A Special Tribute to Win Morgan
Written by Julie Hentz   

Win Morgan has stepped down as President and founding member of the International Social Marketing Association after 7 years of dedication to the advancement of social marketing as a tool to address social problems around the globe. Here is an overview of his journey with the organization.

Back to the Beginning

"Don't wait to be invited."

Counsel from his mentor, Phyllis Piotrow at Johns Hopkins University, served as motivation for Win. He listened to discussions from the social marketing community about having no central organization for their practice. He moved to establish a social marketing association and registered The Social Marketing Association in Maryland, 2011.

Subsequently, he worked with Craig LeFebvre, and Jeff French, consolidating their collective vision. Jeff had a vision of an international online community of social marketers so the Social Marketing Global Network was born, using their own funding channels, Alan Andreason's Social Marketing Institute, and AED's non-profit account as an anchor for self-contributed funds.

Originally, the goal of the Social Marketing Global Network was to establish social marketing as a framework to solve social problems, to market social marketing, and use social marketing approaches to address social challenges. "Our vision was to create a big inclusive tent for people interested in, practicing, or teaching social marketing", Win recalled.

By 2012, the Social Marketing Global Network became the International Social Marketing Association, with an official website. During the medium term, objectives often involved reaching consensus among mixed perspectives, about defining Social Marketing and establishing a set of principles. "We didn't want this to be solely an American Association. As such, we made a concerted effort to recruit members from India, South America, and Africa, and we began encouraging members to establish their own regional and national social marketing organizations."

A few of Win's many contributions to the development and maintenance of iSMA were:

  • Created the iSMA website, including researching supporting software that was most functionally aligned with iSMA objectives and use, for a price the budget could support. He designed, built, and maintained the website.
  • Enhanced the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensuring that searches for iSMA would prompt a top position and greater access to association information.
  • Contributed to shaping Social Marketing definitions and including journal/book references on the Wikipedia website.
  • Supported the work of the Communication Team

A recurring challenge throughout the life of the association has been its nomenclature. Does Social Marketing have a "marketing problem?" Should part of our work moving forward be dedicated to identifying channels through which to market Social Marketing itself, and the nomenclature, which has suffered confusion through practice in behavioral economics and social media to name a few of the tools that are perceived as the scope of social marketing and the framework?

The association has now grown to 2,500 members in the last few years. The marketing emphasis has moved toward creating a series of "Social Objects", identifying a vehicle for idea and practice exchange among practitioners, academics, and all of those who are part of the organization. Of some recent achievements, Win states that, "We have moved to create engagement tools like the webinars, offering 6 case studies annually. iSMA has archived a full 50 webinars on their website for access by members."

What does the future hold for iSMA?

Win sees some important next steps for our association. "The iSMA board and members must continue to build consensus on who iSMA is and what their service niche is so that the organization can present itself with a unified voice and message. A glossary of social marketing terms on the website and through other marketing channels would help to ensure that social marketing language is universal."

Additionally, he believes it is key to continue to developing social objects and tools with which to provide practitioners around the globe, enabling them to plan and finance their social marketing projects.

What is next for Win?

From his work with iSMA over the years, what Win has most valued is time listening to so many people involved in social marketing and learning so much from them.

Win will continue devoting himself to his work, applying social marketing frameworks to problems around the globe, currently working to reduce incidence of cholera and malaria in the African and Asian continents.

His business is currently initiating a proposal to pilot a project in Zambia ("not to be confused with Nambia").

Please join me in expressing our gratitude to Win for the incredible amount of time, energy, dedication, vision, technical expertise, economic maneuvering to maximize limited budgets, and on and on, that he has contributed to the International Social Marketing Association over many years, and all of this with Win's characteristic dose of good humor. His efforts have made iSMA what it is today, leaving the association on firm footing and ready to move ahead.

We sincerely thank you, Win!