Social Marketing Conference at Colorado State Aims to Prevent Substance Abuse in Rural and Ethnic Youth

Note to Editors: Members of the media are invited to attend the conference. To attend, please contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543.

Colorado State University will hold a two-day social marketing conference, "Designing Effective Community-Based Social Marketing Programs to Prevent Substance Abuse in Rural and Ethnic Youth," hosted by marketing Professor Kathleen Kelly, April 14-15.

The conference is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and hosted by Colorado State’s Center for Business Ethics and Social Issues in the College of Business. The event will provide a hands-on guide to social marketing for substance abuse prevention specialists.  

Kelly has extensive experience in social marketing and has received numerous grants to develop and evaluate social marketing programs. Other speakers will include experts in community based programming from Colorado State’s Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research and other prevention specialists from around the country with front-line experience in working with ethnic and rural populations.

Specific aims of the conference are to discuss ways to make use of the tools of social marketing to reduce youth substance abuse, to discuss the special considerations of conducting social marketing programs in rural and ethnic communities and to discuss ways of engaging communities and stakeholders in fruitful collaborations on social marketing projects.

"With declining public and private funding, prevention workers often look to social marketing as a way to help position their products and services as valuable to their communities," Kelly said. "However, social marketing principles must be clearly understood and rigorously applied to reap maximum benefits."

Kelly noted that rural and ethnic communities may face additional challenges in preventing substance use. Rural communities often lack access to health care and other resources for prevention. Further, prevention programs aimed at ethnic minorities must take account different beliefs, values and language needs. Kelly said that the conference will encourage dialogue to develop practical solutions to overcoming these challenges.

The conference will bring together health prevention specialists and others interested in learning how to apply the tools of social marketing to fields including tobacco and substance abuse prevention. Participants will exchange knowledge on best practices for implementing community-based social marketing.

Ruth W. Edwards, senior research scientist and director of the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research at Colorado State, will present "Engaging Your Community."

Pamela Jumper Thurman, also a senior research scientist with the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, will present "Cultural Congruence in Community-Based Programs." Randall C. Swaim, senior research scientist and the associate scientific director of the Tri-Ethnic Center in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State, will present "Evaluating Your Program."

The registration fee is $95 for the two-day conference. The fee includes continental breakfast and lunch both days. Registrations are accepted online; a registration form can also be downloaded, printed, filled out, and faxed or mailed to conference organizers. Registration must be completed for each individual attending the conference. Space is limited to 35 participants.

A full roster of events follows.

Thursday April 14

– 8-9 a.m.: Registration and continental breakfast.

– 9-10 a.m.: "Social Marketing: An Introduction for Prevention Specialist."

Professor Kathleen Kelly presents an overview of social marketing and its applications in prevention and health promotion. The unique benefits and challenges of using social marketing in a health context will be outlined.

– 10-11 a.m.: "Creating Our Own Community."

A team-building session will set the stage for productive networking and collaborating.

– 11a.m.-noon: "Right Product, Right Price, Right Place, Right Promotion."

Using the "4Ps" is an analytic approach in marketing that may be successfully applied in prevention. Hands-on activities will help participants use these methods in their own programs.

– Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch.

– 1-2 p.m.: "Right Product, Right Price, Right Place, Right Promotion" (continued).

– 2-3 p.m.: "Engaging Your Community."

Experts from the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research will discuss the impact of community factors on prevention. Speakers will emphasize and present techniques for engaging a broad spectrum of the community and developing key partnerships.

– 3:15-4:30 p.m.: "Engaging Your Community" (continued).

Panelists will address the challenges of developing partnerships with different groups, including schools, youth, parents, health agencies, businesses, law enforcement, and universities.

Friday, April 15

– 8-9 a.m.: Continental breakfast.

– 9-11:30 a.m.: "Cultural Congruence in Community-Based Programs."

Why is it important to integrate cultural values in prevention programs? Experts from the Tri-Ethnic Center and panelists involved in community prevention address the special considerations of developing programs for ethnic groups.

– 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Lunch.

– 1-2 p.m.: "Evaluating Your Program."

Social marketing programs need to demonstrate whether they are "moving the needle" in terms of desired individual or community change. Measurable indices that may be used for program evaluation will be discussed, as well as the challenges of conducting evaluation in schools and communities, as well as with youth, rural, and ethnic populations.

– 2-3 p.m.: "Moving Forward." In light of new perspectives, we provide an opportunity for synthesis and integration. Participants will present concrete plans for incorporating techniques into their existing programs, and will be able to give and receive constructive feedback.

Online registration for the conference can be completed at

A registration form can also be downloaded at and mailed to Social Marketing Conference, Jan Morgan, Colorado State University, 1278 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins CO 80523-1278.

For more information on the social marketing conference, contact Nori Comello at 491-3249, or via e-mail at More details are on the Web at