The diffusion of innovations theory emphasizes peer pressure and social imitation, as crucial factors in the dissemination of a new idea, product, or service. This theory, suggests that, in promoting a new practice, there are innovators, early adopters, early majority adopters, late majority adopters, and laggards. Therefore, people are more likely to adopt something if the people they know or respect have adopted it. The diffusion of innovation theory, relates more to the differences between people, as it relates to effective communication with the audience segment- segment members, to improve the outcome of behavioral-change campaigns. On the other hand, the social marketing theory employs a consumer orientation, audience analysis and segmentation, and aspects of exchange theory, in seeking to increase the acceptability of behavior, in a target group.
Diffusion of Innovations and Social Marketing Theories: Comparison Social marketing begins with the gathering of information, to determine the health-related needs of the community populations. It then progresses through the planning implementation and evaluation of programs designed to influence individual behaviors. This has important implications for anyone promoting a strategy targeting behavioral change. Both diffusion and social marketing theories are administrative theories. They assume the existence of an information provider seeking to bring about useful and beneficial social change. Both theories provide a framework for relying upon the information to the targeted audience, with the aim of influencing behavior in order to achieve a social goal. Therefore, the adoption of social marketing and the diffusion of innovation theory, in combination with other approaches, in health-focused initiatives at the community level, can contribute significantly to raising awareness of certain health issues, and their control and management, through the empowerment of individuals and communities, to achieve change at multiple levels.