Update on The Future of Social Marketing: Let’s Get it in Orbit by 2025!

By Nancy Lee

In 2019, I launched an effort to help “Institutionalize Social Marketing” and wrote an article for Social Marketing Quarterly (SMQ) on The Future of Social Marketing: Let’s Get It In Orbit by 2025. You can read the article here

The article outlined numerous indicators that we could use to claim that Social Marketing, as a discipline, has been launched. From these indicators, “a dozen things we can do as a community to get social marketing in orbit by 2025” were identified. These action items were then used to develop 12 Orbit Subcommittees of the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA), and social marketers were encouraged to join a committee they were energized to make happen. 

As of 2022, there are close to 50 participants across the 12 Orbit Subcommittees! I’m pleased to share a summary of their accomplishments, as of May 2022, in the drop-down menu below.

I encourage you to join any of the committees if you’re interested in the work outlined below. Email me at nancyrlee@msn.com for more information and to get connected to the committee leads.

Gael O’Sullivan, Liz Foote (co-leads)

  • Conducted scoping surrounding policies and procedures related to accreditation bodies and standards. 
  • Identified opportunities to integrate social marketing language and competencies into guidance documents for accreditation standards (as a short term goal), with a longer-range goal of more formal integration into the standards themselves. 
  • Finalized listing of academic course offerings and professional development opportunities which is now available on iSMA’s website (link: https://isocialmarketing.org/trainings/). 
  • Developed static worldwide map of academic course offerings; n process of scoping to develop an online interactive map of course offerings on iSMA’s website. 
  • Developing a prioritized “wish list” for additional online tool capabilities to indicate social marketing opportunities and capacity around the world. 

Christene Jennings (lead)

  • Launched a new online self-paced Key Concepts in SocMar course in English and Spanish. This course is now being translated into several languages. 
  • Finalized content for a new online self-paced Research in Social Marketing course in English to launch in 2022. 
  • Ran another Intro to Social Marketing 12-week online guided course in Spring 2022 taught by Nancy Lee and plan to offer again in the Fall of 2022.


Jay Kassirer (lead)

  • Gained approval from iSMA Board to provide a portal on iSMA’s website to provide a centralized, easy access to a small number of “case study banks” around the world, each containing a broad range of good quality social marketing case studies.  
  • Established a subcommittee to develop the portal, with broad representation from regional associations and iSMA Communications Committee. 

Jennifer Tabanico (lead)

  • Compiled a collection of current job descriptions in social marketing drawn from different industries (government, private, NGO). 
  • Developed a comprehensive list of social marketing skill sets based on the  job descriptions. 
  • Organizing the list to create a series of job description templates.

Heidi Siegelbaum (lead)

  • Developed a package/presentation for Elected Officials  that includes 47 PowerPoint slides and a companion piece on human behaviors. 

Taylor Willmott ,Bill Madway, Catalina Garcia (co-leads)

  • A plan to engage with Corporations for potential membership in iSMA will be implemented by the end of May. A total of 20 companies will be contacted via email with an invitation letter from iSMA’s President, Professor Jeff French to join the Association. The plan also includes engagement with companies in the Social Marketing conferences over the course of the year.

Taylor Willmott (lead)

  • Similar to (#6) Strategic Partnerships with Corporations, the team will be sending an email from Jeff French to potential Foundations & NGOs, as they would be most likely to provide support funding for social marketing efforts.

Saud Alrakhayes, Gonzalo  Diaz Meneses (co-leads)

  • Conducted web analytics tasks on the social marketing associations’ websites. 
  • Extracted metrics from these associations’ social media profiles.
  • Created a DDBB with all the tweets comprising the term “social marketing” over the last six months in order to gauge the problem of misusing this term and confusing it for social media marketing.

Catalina Garcia, Leonida Skerletopoulos (co-leads)

  • As of May, 2022, regional associations include ones in North America (SMANA), Latin America (LAMSO), Australia (AASM), Africa (ASMA), Europe (ESMA), New Zealand Social Marketing Network, Spanish Social Marketing Network, Marketing Social Portugal, Italian Social Marketing Association. A subregional association includes: Pacific NW Social Marketing Association (PNSMA) 
  • An Asian Social Marketing Association is in development. 
  • A consolidated membership database is being developed.

Saud Alrakhayes (lead)

  • No update as of 5.6.22

Felipe Almeida, (organizer)

  • Of most relevance to this initiative is the adoption by iSMA in September of  2017 of the Global Consensus on Social Marketing Principles, Concepts and Techniques to be used to ensure campaigns exemplify “Core Social Marketing Concepts.”
  • The next step is to make adjustments to this document based on any recommendations from an effort led by Sharyn Rundle-Thiele, and promote it as a reference for articles proposed for Social Marketing journals and potential speakers/topics for Social Marketing Conferences, and iSMA’s Case Study portal.

Julie Colehour, Nancy Lee, Bill Madway (co-leads)

  • Conducted a Survey of Boards of Regional Associations and Editorial Boards of Journals regarding Social Marketing’s current brand name, logo and visual.  
  • Findings are being used to create a Brand Platform that will be presented for approval/recommendations at the May, 2022,  iSMA Board Meeting.  
  • The Platform will be used to develop recommended next steps.

The Future of Social Marketing: Let’s Get It in Orbit by 2025!
Nancy R. Lee
Article first published online: December 11, 2019 in Social Marketing Quarterly Volume:26 issue: 1, pages: 3-13


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