Ebola Awareness in Sierra Leone: Social Marketing Plan

Target Population

The target population for the Ebola awareness campaign is the residents of Sierra Leone. This target population includes all demographic groups in Sierra Leone because the prevention of Ebola needs everybody’s involvement.

Social Marketing Plan

Aim

The aim of the social marketing plan for the proposed public health plan is to increase the awareness of Sierra Leone residents about Ebola.

Planned Resources

The resources we plan to use in the social marketing plan would be financial resources and communication equipment. The overall budget for the health program would be $300,000. It would be partly used to develop health messages and possibly pay for advertisement space in the major media platforms. Social media communication tools and public service announcement equipment would be other resources used in the social marketing plan. Local media partners would be integrated as a key stakeholder group in the public health program and would provide the latter resource.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan would involve social marketing techniques that would include the use of Twitter, Facebook, televisions, and radio.

Implementation Plan

Two main stakeholder groups would implement the Ebola awareness campaign. The first one will be community health leaders who will carry out door-door campaigns to sensitize people about Ebola. They would also participate in public meetings to educate people about the disease and possibly empower them to prevent its occurrence. The second stakeholder group will be a marketing consultant company that would have the duty of designing effective social marketing campaigns for the target population (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, 2011). They would be responsible for developing the messaging strategy and making sure they appeal to the target population. Their responsibility would also include monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of these social marketing tools to make sure they reach the intended audience (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Community Preventative Services Task Force, 2012).

Monitoring, Evaluation, and Follow-up

According to Fertman and Allensworth (2017), it is important to undertake periodic monitoring of public health programs to assess whether they have achieved their intended goals, or to tweak them to improve their efficiency. For purposes of improving the Ebola awareness campaign, we will undertake periodic monitoring of the program by reviewing statistics relating to how many people have clicked on online adverts and analyzing the feedback received from the people (regarding the campaign). This way, we will understand which demographic is resonating with the messages, and which one is not (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, 2011). Similarly, we will know which areas of the campaign are not generating enough interest and explore unique ways of improving the same.

The Proposition

At the end of the Ebola awareness campaign, we expect to have increased the awareness of the residents of Sierra Leone about the Ebola by more than 70%.

Why are these Communication tools Appropriate for the Target Population?

The aforementioned marketing tools are appropriate for the proposed campaign because our target population segmentation strategy is based on two groups – the young and the old. The young demographic will be categorized as people who are 40 years and below. The “old” demographic will be categorized as people who are 41 years and beyond. The assumption underlying the formulation of this segmentation strategy is that the two population groups adopt different lifestyles and are bound to respond differently to varying communication styles (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, 2011). Furthermore, we assume that the two target populations have different attitudes and beliefs about health. The use of Twitter and Facebook to spread health messages about Ebola will be designed to appeal to the younger demographic. Comparatively, the use of public service announcements will be designed to appeal to the older demographic. For example, it will be targeted to reach the elderly population who are not conversant with modern communication tools, such as Facebook and Twitter. We assume that this population still relies on traditional forms of media, such as radio, to get information. Comprehensively, the marketing plan has two facets – the use of traditional media and the use of modern (social) media communication tools.

Potential Ethical Issues to Consider when Disseminating Information

According to Guttman (2017), public health programs aimed at changing people’s lifestyles or views regarding health issues are subject to different ethical issues. For example, ethical concerns arise from the involvement of different health partners who fund such programs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, 2011). In our proposed public health program, the main ethical issues would center on the design of health messages that would be disseminated via television, radio, and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication, 2011). The main ethical issue that could arise here is the exaggeration of health facts, or the use of provocative images to encourage Sierra Leoneans to change their lifestyle to prevent Ebola (Guttman, 2017).

To address this ethical issue, we will make sure that the health messages disseminated through the aforementioned platforms are factual and appropriate for the intended audience. We will also submit the health messages before an ethical approval board before conveying the same to the public. The use of digital media for health promotion may also cause unique health challenges that would center on privacy issues and overcoming the digital divide (Gomez, 2013; Guttman, 2017). Indeed, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication (2011) points out, interventions conveyed through these platforms may have unintended consequences on the psychological wellbeing of the respondents. Geller et al. (1997) add that they could hurt the cultural values of the targeted society. To address issues relating to the digital divide, the planned social marketing strategy is divided into two facets that would bridge the digital divide between the young and the old. To address privacy issues, the social marketing strategy will not include images that show people’s faces, or known locations, in the health program. Instead, the information provided would be general and ambiguous to eliminate the possibility that the public health program would affect an individual or groups of people.

References

CDC. (2014). Ebola outbreaks 2000–2014. Web.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication. (2011). The health communicator’s social media toolkit. Web.

Fertman, C.I., & Allensworth, D.D. (Eds.). (2017). Health promotion programs: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Geller, A.C., Hufford, D., Miller, D.R., Sun, T., Wyatt, S.W., Reilley, B.,… & Koh, H.K. (1997). Evaluation of the ultraviolet index: Media reactions and public response. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 37(6), 935–941. Web.

Gomez, R. (2013). Socially smart: Twitter plus Facebook, marketing multipliers and brand boosters. London, UK: BookBaby.

Guttman, N. (2017). Ethical issues in health promotion and communication interventions. Web.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Community Preventative Services Task Force. (2012). The community guide. Web.