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public health, public health practice, public health tools, social marketing, Turning Point



  1. Pirani, Sylvia MS, MPH
  2. Reizes, Tom MPH


Social marketing can be an effective tool for achieving public health goals. Social marketing uses concepts from commercial marketing to plan and implement programs designed to bring about behavior change that will benefit individuals and society. Although social marketing principles have been used to address public health problems, efforts have been dominated by message-based, promotion-only strategies, and effective implementation has been hampered by both lack of understanding of and use of all of the components of a social marketing approach and lack of training. The Turning Point initiative's Social Marketing National Excellence Collaborative (SMNEC) was established to promote social marketing principles and practices to improve public health across the nation. After 4 years, the Collaborative's work has resulted in improved understanding of social marketing among participating members and the development of new tools to strengthen the social marketing skills among public health practitioners. The Collaborative has also made advances in incorporating and institutionalizing the practice of social marketing within public health in participating states.