iSMA News Desk

Managed by Julie Hentz and Nathaly Aya

Have an article you would like to share? Contact [email protected]

ISMA Board met in late January and discussed the following topics:

ISMA is an available “Charity” listed in Amazon Smile. When one identifies a charity through Amazon, a portion of each of their purchases benefits that charity. We will work to promote the opportunity so members and others know it is available.

The Communications Team reported 45 responses to the recent Survey, many of which were thoughtful write-in suggestions that will benefit our approach to our diverse member benefits.

The new iSMA Website is in the final stages of touch-up before final review and roll-out. There has been much volunteer commitment to shaping the new site and moving archived content from the existing web, with the final product just a couple weeks away from going live.

iSMA will be offering a Social Marketing Training course online in March 2020 featuring Nancy Lee as the first instructor. Response to this course has been extremely positive, requiring another training session to be scheduled for later in 2020. Much volunteer work has gone into the establishment of this on-line opportunity. We will work to make our training courses align with accreditation guidelines so students can benefit from credits. We will also look into offering/funding scholarships for students who qualify to attend the training sessions.

iSMA Social Media engagement has improved significantly with more posts and more relevant and interesting content. The metrics are encouraging and inform next steps

March iSMA Webinar features Jeff French. We are looking into partnering with the Global Alliance for joint webinars in the future.

Our partnership with the Global Alliance continues through our presence at their meetings to define how the partnership could be mutually beneficial going forward.

News that a federation social marketing association model is in development for the Asia Pacific region to add to the many regional associations under the iSMA umbrella.


There is a hole left in the Social Marketing Community, created by the loss of Susan Kirby upon her passing, December 27th. It was a crucial space she filled through her commitment to social marketing as a successful framework for social change in the public health arena and unique because it combined her extensive experience in both academic foundations and practice. Susan was tireless in giving her time to diverse channels that marketed the successes of Social Marketing. She guided others in the field through mentoring and by example.

Susan’s class at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) University was one of my first introductions to Social Marketing back in 2002. I had come to CDC from work at JWalterThompson Ad Agency and from owning my own corporate ad agency for many years. The idea that I could use my knowledge of and experience with marketing theory to benefit human health and welfare by promoting personal choice and accessibility was inspiring.
Susan and I became friends through shared events and CDC activities over the years, and more recently becoming business partners. I valued her friendship greatly, her laughter, and her sense of fun. She was a genuine person with a very big heart. The Social Marketing Field has benefitted greatly from Susan’s many contributions to it. She is missed by all who are fortunate enough to have known her.

Here is the Social Marketing Quarterly’s (SMQ) Tribute to Susan for those who may have missed it.

- Julie Hentz



Patrick Cook, President iSMA

As the calendar rolls over the next year, I wanted to update our individual and regional association members on the work of your Board. For an all-volunteer Board, we continue to make remarkable strides in remaking the iSMA so it can help all of us pursue our vision: “envisioning a world in which social marketing is a widely valued and utilized approach to improving individual and social well-being.” Over the past year, as we have:

  • Secured new and improved member benefits with important resources for our community, including free online access to the Social Marketing Quarterly and reduced registration for the World Social Marketing Conference. 
  • Held our second annual general meeting in June, 2019, as part of the World Social Marketing Conference in Edinburgh, UK. 
  • Hosted elections where two new Board members, Carlos Oliveira Santos (Portugal) and Leonidas Skerletopoulos (Greece), and two incumbent board members (Jennifer Wayman and myself), were elected for a three-year term.
  • Hosted 3 webinars, exploring topics from design thinking in planning social marketing campaigns to exploring the intersection of multistream social marketing campaigns and social enterprises. 
  • Initiated development of our consolidated membership database so it will be much easier for individuals and organizations to join both their regional association and automatically receive membership in the iSMA. 
  • Welcomed the success of the Latin American Social Marketing Association (LAMSO) launch its inaugural website (see here) and start process of building a regional association to represent our colleagues across Latin America. 
  • Continued to play a key role in the Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change: Building Informed and Engaged Societies, a UNICEF-led initiative working to embed behavior and social change into all the programs funded by UN organizations and other bi- and multilateral funders being guided by the Sustainable Development Goals. 
  • Welcomed Christene Jennings, Carlos Santos, and Leonidas Skerletopoulos as our new webinar manager, volunteer coordinator, and membership chair respectively. We also thanked Jay Kassirer for his many long years of service in multiple roles on the iSMA Board. 

Looking forward in 2020, we have much to do. For each step, we look for your input and suggestions. Here’s a preview of what’s coming up: 

  • Our 2019 Member Survey is currently open. Please take a moment to complete. Your perspectives help define member offerings moving forward.
  • Launch of our new iSMA website, coming in early 2020, with a responsive design, better usability, and more resources and support. 
  • Development of an exciting new featured benefit for social marketers around the world – a 12-session online training course developed by veteran social marketer, Nancy Lee, that will provide participants with a social marketing certificate.
  • Opportunities for organizations, as well as individuals, to join our community of professional social marketers, making it easier to receive support for being a part of a professional community. 
  • Collaboration with ethics group, Social Marketing Ethics Expert Panel (SMEEP) on social marketing code of ethics

And there is so much more. I hope you will take a moment to read the other articles in this newsletter and in all of our bi-monthly newsletters throughout 2020 which relate the amazing work of our member association and colleagues practicing social marketing around the world. And, at any time on any topic, I invite you to send us your thoughts and recommendations at [email protected]. 


Submit your research, programs and ideas that change behaviour for social good in Europe to have it showcased in Thessaloniki, Greece in October 2020. 

The European Social Marketing Association and World Social Marketing invite you to Thessaloniki, Oct 21-23rd 2020 to learn, share and network with others who are passionate about fostering positive behaviour change across Europe. The beautiful Thessaloniki is a World Heritage Site, which makes it a perfect backdrop for the 5th European Social Marketing Conference. 


‘European Social Marketing: Addressing wicked problems in a rapidly changing world’ 

People, planet, systems and solutions

For the first time the conference will include four different themes, under which authors will submit their papers. In addition to the ten conference tracks, these over-arching themes will be the focus of conference content: 

  1. People & wellbeing
  2. Systems and policy 
  3. Environment & sustainability 
  4. Future direction

Call for papers ends 17th April, 2020. 

For more information and to register, visit our website:


The very 1
st North American Social Marketing Conference was held in October in Ottawa, Canada. The event brought together over 150 social marketers from across North America (and 9 other nations around the world!) to showcase the latest and greatest in social marketing in North America. As the first in the World Social Marketing family of events to be held in North America, this was an excellent opportunity to dig deeper into issues that affect North Americans, and also to improve the professional networks. Bringing together academics and practitioners of social marketing in North America was an important goal for the Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA) as they continue to strengthen and build the social marketing community in that region.

Something for everyone

There were 41 presentations packed into this one-day event, with 36 peer-reviewed presentations from the social marketing community. The content was quite diverse in both topic and geography, with presentations on programmes from across North America; including The Global Smart Drinking Goals from Zacetecas, Mexico, and Serving Underserved Populations: A Northern Experience, a panel discussing projects from across northern Canada. There where sessions for people who are new to social marketing; such as the panel chaired by Jay Kassirer discussing the similarities and differences between social marketing, design thinking and behavioural economics. There were sessions for experienced social marketing professionals; such as the interactive session led by Sharyn Rundle-Thiele from Griffith University, Advancing social marketing: Putting theory into practice. 

Climate change at the table

As the climate crisis develops urgency around the world, the presentations in Ottawa demonstrated ways that social marketers are working to help build the social movement. In her keynote presentation, Jennifer Lynes discussed what needs to be done right, to take action on climate change. She outlined 6 things that need to be considered, including ‘design cool things that happen to be good for the environment’, which is good advice to change behaviour regardless of whether we change opinions and attitudes. 

In addition to the keynote presentation, there were a number of presentations looking at different environmental issues, such as sustainable tourism, rain gardens, diets and forestry management. With a broader look at climate change, Pénélope Daignault presented the Unpointcinq program, an innovative web media for better communicating about climate change and pro-environmental actions. There was also a special panel session that discussed ‘Shifting Travel Behaviour’, with panellists that discussed how we can transition to more sustainable and healthy travel including Elyse McCann discussing Ottawa’s ‘Bike to Work Month’ campaign. 

Vaping and cannabis and opioids, oh my! 

The legalisation of marijuana, access to opioids and marketing of vaping products are newer issues that public health professionals are dealing with. In addition to the keynotes by Jeffrey Jordan of Rescue and Sandra Donatucci and Daniel Morier of Health Canada there were 9 other presentations that focused on research or case studies in one of these areas. The geographic focus of this conference allowed space to focus on issues that are particularly prevalent in North America, and learn from each other to help curb related behaviours and encourage healthy and safe decisions. There were a number of presentations that focused on these issues, highlighting that as new threats, they are things public health professionals are certainly struggling with. 

Looking back ….

Earlier this year, NASMC committee member Jim Mintz passed away. A pioneer and strong proponent for social marketing, Jim was the Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Health Canada, and most recently co-founded and was Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing. 

In honour of Jim, SMANA founded a scholarship program for students and young professionals in the field of social marketing to support their attendance at the Conference. This year, 4 recipients were honoured at the North American Social Marketing Conference. 

….and looking forward

World Social Marketing and the Social Marketing Association of North America (SMANA) would like to thank the sponsors, committee, presenters and attendees who all helped to make the first North American Social Marketing Conference a success! We are all looking forward to the next one. If you are interested in bringing the North American Social Marketing Conference to your city, or supporting the event in another way please contact us. We are always looking for future opportunities.

[email protected]

See what others are saying in Twitter (here) #NASMC19 

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