01 Oct, 2008 Last updated: 04 Dec, 2014

Public health could benefit from a better understanding of marketing principles to help in the quest to shift public policy, to influence organisations outside of the health system to introduce health-promoting practices, and to encourage behaviour change in individuals.

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‘Marketing’ is a term that is laden with negative meaning for many professionals in public health and the social sciences, as well as people working in the broader community sector. Marketers are often thought to be driving consumption and chasing the pursuit of profit above community good – using clever psychological tricks to make people want to buy things they don’t need. But public health could benefit from a better understanding of marketing principles to help in the quest to shift public policy, to influence organisations outside of the health system to introduce health-promoting practices, and to encourage behaviour change in individuals.