Applying systems science to evaluate a community - Based social marketing innovation: A case study

Brian J. Biroscak, Tali Schneider, Anthony D. Panzera, Carol A. Bryant, Robert J. McDermott, Alyssa B. Mayer, Mahmooda Khaliq, James Lindenberger, Anita H. Courtney, Mark A. Swanson, Ashton P. Wright, Peter S. Hovmand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In the United States, community coalitions are an important part of the public health milieu, and thus, subject to many of the same external pressures as other organizations—including changes in required strategic orientation. Many funding agencies have shifted their funding agenda from program development to policy change. Thus, the Florida Prevention Research Center created the Community-Based Prevention Marketing (CBPM) for Policy Development framework to teach community coalitions how to apply social marketing to policy change. The research reported here was designed to explicate the framework’s theory of change.We describe and demonstrate a hybrid evaluation approach: utilization-focused developmental evaluation. The research question was ‘‘What are the linkages and connections among CBPM inputs, activities, immediate outcomes, intermediate outcomes, and ultimate impacts?’’ We implemented a case study design, with the case being a normative community coalition. The study adhered to a well-developed series of steps for system dynamics modeling. Community coalition leaders may expect CBPM to provide immediate gains in coalition performance. Results from causal diagramming show how gains in performance are delayed and follow an initial decline in performance. We discuss the practical implications for CBPM’s developers—for example, importance of managing coalition expectations—and other social marketers—for example, expansion of the evaluation toolkit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-267
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Marketing Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, The Author(s).


  • Community coalitions
  • Complexity
  • Developmental evaluation
  • Policy advocacy
  • Utilization-focused evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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