The Institute for Government's Michael Hallsworth has written an insightful piece on social marketing for Public Service Magazine. The Mindspace author hits the nail on the head, supporting what we at The NSMC have always said: social marketing is much more than communications, but it suffers from a popular misconception that it's just fancy comms. Its potential as an enabler of the government's Big Society vision, among other things, is distorted by this perception.
Social marketing is a tool which, like any other, can be used well or poorly. Taking a social marketing approach doesn't guarantee results, just as adjusting 'choice architecture' doesn't guarantee behaviour change on the cheap. But since it is a process, it can help you to understand what is achievable given your resources, where you need to focus them for the greatest impact, and how you can ensure your target audience's needs are met.