Thesis subject: Effective Strategic Marketing for a project encouraging handwashing.
Key Areas: consumer behavior, strategic marketing.
Problem Statement: Children are often reluctant to wash hands, a necessary concept for safety and health, and there is little age-appropriate and relevant marketing and products to encourage such behavior.
Young children are prone to acquiring infections via tactile contact by touching surfaces and then their face and mouth. In the context of COVID-19 and other infections, children are often carriers due to frequent hands-on-contact. Proper handwashing among children can reduce acute respiratory illness by at least 20% (Jess & Dozier, 2020). Recent studies suggest success of handwashing with soap promotion using motivational rather health or fear-based messaging. The motives for children targeting play and curiosity in acquiring the habit and skill of handwashing with soap has been shown to be up to 4 times more effective than traditional approaches (Watson et al., 2019).
There are several theoretical approaches relevant to the subject. First is social marketing, which seeks to integrate marketing concepts with approaches to influence behaviors in individuals and communities for greater social good. Social marketing is often faced with structural barriers as well as individual resistance to change (Basil et al., 2018). Another concept to consider is gamification theory, a popular approach that has been increasingly applicable in marketing, which implements game design dynamics or mechanics to engage individuals in non-gaming activities. Combined with social marketing, it can support behavior change and intrinsic motivation for use of certain products or services (Mitchell et al., 2017). Finally, strategic marketing theory is involved which is the process of planning and developing strategies which allow to maintain a competitive edge within a niche, which is the foundation of modern marketing and economies that seek to leverage resources to create, communicate, and deliver offerings with value for the consumer (Varadarajan, 2017). The biggest gap in literature is that these theoretical approaches have not extensively been used for children. Furthermore, there are few elements of combination of the theoretical approaches at achieving the relevant objective.
- Expanding on the application of strategic marketing approaches and other theoretical concepts in a niche market on the demographic of children.
- Social marketing utilized more expansively in a commercial project rather than public initiatives, but with similar goals of encouraging behavior change in consumers.
- Consideration of gamification elements in the context of encouraging public health behaviors and use of hygiene products.
- Developing effective social marketing strategies with an emphasis on individual behavior.
- Use of marketing tools and communication strategies effectively for a difficult demographic.
- Addressing behavior change through marketing strategies that can be practically applied to other health-related aspects in social marketing and public health.
Basil, D. Z., Diaz-Meneses, G., & Basil, M. D. (2018). Social marketing in action: Cases from around the world. Springer.
Jess, R. L., & Dozier, C. L. (2020). Increasing handwashing in young children: A brief review. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 53(3), 1219–1224.
Mitchell, R., Schuster, L., & Drennan, J. (2017). Understanding how gamification influences behaviour in social marketing. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 25(1), 12–19. Web.
Varadarajan, R. (2017). Advances in strategic marketing and the advancement of the marketing discipline: the promise of theory. Journal of Marketing Management, 34(1–2), 71–85. Web.
Watson, J., Dreibelbis, R., Aunger, R., Deola, C., King, K., Long, S., Chase, R. P., & Cumming, O. (2019). Child’s play: Harnessing play and curiosity motives to improve child handwashing in a humanitarian setting. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 222(2), 177–182. Web.