What is it?

Having a broad idea of what you aim to do, why, and with what audience, this defines how long it will take, and the support you will need.

It looks at your own organisation, checking that the direction in which you would like to move is consistent with other organisational strategy and priorities, and that senior staff have a broad appreciation of what will be involved.

Why do this?

If the social marketing effort does not already have the backing of your organisation, and in particular senior management support (such as the director of public health), then you are unlikely to proceed much further.

How might you do this?

  • Convene a meeting of the main people who you expect to be involved, agree the broad direction in which you want to go, and gauge the level of awareness, knowledge and commitment of senior staff
  • If you feel there may be issues or challenges, implement a plan to appraise senior managers of what you are planning to do and assess their response
  • Decide what support you will need from within your own organisation, and possibly from key stakeholders, in order to get things moving
  • Consider setting up a workshop or presentation that senior staff can attend which sets out the challenge that you want to address, how a social marketing approach can help, how long it might take and, crucially what it could cost. You may want to contact the NSMC about running a masterclass for senior managers


  • You may find that senior management do not fully understand social marketing, and therefore do not understand the incremental added value of such projects, or the additional time and funding required, compared to a typical communications campaign


  • A confidence across the core team that you have done some basic up front planning
  • Senior management who are aware and supportive of the social marketing effort

Intended Outcome

  • A team that is focused and comfortable that the basic building blocks are in place
  • Senior support and backing (from the PCT chief executive, the director of public health, or the PCT’s communications lead, for example) for the team that will be carrying forward the social marketing intervention
  • A realistic appreciation by senior staff of how long a social marketing project might take and of how much it is likely to cost