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The Girl Effect

I was going through some overdue Social Marketing ListServe reading today, when I happened to stumble across this Girl Effect video in one of Nancy Lee ‘s responses.  She came across it by reading a Nicholas D. Kristof article in the New York Times (Build, Boast, Sell). The debate on the ListServe revolved around the differences between Social Marketing and traditional Marketing. This video (created by Nike) illustrates how re-branding the approach on poverty (note that re-branding is a marketing technique) could have a powerful effect on how we deal with it. I only wish this great ListServe discussion had occurred on a more modern platform as it is now lost in email archives.

Just like Nicholas points out in his NYT article, I tend to agree that the millions of passionate people working in international development should begin to take a “marketing” approach to the issues they work on. When “marketing” is seen as a process, the way it should be, then it can have the same powerful effects on poverty issues as it does on convincing millions of people to spend 3 months salary on an engagement ring.

Let’s take a look at my favourite short and  long definitions of marketing from the Business Dictionary:

Short Definition:

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large

Long Definition:

Marketing is the management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. As a philosophy, it is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P’s: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy. Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School’s emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) “Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs.”

Of course the problem is that in most cases marketing is seen a dirty word (associated with selling) as the majority of people that call themselves “marketers” or have “marketing” in their job description don’t actually practice the above. In reality, they are often only performing the marketing “promotion” element instead of the full strategic process, which primarily involves researching, addressing and understanding the needs of your target audience.

Here’s the “Girl Effect” video in case you missed the link at the top of this post:

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