Giuseppe Fattori (ESMA Chair Representatives and Volunteers Committees)
I have been following Social Marketing for many years, from Brighton 2008 to Thessaloniki 2022, and I have seen a widespread growth of SM (at different rates) across Europe.
My two pennies’ worth on three topics:
- “Wicked problems” are changing: the world and consciences are changing fast, even in Thessaloniki “environmental sustainability” is emerging … possibly now seen as environmental justice
- The change of Professionals: the pioneers (academics) had to create a theoretical corpus, in Thessaloniki, often at the end of the presentation, in the back of the room, I heard “and so in practice?” So, especially after Thessaloniki, we should orient ourselves systemically towards the thousands of people working in the field. Theoretical research on small realities is important, but we should get into national programming where we talk about ‘One health’, getting our hands dirty, without being the SM Taliban.
- The pandemic has accelerated the crisis of congresses, questioning their economic survival: it is becoming expensive and tiring to travel, there are major problems at airports, even to get to Thessaloniki. We should find a balance/integration between presence and distance.
What did I bring home from Thessaloniki?
The future? #SocialMarketingInPractice for One health … and hybrid congress.
Boris Chapoton (ESMA Member and Volunteer)
Sometimes, when working on our own in an office (or more recently, at home), we can feel secluded and we can start mumbling into our heads “why”, “if”, “how” and/or we can question the purpose of our work. Although we might have the internet window to look at and to follow what is happening elsewhere, the interaction with others could be missing and the isolation could get the best of us.
Going to a Social Marketing Conference (European, Worldwide or other) is a guarantee to get a nice shot of optimism and trust in what we do/intend to do regarding social marketing. Personally, I have left the 2022 ESM conference with a positive and “Yes We Will” feeling for many different reasons among the two under I’ll share with you.
The first feel-good reason came from Fiona Spotswood whom confirmed I wasn’t going insane: indeed, the marketing and social change marketplace is wide and maybe getting wider and wider with different approaches as “Transformative Consumer Research”, “Transformative Services Research”, “Public Policy Marketing”, “Sustainability Marketing” and so on. Yet, we have to learn how to navigate within this flow of different approaches and make ourselves heard “not to miss the party”. Fiona Spotswood recommends us to “collaborate across ‘marketing and society’ subfields”, to “draw on innovative theoretical traditions”, to “pursue ‘top’ journals by contributing to ongoing conversations” and perhaps foremost, to “never lose sight of social marketing goals – of relevance (challenge-focused), and to achieve social change”. Yes, Marketing within the Society is complex but we can, we need, and we will make ourselves heard!
Another reason that I have particularly appreciated was given by Christine Domegan whom has pointed out the complexity of our world and the environment we are living in, interfering with our decisions and our actions. In the literature and maybe in our practice, we do not insist enough on the exchange part that should be integrated within our social marketing strategy. While looking at the exchange logics, we also have to consider the multi-level community perspective we are evolving in – the micro, the macro and more particularly the in-between meso level. Such approach has reminded me of ones used in public health and made me confirmed that Yes, social marketing is about building bridges and we will get a better understanding of our world and human behaviours by collaborating with each other and by learning from each other.
I have been able to find an echo to these presentations among some other work that has been brilliantly presented by the other speakers throughout the conference and during informal exchange during the breaks.
After two years or so of postponing the conference; being able to see peers and colleagues and to discuss social marketing with them face to face has been really appreciated. It was a real pleasure to feel the social marketing community made of different nationalities, different specialties, different background, different level of experience and many more other differences, gathered around a common goal.