Measuring, evaluating, and documenting social marketing impact

V. Dao Truong, X. Dam Dong, Stephen Graham Saunders, Quynh Pham, Hanh Nguyen, Ngoc Anh Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper aims to examine how social marketing intervention programmes to measure, evaluate and document social marketing impact. Design/methodology/approach: A systematic review of 49 nutritional behaviour intervention programmes (2006–2020) was conducted. To examine the social marketing impact of the programmes, a logic model of social impact was used. The model comprises inputs (the resources used for an intervention programme), outputs (the direct products resulting from the use of resources), outcomes (short- to medium-term programme effects) and impacts (long-term programme effects on the individual, community or societal levels). Findings: Most intervention programmes set the goal of encouraging their target audience to increase fruit and vegetable intake, choose healthy food items, drink less sugary beverages or consume low-fat diaries, while few others sought policy or systems change. Multiple criteria were used for impact evaluation (e.g. exposure and reach, changes in knowledge, awareness, attitudes, behaviours and body mass index). (Quasi) experiments were the most popular method used for impact measurement, followed by the pre-post model of impact. Positive changes were found in 33 programmes, often reported in terms of short-term outputs or outcomes. Long-term impact particularly on the broader societal level was not indicated. Originality/value: This research offers a systematic review of how social marketing impact is measured, evaluated and documented. It also provides some guidance for social marketers on how to shift from a reductionist, behavioural outcome-focussed approach towards an “expansionist” impact approach that explicitly considers social marketing impacts on the quality of life of individuals, communities and societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Documenting social marketing impact
  • Evaluating social marketing
  • Logic model
  • Social marketing impact

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