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A retired senior lecturer in dental public health in the dental school, and a retired public health dentist and doctor, I’ve always inhabited this strange no-man’s-land between medicine and dentistry.

I got into social marketing in the late 1980s, having met an expert on social marketing from the USA, Rob Gould from Porter Novelli ... he ignited an interest that has remained and grown ever since.

If you get insight into why people behave in certain ways, you can change behaviour using marketing principles.

I know there have been many trendy interventions, but what makes social marketing so special is that it is plausible (people problems can be understood and remedied by understanding people) and, certainly in my hands, it works. Any intervention that ignores these principles is flirting with failure. The general principles of social marketing are : Who is a potential target audience? What does the world look to them/through their eyes? What can we offer to make it better? The difficulty comes with actually doing these things; getting inside the target audience shoes, inventing things that will satisfy their wants and needs.

What do i do better now than i did twenty years ago? I am definitely more experienced and successful because i have turned a text-book subject into a practical one. Like when you study medicine or engineering; what the textbooks say is quite different to the practice. Now I have the practical experience, I know much much more than I did, and I have the confidence to take calculated risks, whilst earning the confidence of funders and commissioners.

Copyright 2011 Dr Lowry All Rights Reserved
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