Public Sector Advertising: A cut too far?

Uploaded by CranfieldSoM on 14.11.2011

>>Steve Macaulay: We are going to examine the issue of public sector marketing. This
is in the context of public sector marketing budgets being slashed considerably.
Now we have got somebody in the studio today – Paul Baines – who is an expert in political
marketing. Paul, how do people with that kind of limited budget now, get the message over
and spend their money wisely?
>>Paul Baines: Well, just to give some understanding of how limited that budget is the Central
Office of Information – the government body that deals with advertising and develops the
budgets for public sector advertising – has slashed the budget by about 90%. So what we
are seeing is a substantial reduction in the amount of money made available by government
to support effectively social marketing initiatives.
These social marketing initiatives range all the way from encouraging people to eat five
vegetables and fruit portions per day, to encouraging safe driving – not using mobile
phones or not speeding – and that sort of thing.
So these cuts in budgets are designed, of course, to help the coalition claw back and
pay off some of the deficit and that is understandable. But at the same time, there is probably a
lack of recognition in my view that actually some of that money is incredibly well spent.
>>Steve Macaulay: So things like encouraging people to have flu injections, for example?
>>Paul Baines: Yes, health promotion is a component of social marketing. The thing about
social marketing is it is all about driving behaviours; so it is about changing target
audience behaviours, getting them to do something different from what they were doing before.
A good example, and this is an area that has been refunded, I was saying that the budget
has been cut by 90%, this particular area still gets its funding and that is the Department
of Transport’s Think Campaign, which is designed to encourage safer driving behaviours.
Now, people do genuinely die if that money is not spent because the accidents and so
on that occur would, to some degree, occur any way in some cases, but wouldn’t occur
in other cases because people have watched the video material or seen the adverts in
the newspapers or magazines and so on, and changed their behaviours as a result.
So the key thing about these social marketing campaigns is that they change behaviours,
not attitudes – and that is fairly fundamental. The problem is that many of these behaviours
are entrenched and it is quite hard to change them with just a piece of advertising; but
stopping the advertising or the promotion altogether is probably the wrong move.
>>Steve Macaulay: So, if we get down to basics then, and you were advising these people with
a much reduced budget, what do you believe they should be doing?
>>Paul Baines: Well, what they should be doing is planning their campaigns a lot better.
The problem that many marketers have is that they put a lot of money into communication
and very little into the research associated with that communication. So they tend to underspend
on research and spend much more on the communication. That is a bit like shouting, Steve. So you
don’t know whether your message is quite right, but yet you put it out and you get
to lots of people and you get the right times and so on, but are you saying the right thing?
Well, you only know that if you use research to determine that.
So I think measuring the effectiveness of marketing communication is fundamental in
this new environment – absolutely fundamental. It was always important, but now it is fundamental.
So I would say, spend a little bit more on the research side and reduce the amount of
budget proportion on the communication.
But what I would also say is it important to have a process for measuring out what behaviour
it is that you want to change; understanding up front what that behaviour is that you want
to change. And having some sort of hypothesis for how that behaviour, of how your intervention
of the communication what impacts that will have on the behaviour and monitoring that
along the way. I think that is absolutely imperative.
>>Steve Macaulay: So I started off by saying how do you spend money wisely? That is target
it carefully, do your homework and then spend that very carefully and monitor the results.
>>Paul Baines: Yes, but also have some idea about this behaviour that it is you want to
change. So how is this behaviour – it is usually a negative behaviour in social marketing,
so in the health promotion side it is eating too many fatty foods or eating too much more
generally, not exercising enough. The behaviour there that you are trying to change is not
exercising enough or eating too many fatty foods, so how do you change those behaviours?
What messages do you need to get across to people to get them to change those behaviours?
So doing that research up front is absolutely fundamental so that you can then change that
behaviour rather than just the attitude.
>>Steve Macaulay: A good point; thank you very much, Paul.
>>Paul Baines: Thank you.