SDL and Social Marketing: Can they play together?

What does the article examine?
The article asks the question if social marketing can benefit from the theories and approaches based in Service-Dominant Logic (SDL).

Which concepts are discussed in the article?
The researchers firstly offer an overview of the evolution of social marketing – from it’s commercial foundation to present day criticisms. They show, how social marketing evolved and increasingly incorporated service marketing approaches. They then introduce service dominant logic and debate how key aspects of SDL could potentially advance and contribute to social marketing.

Social Marketing increasingly incorporates service marketing approaches Click To Tweet

Where is the data from and what methodology is being used?
The article is a review article, and as such is build on existing literature rather than specific data.

What are the main outcomes?
The authors clearly point out that SDL is not a panacea for social marketing: social marketing has, after all, evolved from adopting commercial techniques into a well-defined marketing discipline, with its own frameworks and theories. Nevertheless, and bearing in mind the constantly evolving nature of social and general marketing, the authors argue that SDL ideas can make a useful contribution to social marketing thinking.

SDL can't just be 'taken over' in social marketing - but they can learn from each other Click To Tweet
What are the implications and why should you read it?
It is really not a big step to move from social marketing, via relationship marketing and services marketing to a SDL perspective. Of course, selling tangible products will always be different to creating social and behavioural change, but nevertheless, there are some interesting arguments when SDL and social marketing are combined.

As such the article is probably a good starting point to explore the similarities and differences further: for example for researchers looking for theoretical groundings for their work, and for social marketers aiming to incorporate different perspectives.

As the article is easy to read, though dealing with relatively complex theoretical ideas, it could be an interesting reading for advanced post-graduate classes – particularly if SDL has been previously discussed. It could then be a good foundation for a discussion about the differences between SDL applied in social and commercial settings. Similarly, the article could be used to encourage debate in a social marketing class about adoption and adaptation of commercial/other marketing theories.
Full Reference: Luca, N. R., Hibbert, S., & McDonald, R. (2015). Towards a service-dominant approach to social marketing. Marketing Theory, 1470593115607941-. http://doi.org/10.1177/1470593115607941

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