that most mass-media campaigns to promote energy efficiency are based upon traditional marketing techniques in which the sustainable activity is viewed as a “product” to be sold. Advertising, they indicate, is effective in altering our prefer- ence to purchase one brand over another. Altering consumer preferences, however, is not creating new behavior. As they note: “These small changes in behavior gen- erally require little expense or effort and no dramatic change in lifestyle” (p. 256). In contrast, promoting engagement in a new activity, such as walking or biking to work, is much more complex. An array of barriers to these activities exist, such as concerns over time, safety, weather, and convenience. The diversity of barriers that exist for any sustainable activity means that information campaigns alone will rarely bring about behavior change.
In Canada, community-based social marketing has emerged as an attractive alternative to information-intensive campaigns. This emergence can be traced to a growing understanding on the part of program planners that conventional cam- paigns, which rely heavily or exclusively on media advertising, can be effective in creating public awareness and improved understanding of issues but are limited in their ability to foster behavior change (Aronson & Gonzales, 1990; Costanzo et al., 1986; Yates & Aronson, 1983).
Community-Based Social Marketing
Community-based social marketing is composed of four steps: uncovering barriers to behaviors and then, based upon this information, selecting which behavior to promote; designing a program to overcome the barriers to the selected behavior; piloting the program; and then evaluating it once it is broadly imple- mented (McKenzie-Mohr & Smith, 1999). Community-based social marketing merges knowledge from psychology with expertise from social marketing (see also Geller, 1989). Social marketing emphasizes that effective program design begins with understanding the barriers people perceive to engaging in an activity (see, for example, Andreasen, 1995). Social marketing also underscores the importance of strategically delivering programs so that they target specific seg- ments of the public and overcome the barriers to this segment’s engaging in the behavior.
Uncovering Barriers and Selecting Behaviors
Reduction of the municipal solid waste stream can occur from a variety of activities, such as recycling, source reduction, or reuse. Similarly, lowering green- house gas emissions can be achieved by such actions as using alternative transpor- tation (carpooling, bicycling, telecommuting) or lowering household energy use (upgrading insulation levels, installing low-flow showerheads, or closing blinds before leaving for work). Although it might be desirable to promote all of these