Innovating social marketing to affect cancer healthcare resources for vulnerable consumers in an emerging country context
: a midstream approach

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Social marketing has been increasingly positioned as an effective mechanism to address pressing complex wicked social problems. One area of focus is the use of social marketing approaches in health and wellbeing towards improving health outcomes for the individual and greater societal good. However, emerging country contexts present unique challenges to social marketing; typically, upstream prevention is weak and the resource-constrained environments place vulnerable consumers at even greater risk. In addition, the theoretical inertia that exists in social marketing has been found to limit health and wellbeing behavioural change in such troubling contexts.
    Seizing this opportunity, the present thesis innovates social marketing theory by utilising an interdisciplinary theoretical lens (Signaling Theory, Technology Acceptance Model and Engagement Theory) to facilitate breast cancer behavioural interventions in India. The qualitative research examines India’s breast cancer epidemic via substantive fieldwork activities with key stakeholders including cancer specialists. In so doing, the role of midstream actors in developing healthcare resources for vulnerable consumers with cancer is identified. Specifically, these resources are community health nurses using mobile health technology and a brand’s corporate social media campaign.
    The contributions of this thesis are as follows: first, three preliminary, evidence-based conceptual frameworks are offered, to give clear direction to social marketing researchers, practitioners and policy makers regarding social marketing health and wellbeing interventions. Second, a nascent classification of vulnerable consumers is proposed: Principal Vulnerable Consumers and Associate Vulnerable Consumers, distinguished by their proximity to the vulnerable context. Third, the four published articles advance social marketing to challenge the simple notions of upstream and downstream behavioural domains to invigorate the field and unlock the current theoretical impasse. Future research directions are also identified to prompt further inquiry. Lastly, the contributions from this thesis inform social marketing managerial practice. In particular, the value of meso level actors adopting technology facilitate the outflow and inflow of breast cancer knowledge to support vulnerable consumers in a health and wellbeing context.
    Date of AwardMay 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorSarah Turnbull (Supervisor) & Vijay Pereira (Supervisor)

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