|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Healthcare Child development Nutrition Marketing plan|
The proposed social marketing plan is aimed at reversing the growing and high prevalence of childhood obesity in the State of Alabama. This will be achieved through physical exercise intervention- by ensuring that the children attain the recommended duration, type, and level of physical exercise per day. Because the social marketing plan is aimed at addressing the problem of childhood obesity, the target population is children aged between 2 years and 19 years old. The choice of this age group is based on the definition of childhood obesity- obesity in children and teenagers up to the age of 19 years (CDC, 2019; WHO, 2017; WHO, 2020).
Apart from children, the target population will consist of parents. The rationale for choosing parents is that empirical evidence shows that they influence their children's participation in physical exercise (Chiarlitti & Kolen, 2017; Wilk et al., 2018). This is because they act as role models on physical activities (Coto et al., 2019; Schoeppe et al., 2017). Teachers will also be recruited into the program because of their crucial role in promoting physical exercise in children as evidenced in past empirical research (e.g., Cheung, 2020; Mullins et al., 2019). Lastly, community health workers will be incorporated into the program because they are vital in teaching parents and teachers on the recommended level and duration of physical exercise in children.
Description of Social Marketing Plan
Communication technology will be used to disseminate information regarding the appropriate level and duration of physical activity in children. In the contemporary world, characterized by high internet penetration, one of the most effective communication technology tools is social media. In the proposed study, three social media platforms will be used- Facebook and YouTube.
Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world, with 2.3 billion users (Ortiz-Ospina, 2019). It is also crucial to emphasize that people of all age groups use Facebook. In the United States, 69% of adults use Facebook (Perrin & Anderson, 2019). It is also worth noting that 79% of Facebook users are aged 30-49 years, 68% are aged 50-64 years, and 46% are above the age of 65 years (Perrin & Anderson, 2019). The majority of Facebook users visit the site daily. Specifically, approximately three-quarters of Facebook users access the platform daily, with more than 50% of them visiting the site multiple times a day (Perrin & Anderson, 2019).
YouTube will also be utilized in the proposed social marketing plan. It has been reported that like Facebook, YouTube is used by many people. In the United States, 73% of the adults used this social media platform (Perrin & Anderson, 2019). More than half of YouTube users (51%) visit the video-sharing platform daily. Similar to Facebook, YouTube is used by people of all age groups. Perrin and Anderson (2019) reported that 91% of YouTube users are aged between 18 and 29 years, 87% are aged between 30 and 49 years, 70% are between 50 and 64 years, and 38% are above the age of 65 years.
A brochure refers to an informative paper document meant to advertise products, services, and ideas (Pazasis, 2019). It is usually folded into a leaflet, pamphlet, or template. Brochures are used to promote an organization or a program and its products or services. It informs potential users of the program or its products and services of its benefits. They can be placed in high traffic areas, given out personally to target individuals, or placed inside newspapers. Brochures are aimed at extending readers' knowledge regarding a specific topic. A good brochure is capable of capturing the attention of potential users. It is one of the most preferred ways of promoting products or services because they can be kept for future reference.
Flyers are leaflets or piece of papers which contain information printed on one of its sides (Jackson & Angliss, 2017). They are useful in promoting specific products or services (Krotoszynski et al., 2018). The term promotion refers to the act of making potential users of a product or service aware of its existence. Therefore, the information found in the flyers is aimed at changing consumers' behavior towards a product or service. That is, it is focused on ensuring that the target population increase uptake or use of the product or service. Flyers are usually printed in many colors to make them attractive to the users.
A public service announcement (PSA) can be defined as messages or advertisements communicated through media (newspapers, radio, or TV channels) and where the media do not charge any money for the ad (AICPA, 2019). The primary role of PSAs is to raise awareness on a particular issue among the masses or to change the attitude of the public towards a specific topic.
The Appropriateness of the Tools to the Target Population
Each of the chosen tools is appropriate for the target population in their unique ways. One of the benefits of using Facebook in the proposed social marketing plan is its ability to reach many people. This is because the platform is used by the majority of people of all age groups. Facebook is also appropriate for the target population because it allows users to share relevant physical exercise materials. It has also been established that Facebook advertising increases users' engagement in a particular product or service as measured by views (Parackal et al., 2017). A combination of shares and likes is one of the most effective ways of advertising on Facebook (Parackal et al., 2017). Lastly, Facebook is useful for the proposed program because it allows for two-way communication and discussions (Kim & Yang, 2017). For example, through two-way communication, participants will get an opportunity to ask questions or clarification on a physical exercise intervention.
YouTube is also appropriate for the target population because it is used by the majority of the people platform (Perrin & Anderson, 2019). Therefore, advertising physical exercise intervention through this platform will reach most of the target individuals. Additionally, YouTube videos are interactive and are highly likely to increase participants' engagement in the physical exercise topics being discussed. Moreover, YouTube allows users to comment on the appropriateness of the content, make suggestions, and ask questions.
Brochures were chosen for the proposed social marketing plan because of their convenience. Because they are small, they can fit anywhere- from pockets to handbags. Their small size means that it can also be inserted in school magazines and local newspapers. Therefore, they are more likely to reach most of the target population. They are also easy to design and cost-effective to produce. Because of this, it is possible to provide enough for the target population at a minimal cost.
Like brochures, flyers are easy and inexpensive to produce. This is because it does not need a professional designer to make. Therefore, they can be produced in masses at a low cost. Consequently, flyers with useful information about physical exercise in children will reach all the target audience. Lastly, PSAs were chosen for the proposed social marketing because it can reach the majority of the target population and free to use. Additionally, a good PSA can motivate the audience to change their behavior.
Ethical Issues in Dissemination of Information and Communicating Messages
Many ethical issues should be considered when using the raised platforms for sharing and communicating health messages to the target audience. First, when using social media (Facebook and YouTube), the privacy and confidentiality of the users should be maintained (Denecke et al., 2015; Gough et al., 2017). Health promoters must ensure that users' private data and information are secure and will not be accessed by third parties or used for a purpose other than health promotion.
Another ethical issue in health promotion is autonomy or freedom of choice (Guttman, 2017). Only participants who voluntarily agree to participate in the social marketing campaign should be recruited. This implies that a health promoter should acknowledge an individual's right to make choices regarding his or her participation in the marketing plan based on his or her beliefs and values. A participant should also have the freedom to withdraw from social marketing at any time he or she feels so. Moreover, non-maleficence should be maintained when disseminating health information (Sherlaw, 2016). This implies that the messages communicated to the target audience should not do not inflict psychological or emotional harm on them.
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