My years in the social marketing and health communications world have led to an important observation about our industry: people like to make stuff more than make stuff happen
I call it the Creation Fixation. Fresh off the energy and enthusiasm of the formative research phase, people go back to their offices and have this burning desire to create something…anything, really—a campaign, brochure, message, press release, television ad, etc. Whether or not it works and whether or not anyone in the real world uses it—they will always have the thing they created: something tangible to point to as evidence of their work.
I shouldn’t be too hard on this fixation. Perhaps the desire to make something is critically aligned with the social marketer’s mission to provide or improve a product that supports a healthier lifestyle. Maybe the perfect physical activity campaign, poster, or program has yet to be created—and that’s why so many folks are still doing the formative work to develop it. While I think there is some credibility to this point, I don’t think it tells the whole story.