Social Marketing
Nutrition and Physical Activity


Step 1: Analyze Information Gaps

photo of a man running on beachIII. BehaviorIII: Behavior

During the problem description, you chose a broad behavior that you'd like to change with your program. Formative research will help you make an informed decision about narrowing that broad behavior down to a specific behavior (or behaviors) to promote. By the end of the formative research phase you should know

  • What your target audience currently does.
  • What the ideal behaviors are.
  • The benefits and barriers that the audience perceives to adopting the desired behavior.

These are areas where you may have information gaps that need to be filled.

The behavior change you'll ask of your audience should be something more specific than "eat more fruits and vegetables," "do more physical activity," or "watch less TV."

Criteria for a specific behavior
  • Be an actual behavior (not an attitude, knowledge, or belief).
  • Affect the health problem of interest.
  • Be observable and measurable.
  • Be feasible (from the point of view of your target audience).
  • Have benefits that you are able to promote.
  • Have barriers that you are able to minimize.