Use marketing to improve health, say experts

May 18, 2006

Health services should borrow marketing ideas from big companies like Nike and Coca-Cola to improve people's health, say experts in this week's BMJ.

The concept, known as social marketing, applies commercial marketing strategies to social good and has already been shown to be effective in changing health behaviour.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States all have social marketing facilities embedded high within their health services, and the UK government is about to develop the first social marketing strategy for health in England.

Studies show that social marketing campaigns are successful at the population level, for example in tackling alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

And healthcare professionals have a crucial role in developing and implementing these projects. For example, the West of Scotland cancer awareness project, designed to encourage disadvantaged people with symptoms of bowel or mouth cancer to seek advice more quickly, involved over 2000 healthcare professionals.

Like commercial marketing, social marketing should aim to build ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with us, say the authors. For example, stop smoking services could offer a Tesco-style loyalty card to successful quitters so they could persuade friends and family to use the services and be encouraged to think about their other health behaviours.

For decades, the health sector has watched as big companies have used marketing to wreak havoc on public health, write the authors. Social marketing enables us to fight fire with fire.

And health professionals can help by reinforcing social marketing messages during their direct and indirect contact with patients, they conclude.


Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to