Social Marketing Conference inspires action

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More than 200 attendees gathered at the 24th Social Marketing Conference, June 15-18, in Clearwater, Fla., hosted by USF College of Public Health’s Department of Community and Family Health.

Social marketing has been vital to planning numerous public health interventions, according to Dr. Carol Bryant, Distinguished USF Health Professor.

“It’s a very sophisticated way to plan interventions to bring about social change,” she said. “USF is the leader in this country in teaching it and it has gained quite a bit of traction, in fact, the Healthy People 2020 document now includes objectives for social marketing.”

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The USF College of Public Health has been providing training on social marketing since 1998. (Photo by Bobbi Rose)

According to Bryant, since 1998, USF has been involved in teaching various coalitions and state health departments on bringing about social change on a wide range of topics, from preventing drinking among middle school students to encouraging citrus pickers to wear their safety glasses.

The 24th Social Marketing Conference drew attendees from all over the globe to gain hands-on experience in the growing field.

Attendees also had the option to take part in the conference’s two-day Social Marketing Training Academy, which is described on the conference website as a “concentrated product for thirsty learners.”

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Attendees take part in a hands-on team building activity during the training academy portion of the event. (Photo by Bobbi Rose)

As part of the training academy, attendees learned how to segment an audience base, come up with behavioral goals, and conduct the research necessary to understand the ideals of a specific target audience.

“Social marketing is not social media or advertising,” Bryant said. “The conference helped them to use what I find to be a very sophisticated planning tool for bringing about change.”

The event also included presentations from practitioners working in the field, providing real world examples of how social marketing works.

Ten different countries and territories were represented at the event, including scholarships awarded for attendees from Brazil and Nigeria.

“The conference delivered on my expectations and more­­­—professional development, fresh thoughts, new ideas, networking, etcetera,” said Sonayon Ajose, an attendee from Nigeria and recipient of a scholarship. “I also was thrilled to meet in person with quite a number of social marketing professionals I have followed online and eulogized their works over the years.”

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Scholarship recipient, Sanoyon Ajose (far right), and other attendees of the event. (Photo by Bobbi Rose)

Scholarships were provided by the various organizations involved in social marketing who were present at the event.

The conference is offered every other year and will be presented again in 2018.

For more information regarding the event, visit the conference’s website.

Story by Anna Mayor, USF College of Public Health

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