Social Marketing

An Impact Strategy for School Libraries in Times of Change


  • Barbara Immroth University of Texas at Austin
  • Bill Lukenbill University of Texas at Austin



Social marketing


Social marketing as a concept was developed in the 1970s to help improve overall society and to bring about positive social changes. The concept of social marketing was first presented by Zaltman, Kotler, and Kaufman, in their 1972 book, Creating Social Change. This paper addresses the role of social marketing with specific examples of how social marketing associated with educational research can be applied to school libraries. Social marketing is based on general marketing principles and strategies aimed at selling products and services to consumers but with the purpose of improving society by providing socially relevant information; changing existing actions; and improving individual or group behaviors, attitudes or beliefs; and reinforcing desired behaviors. Since the 1970s, social marketing has been used widely in the United States to promote a variety of pro-social behaviors including: reducing smoking, reducing drug abuse, preventing heart disease, promoting contraceptive use, and promoting organ donation. In recent years the U.S. government has used social marketing to encourage enrollment in the controversial Affordable Health Care program. These marketing approaches are theoretically encased in well-conceived educational and public information programs and management. This paper will provide examples of social marketing research methods and results as used by the presenter in school and public libraries youth services. The paper will likewise highlight resources helpful to school librarians in designing and implementing social marketing strategies.