„Why can you not sell brotherhood and rational thinking like you can sell soap?“ This question was first raised in the early 50s by the American communications researcher Gerd Wiebe (Wiebe, 1952: Merchandising Commodities and Citizenship on Television, in: Public Opinion Quarterly 15, S. 679–691.) and lead to a controversial discussion. The possibility of targeted media communication for social objectives is still constantly questioned and debated: Can social values be brought to the people through the strategic use of marketing and advertising? To this question there is – as experience shows – only one answer: Yes, definitely! In times like these, operative business enterprises, public institutions as well as non-profit organizations can promote their cause through the methods of social marketing and can operate effectively in their market.
Social Marketing stands for new thinking: from the market to the public arena. As a consequence, social as well as business enterprises should be asking themselves the question whether they have a right to exist and if they answer with yes, then they need a sustainable corporate policy and a positive corporate representation.
This new way of thinking should also be expressed by what we call social organizations. The generally used name of „non-profit organization“ in literature and practice seems to indicate that these organizations are unable to generate profits. But this is wrong, as these organizations, while pursuing ostensibly non-profitability targets, in reality only dispense with a „dividend“. However, this is not in contradiction to their entrepreneurial activities. This is why we replace the classical concept of the non-profit organization with the term not-for-profit organization.
This new approach to social marketing builds on the existing theories, develops them further, and creates new tools for the application of social marketing.