Thinking like a marketer can’t hurt if you have an idea to sell. And isn’t that what all activists are doing – selling ideas? You should vote for this. You should vote against that.You should buy a hybrid You should just go car-less. Going vegan will be good for you.

Social change is often a matter of behavior change, which is a matter of selling a meaningful number of poeple on the need to do something or stop doing something. Successful selling of ideas, policies, and technologies calls for some basic knowledge of marketing and advertising tools and principles.

Here are some of the basics:

1. Go where your audience is -Why advertise the benefits of vegansim in an environmental magazine? Sure, your ad will speak to a few people but not as many as could be reached in a cooking magazine or in a women’s lifestyle magazine.

2. Promise a concrete benefit. Knowing that installing six compact flourescent bulbs will eliminate x pounds of greenhouse gas emissions in y years is mildly interesting, but ‘d rather know how much money I can save. Sellers and promoters of “green” technologies have largely gotten this point, but others have not. What is the specific¬† benefit I’ll get from contributing to the battle against human trafficking?

3. Know what motivates people. Read a book on the psychology of selling.

4. Study and use proper copywriting techniques. The art of writing to sell isn’t terribly complicated. Many titles on writing persuasive copy exist: Writing Web Copy That Sells (Maria Veloso) and The Copywriter’s Handbook (Robert Bly) are two good titles.

5. Think strategically about your audience and your message. Read Robin Hood Marketing by Katya Andreasen to learn how to do this.

Of course there are many other books on advertising and marketing that you could read. Check out any big bookstore in your city, or any of the big online bookstores.

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~ by chetdavis on September 28, 2007.

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