Social Marketing and Value for Money

The National Social Marketing Centre (NSMC) today launched the first of a series of Value for Money assessment tools for social marketing. The first one on smoking is here.

It has been successfully piloted with a smoking social marketing project in North West England. Pilots for obesity, breast-feeding and alcohol projects are currently in progress. A bowel cancer project pilot is about to begin.

The NSMC argue the tool will have two important uses:

  • It will help commissioners plan for proposed social marketing and behaviour change programmes by estimating the likelihood that they will provide value for money.
  • It will also evaluate whether social marketing and behaviour change interventions were value for money on completion.

Where the tool seems to go beyond previous measurements on Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is through including wider societal costs as well. NSMC make the point that, “designers of stop smoking programmes will be able to find out the money saved by individuals from stopping smoking, the cost to the local fire service, the extent of gains to employers from reduced employee absences, and so on.”

The other reason for its importance is that it has been developed with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Health England and a consensus on the methodology has been reached across these organisations and NSMC , so it will be the most credible assessment tool to date.

The tool is released at an important time. The consultation over the Public Health White Paper has just concluded. TCC’s detailed submission to that is available here. This made the case for taking account of people’s motivational values when developing public health programmes.

The Public Health Outcomes Framework that is likely to emerge will require serious evidence in order of local authorities to secure extra resources via the Public Health Premium, “which will reward progress on specific public health outcomes”. The detail on how this will work is dependent on the outcome of the consultation, but the documents do say: “Driven by a formula to be developed together with key partners, the premium will represent a new approach to fighting health inequalities. The intention is for the formula to recognise that disadvantaged areas face the greatest challenges, and will therefore receive a greater premium for progress made.”

If this new process is to work, then those working in the field of social marketing will need clear and widely accepted tools to measure outcomes to contribute to the progress required. This new tool from the NSMC is thus an important contribution to improving measurement and we look forward to seeing more tools being developed for specific public health challenges.

Charlie Mansell is Research and Development Officer for The Campaign Company. If you want to see what your own primary values set is, why not take the simple Values Questionnaire here.

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2 Responses to “Social Marketing and Value for Money”

  1. TCC at the World Social Marketing Conference « The Campaign Company’s Blog Says:

    […] National Social Marketing  Centre (NSMC) took people through their new VfM tools, that we recently blogged about as well as reporting on lots of great social marketing experiences from across the world – […]

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