion, endorsement, or co-branding for specific causes. The conceptual framework separates what is voiced or promoted intangibly by an organization leveraging their brand or reputation from what an organization does tangibly through actions like paying premiums for raw material and labor which internally creates an operational business process and situation where justice is more likely to flourish. The distinctions have to do with the type of resource (e.g. tangible or intangible) and the stakeholder an organization emphasizes (internal or external) within the social marketing strategy. It also has to do with an organization’s decision to take action quietly or promote “advocate” it more loudly by leveraging their brand and reputation. Thank you again for your time and interest! I hope this response helps to add clarity.
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