UNIT 4 – Markets & Marketing

Marketing for social innovation

What is marketing? In a competitive world, as clients, consumers and users, we usually have choice. Indeed, often, there are so many options that we are confronted with which is often referred to as a tyranny of choice, which is sometimes welcomed, but oftentimes not.

To simplify lets think about Marketing as two parts.


Markets are the actual places and spaces from which you can actually transact a purchase or a sale. Markets can be physical for example a supermarket or Increasingly virtual like online shopping.

Marketing is the means by which you aim to inform potential Buyers/users of your existence, and persuade them that you are able to provide a service/product that satisfy their needs.

The marketing plan is the how you target your users/customers. The right marketing plan identifies everything from

1) who your target customers are

2) how you will reach them

3) how you will retain your customers so they repeatedly buy from you.

When done properly, your marketing plan will be the roadmap to success. Marketing plan

Having completed this unit of work, it will help you to guide the social innovator to:

  1. Understand the complexities of choice, and how effective marketing can help customers to make a buy in decision or not, that later is repeated.
  1. Have knowledge of core marketing theories, and help the social innovator be able to relate these to everyday circumstances.
  1. Adapt tools and techniques that can support in developing an affordable marketing plan.
  1. Recognise that detailed thought and planning needs to underpin all marketing, and that review, revision and possibly reaction will need to be ongoing.

At this stage there needs to be a rough idea on the branding. Large companies spend a fortune on developing their brand, with a clear promise and underpinned by values attuned to their market segments. Marcoms are used to build brand awareness and instill the values into the sub-consciousness. Ultimately, the value of the business lies in the brand.

Often, smaller companies don’t think about brand at all – too expensive – BUT they should, and it doesn’t need to be costly. Having been through this module, you should now be in a position support the social innovator develop and nurture a brand for the social innovation enterprise which adds value in terms of profit, cash flow and company value. The intangible value of brand should never be under-estimated.

Checklist for SBMC.


Type of Intervention
Value proposition
Key activities
Key resources
Partner&Key Stakeholders
Cost structure


Module 4 will help with Finance Cost Structure, Surplus and Revenue, Module 3 and 6 will further support with segments and customers and Module 5 will help with growing and sustaining the Enterprise.


Ask the social innovator to list, in rank order as the example below, what they think their USPs are.




What are the key characteristics of your market? Again, list these down.

Ask the social innovators are they constant, or changing?


Think about a few things that you have purchased recently or service encountered. On hindsight, did they act calculatedly, spontaneously or indeed whimsically? Can they recollect your emotions / feelings at the time? On hindsight, would you do the same again? What factors influenced you? Remember, it might be very small purchase/encounter as well as larger ones!

Use this as an example to the social innovators, Ask them to make a few notes on this as provider and consumer/user.

Ask them to create a 2-minute elevator pitch. Use the following examples as a guide. Example 1 and Example 2. There will be more on pitching at the later modules.

A task for both ESII and the social innovator

Do you have a brand? If not, why not? If so, quickly map out your brand promise and underlying values.

Marketing P’s

Marketing P’s Template


Explore Further

Marketing theory


The so-called marketing mix comprises of a range of variables, you need to consider when planning whom the market is and why they would choose to buy/participate in what is being offered. Traditionally, these begin with the letter P and are therefore referred to as the ‘4’ P’s of Marketing. We use ‘4’ because in most textbooks, 4 are commonly used. We use more than this to reflect the ever-evolving economic, social and technological environment.

Ideally the social innovation needs to be distinct, it needs to be clear and explicit differentiable, make them stand out from the crowd. In marketing terms, we refer to these as UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITIONS or USPs. Also known as the value proposition.

Another marketing fundamental is that the overall market is too big for one person / company to target – unless they are Google! – So, the social innovator will have to narrow their product/service functionalities down and the USPs will enable them to do this more effectively.


The following will take you on a personal journey though a number of critical marketing variables. To get the most out of this, ask the social innovator to simultaneously wear two hats – as both a provider and consumer of goods and services.


The product – the ‘thing’ that they are trying to sell – has to be at the heart of the marketing proposition. This could be tangible, intangible or indeed a service. Indeed, it could be a combination of all of these. It is very important to consider this though

– Buyers do not buy products nor services per se, they buy the BENEFITS that they bring.


Pricing is important and there are many things to consider in setting this – competitors prices, local trading conditions, availability of substitute products/services etc. When comparing with others, they need to ensure they compare like with like, taking into account the augmented product value-added. Module 4 will guide you with pricing. Ask the social innovator to start to think about how they will set their prices?


Place refers to where your products / services can be bought from. Choosing the right distribution channels is critical in terms of the route to market, and it takes much thought, planning, and potentially, investment.


We have discussed what, how much and where? You then need to consider how you communicate with existing and potential customers in a timely, affordable and sustainable way.


Business processes are operational in some ‘hygiene factors’ will be something to consider if it is, it is crucial.


Physical assets represent significant fixed cost, and a substantial investment. Space is expensive and valuable!


From a marketing perspective, see people as your essential customer-facing asset.


The communication plan will define the approach the social innovator will use to communicate with its communities. It helps ensure systematic information sharing and two-way communication. The following nine steps address’s the key aspects the social innovator should consider:

  1. Identify the objectives.
  2. Choose the target audiences.
  3. Design the key messages.
  4. Select the communication
  5. Plan for two-way communication.
  6. Establish the time
  7. Draft a budget.
  8. Implement the plan.
  9. Monitor the results and look for ways to improve.

Explore Further

The following examples have been provided as examples in the autistic market.

acustic marketThe Davies family has just received a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum disorder for their 4-year-old son, in finding out this news it has left them confused, sad and unsure of what the future will hold. What do you think are their initial thoughts are? how they as parents can support their child, what other support is available, should the child go to a mainstream school or a special needs one? Think about how they will make a choice – after considering the options. Write down your thoughts as if you or someone close to you were going through this, think about the processes and emotions. Think about the parents that have just had the diagnoses for their son, how will they make their decision? Will it be rational or emotion or both? You need to highlight to the social innovator that the parents of the child are the market. What type of social innovation could support the parents of the child?


Think about the parents that have just had the diagnoses for their son, how will they make their decision? Will it be rational or emotion or both? You need to highlight to the social innovator that the parents of the child are the market. What type of social innovation could support the parents of the child?

The following examples have been provided to demonstrate social innovations developed for those that fall within the Autistic market.

Social innovation example 1

Social Innovation example 1

‘Innovative solution 4 – Aldebaran Robotics developed NAO, the first humanoid robot in Europe. Its first purpose is to inspire students, making a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics engaging, fun and motivating. However, serves a second purpose. The highly advanced robot is capable of human-robot interaction. NAO can identify specific if people, react to voice commands, and uses expressive gestures to communicate. This means that is effectively serves as a building block for developing advanced and automated solutions for caretaking of the elderly, robot-child interaction in hospitals and supporting people with disorders, such as autism, to live independently. (Design for social innovation, full article available in resources)

Social innovation example 2

Social Innovation example 2https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0idZghw97dc

Support network for Autistic market

Autism Speak