Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home
Share
Compartir

Health Communication Basics

Photo: Women conducting meeting.How Do I Do It?

Planning an effective health communication or social marketing campaign takes careful thought and knowledge of the problem to be addressed. Public health surveillance can help identify the disease burden and the specific behaviors, conditions, or policies to be changed. Formative research can identify and prioritize needs, desires, and values of the target audience and test message frames. Only then can you really identify the promise for the communication: positioning the product (behavior or object) so that it fulfills the needs and desires of the target audience and reinforces their core beliefs. The strategic plan should address how to package and promote that promise through channels that reach your audience.

The CDCynergy model can help you analyze, develop, and implement an effective social marketing or health communication plan. There are also tools and templates that make preparing a social marketing or health communication plan much easier for you.

Here are the major tasks you will need to accomplish, each with a brief description. For more detailed information about each task, please refer to the CDCynergy Lite webpage on this site.

Describe The Problem

Photo: A boy and girl.Describe the problem that is the main goal of your social marketing effort. It should clarify what the public health problem is, who is affected, and what you propose to do to address it. A full, clear problem description and analysis will help you decide whether to undertake a social marketing effort. For more information, go to Problem Description within CDCynergy Lite, or visit the CDCynergy Lite homepage.

Perform Market Research

Photo: A women on a marketing brochure.Market research (also called consumer or audience research) is research designed to enhance your understanding of the target audience's characteristics, attitudes, beliefs, values, behaviors, determinants, benefits and barriers to behavior change in order to create a strategy for social marketing programs. For more information, go to Market Research within CDCynergy Lite, or visit the CDCynergy Lite homepage.

Define Market Strategy

Photo: People at a meeting.A market strategy is a plan of action for your entire social marketing program. Market strategy encompasses the specific target audience segment(s), the specific desired behavior change goal, the benefits you will offer, and the interventions that will influence or support behavior change. For more information, go to Market Strategy within CDCynergy Lite, or visit the CDCynergy Lite homepage.

Develop Interventions

Photo: Woman riding stationary bike.Interventions are methods used to influence, facilitate or promote behavior change (e.g., holding training classes to help seniors start their own walking clubs, developing a Website to promote drug-free activities to youth, expanding clinic hours to improve working mothers' access to HIV testing). For more information, go to Interventions within CDCynergy Lite, or visit the CDCynergy Lite homepage.

Evaluate Your Plan

Photo: A man and a women conducting a meeting.Planning to evaluate the program as you develop your communication plan is important. You need to know both whether the program was implemented as you intended (process measures) and whether changes took place (outcome measures). See "How do I Know it Works?" for more information about evaluation.

Implement Your Plan

Photo: A women facilitating a meeting.Implementation is the point at which all your planning and preparation come together. Among the activities critical to your program's success are planning the program's launch, holding a news event to publicize your messages, taking advantage of unexpected opportunities and defusing potential threats to your efforts. For more information, go to Implementation within CDCynergy Lite, or visit the CDCynergy Lite homepage.

 
Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    (800-232-4636)
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
  • Contact CDC-INFO
  • Page last reviewed: May 10, 2011
  • Page last updated: May 10, 2011
USA.gov: The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO