Competitive outreach in the 21st century: Why we need conservation marketing

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 9:41pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 10/2015
Authors: Andrew Wright, Diogo Veríssimo, Kathleen Pilfold, E.C.M. Parsons, Kimberly Ventre, Jenny Cousins, Rebecca Jefferson, Heather Koldewey, Fiona Llewellyn, Emma McKinley
Journal title: Ocean & Coastal Management
Volume: 115
Pages: 41 - 48
ISSN: 09645691

Addressing impacts from human activities requires the change of current practices. However, reaching a target audience about conservation issues and influencing their behaviour is not easy in a world where people are continually bombarded with information, and distractions are permanently available. Although not typically considered to be part of the conservation science toolbox, marketing techniques were designed in the commercial sector to identify and influence human preferences and behaviour by placing target audiences at the core of the marketing process. It thus seems reasonable that the same marketing principles and tools could and should be used to address pressing conservation issues. In this manuscript, we provide an introduction to the main objectives of marketing and illustrate how these can be applied to conservation and animal welfare issues. To that end we offer two examples: Project Ocean, where a major UK retailer joined forces with the Zoological Society of London to influence consumer behaviour around seafood; and Blackfish, which coupled social media with an award-winning documentary to create a discussion around the welfare of large cetaceans in captivity. Without the ability to influence human behaviour, a conservationists' role will likely be limited to that of describing the loss of biodiversity and the decline of the environment. We thus hope that conservation practitioners can embrace marketing as a fundamental component of the conservation toolbox.

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