Effective Social Marketing to Promote a Campus-Based Physical Activity Intervention: Students' Perspectives

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Social Marketing Quarterly





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Social marketing has the potential to increase knowledge of preventive health issues and to elevate participation in health promotion programs (Bloch, 1984). Health promoters would be wise to utilize social marketing principles and strategies for promoting programs because this could bring forth more cost-effective programs that reach a wider segment of the target audience. Lefebvre and Flora (1988) argued that it is the target population's needs and input, in as many areas as possible, that are the essential foci throughout all phases of the social marketing process. Conducting audience analysis garners information concerning the needs, demographics, and preferences of the specific target population (Blair, 1995; Lefebvre & Flora, 1988). Consequently, this study explored methods for the effective social marketing of a physical activity intervention for university students, specifically a buddy system and record-keeping device.

A heterogeneous sample of 65 undergraduate students from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) participated in 13 focus groups. Data collection and analysis took place simultaneously using a combination of the editing and template organizing styles outlined by Miller and Crabtree (1999). Two researchers independently conducted inductive content analysis on each transcript and compared their findings. Many strategies were used to ensure trustworthiness of the data, as outlined by Guba and Lincoln (1989). NVivo software was used to code and categorize emerging themes. The University of Western Ontario Academic Development Fund funded this project and ethical approval was obtained through The University of Western Ontario.

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