Marketing in the Public Sector

Interview with Caroline Berryman from York Region

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This week we had the pleasure to interview Caroline Berryman the Communications Manager of Community Engagement and Marketing for the York Region to discuss marketing in the public section. It was an incredible opportunity to see marketing from a different perspective. For me, with 20 years of working with business and developing an idea of a product or a brand, having another conception of marketing where your audience is your product of marketing and where you cannot build a persona because everyone in the community needs to be represented. I had never thought before about a difference and similarities between marketing in the private and public sectors as I did after this meeting.

Social marketing in the private sector differs from marketing in the private sector on many levels. According to Caroline, Social Marketing is an educational campaign that can influence positive behavioural changes, benefits individuals and communities and the concept of selling ideas instead of products. As we can see the market campaigns in the private sector are dedicated to the community at all levels. When thinking about promoting an idea for your community you are considering children, adults, and elders. Moreover, to have a project approved in a public sector is way more bureaucratic than in a private sector.

Caroline shared with us the current opportunities and projects in York Region. The creation of a pollinating bee and butterfly meadow in Richmond Hill to transform boulevards, replacing existing grass with gardens.  We had a group discussion to exchange marketing ideas for this project, in which our team discussed different approaches that could be used for each age group children, teenagers and adults.

When a marketing campaign in a public sector is to bring awareness and change behaviour and attitudes of the public it has opportunities and challenges. The opportunities, for example, to bring awareness for bullying at school or the Every Child Matter campaign make a positive contribution to society and are easily embraced by the community. However, when the campaign is to change physical environments or involves investment there are different approaches from the society. Communities are made of diversity, different ideas, and different backgrounds. Sometimes you can not please all the community members, so it is very important to outline all the benefits of this campaign to make a clear and positive impact.

To conclude, Caroline also responded to all the questions we made to her. The majority of the questions were related to working in the public sector, benefits, challenges and opportunities. Berryman pointed out all the benefits and described her trajectory to get where she is now. In my opinion, to have an opportunity to work in an environment where you can help to bring value to your community and impact someone’s else life is a job that also brings value to you as a professional and as a human being.

I would like to thank Caroline Berryman and our professor Wendy Greenwood to this opportunity and all information shared.

Roberta Almeida

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