Identify intervention options
What is it?
Thinking about the options required to achieve the desired behaviour change. A good starting point is to develop a proposition:
Developing a ‘Proposition’ – how to move from ‘current’ to ‘desired’ behaviour
that is, a working assumption of what is most likely to help achieve and sustain the desired behaviour (an attractive offer the target audience values over and above any other competitive offers).
This proposition needs to be based on a rounded understanding of the target audience, including the impact of competition and insights into their knowledge, attitudes and so on.
You also need to think about the broad strategic make up of the intervention.
This can be represented as the intervention mix (see below) which covers five possible elements: inform, educate, service, design and control.
Additionally, you should consider the product or service that you will be promoting at a price and in a place that will be attractive to the target audience.
Collectively, this is often referred to as the marketing mix (see below) or the 4Ps. This will be developed further in the next development stage, but you may find it useful to start to think about it here. In addition, it might be useful to consider three additional elements (or Ps) of the marketing mix which are specifically relevant to services: people, process and physical evidence.
Why do this?
To influence behaviour significantly, and sustain this over time, a range of approaches is usually required. By reviewing many potential activities and the best mix of elements, alternative interventions can be adopted or discarded as appropriate. These can then be assessed using a variety of checklists and tools and appropriate interventions.
How might you do this?
Establish the approaches, tools and techniques which are available. It might be helpful to begin by checking the team’s knowledge and understanding of the elements which could be involved in the intervention.
For example, the five primary elements of the intervention mix, the four elements of the marketing mix (supplemented by the additional Ps which are relevant to services).
The Intervention Mix
Although there are many potential approaches, these are likely to be based on one or, more likely, a combination of the five main elements illustrated below
Design: Creates the environment and procedures that support self and community development, and safety
Inform: Informs and communicates facts and attitudes, and may seek to persuade suggested behaviours
Control: Using the power of the law and regulation as a body of rules and having binding force to incentivise and penalise the behaviour of individuals, organisations and markets for social good
Educate: Informs and empowers critical reasoning, creates awareness about the benefits and develops skills for change and personal development
Service: State and other collectively funded products and services provided to support mutually agreed social priorities
The Marketing Mix (the 4Ps of marketing)
PRODUCT – PRICE – PLACE – PROMOTION
Key questions are: ‘What are people actually buying? What is the ‘core benefit’ for the target audience? For example, are they buying health or a new lifestyle and how can the product be augmented by additional benefits, services and features?'
For commercial marketing, the role of price in exchange is usually clear. The monetary cost is often the main focus (although there may be other costs, such as opportunity or psychological costs). Monetary costs may also be incurred when adopting social marketing products – buying nicotine substitutes or healthier food. But unlike commercial marketing, little or no cost is required from the actual consumer. However, the concept of sacrifice is a key one - what is given up to acquire a product/service/idea. In addition to monetary cost, there are non-monetary costs of effort (including emotional effort), time and risk.
Place refers to distribution and therefore the ways in which consumers access the services they require. Convenience is a major factor influencing their decision, and lack of convenient facilities can be an important barrier to adopting or sustaining behaviours.
Promotion plays a major role in both commercial and social marketing. It is often the most visible element to the consumer and other stakeholders. It includes a wide range of communications, including advertising, personal selling, public relations, sales promotions, direct mail and so on. Decisions include: what type of communication to adopt; which media to use; the nature of the message; and the method of evaluating success
Since the 4Ps of marketing were established, there has been a debate about their relevance and application to social marketing context. Some people have proposed adding other Ps into the mix.
Additional Ps of social marketing
The people providing the service are the ‘product’ or ‘brand’ from the customer’s perspective. The helpfulness, knowledge and concern of staff is a major determinant of whether consumers return to the service or act on the information provided.
Process involves service delivery and operating systems. Because services are consumed as they are produced, the consumer is involved in the production process, so the impact on the consumer should be assessed. For example, is it clear what they should do or where they should go? The process may be complex (and possibly overwhelming) from the consumer’s perspective: for example, services delivered in a hospital or surgery. Helpful signage is useful and personal attention from staff can put the consumer’s mind at rest. An important element of process for many services is the waiting time involved.
This includes: the appearance of staff (which can provide important indicators and messages, for example of professionalism, approachability, cleanliness); logos, signage, graphics and correspondence; and the physical environment. It covers exterior elements (such as signage, parking and landscape) and interior elements (such as design, layout, equipment and decoration). The ambience of the environment (music, smells and colour schemes) has an impact on the mood of customers, their perceptions and consequent behaviour. The layout has an impact on the degree and nature of social interaction and conveys messages about status and the consumer’s role.
Many other Ps have been identified and each can help in reflecting on what needs to be addressed.
Identify relevant approaches for the specific target audience and the desired behavioural change
Consider which of the five domains of the intervention mix your possible intervention might draw on and start to develop an initial plan for your marketing mix. Ensure your marketing mix is based on good research and insight into what currently works for the target audience and where the problems lie, for example: convenience of location and opening times of clinics.
Consider different options. There will not be a single solution. Try and get the team to generate as many options, and combinations of options, as possible
As the name implies, the marketing mix is exactly that – a mix of elements or components which work together. One important criterion is consistency – the various elements must work together and not provide conflicting messages.
Consider the proposals against relevant criteria.
For example, is the suggested marketing mix:
- Relevant to the target audience
- Consistent, across each component of the mix
- Feasible (within existing resources)
Proposed changes can then be discussed with a range of stakeholders so as to identify potential problems or issues before further development takes place
Additionally, a further resources assessment should be undertaken to assess the feasibility of the intervention, including a consideration of the factors identified in previous analysis, such as the SWOT and Asset Mapping analyses.
Assess the potential impact of each proposed element on the target audience.
It might be useful to assess proposed approaches to the marketing mix in terms of:
- How will this impact on the costs of the desired and problem behaviours, specifically in terms of money, inconvenience, risk, opinions of others, self-perception and so on?
- How will this impact on the benefits of the desired and problem behaviour - financial savings, lifestyle, opinions of others, self-perception and so on?
- How will this strengthen/enhance incentives for the desired behaviour?
- How will this reduce/remove incentives for the problem behaviour?
- How will this strengthen/enhance barriers or blocks to the problem behaviour?
- How will this reduce/remove barriers or blocks to the desired behaviour?
Complete a broad checklist to take the proposition to the development stage.
When considering the mix of activities, try to focus on how to increase the target market’s perception of value.
Continually check that the target audience will be receiving a coherent and consistent message from all elements of the intervention.
Read the 'Social Marketing Interventions for Awareness and Early Presentation of Cancer Guide'.
A proposition around which to develop the intervention.
Plans for the possible mix of activities that the intervention might involve.
A clear understanding of how the proposition is expected to drive the target audience/s behaviour.