Social marketing, simply stated, is the application of commercial marketing tools and concepts to influence behaviors that benefit individuals and communities. While the goal of commercial marketing is primarily profit maximization, social marketing aims to change behavior for social good.
Social Marketing Company, Bangladesh or SMC began its journey in 1974 as a project to address the rapid population growth in the country. It was set up by Population Services International (PSI), a US-based INGO under an agreement with the Government of Bangladesh and USAID. In 1990, after having achieved significant success, the project was converted to a nonprofit private limited company with a voluntary Board of Directors. In 2014, SMC formed SMC Enterprise Ltd, a wholly owned for-profit subsidiary to separate profitable activities from nonprofit to help effectively manage a growing and complex operation which could no longer function smoothly under a single unit.
SMC today is a large and successful social enterprise and a major contributor to the Bangladesh national family planning program, providing contraceptives to more than one-third of all users. It markets a full range of family planning products, ORS (Oral Rehydration Salts) and has diversified into food, nutrition, reproductive health and female hygiene. It operates the biggest ORS manufacturing facility in the country. SMC enjoys excellent goodwill among its beneficiaries and stakeholders. It is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company and headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. As per 2015 Contraceptive Social Marketing Statistics released by DKT International, SMC was ranked as the second largest contraceptive social marketing program globally in terms of CYPs. Since its inception, SMC operations have averted 16 million unintended pregnancies, 1.2 million deaths of children under-5 and 106.3 million DALYs (year lost to ill-health and disability).
According to the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), one-third of family planning users in the country are using SMC-marketed contraceptive brands. Among methods, 62.0% of all condom users, 44.0% of pill users and over 18.0% of all injectable users rely on SMC contraceptives to meet their family planning contraceptive needs.
SMC is, therefore, the largest and most successful partner of the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) in the effort to reduce population growth. SMC has made an enormous contribution in meeting the country’s MDG 4 and 5 goals, having saved innumerable lives of women and children through family planning and ORS over many years.
1974: Family Planning Social Marketing Project (FPSMP) began operation under a tripartite agreement among Population Services International (PSI), GOB and USAID
1975: USAID-donated Raja condom and Maya contraceptive pill started distribution through private sector outlets
1985: FPSMP launched Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to address high diarrheal deaths due to dehydration
1990: FPSMP became Social Marketing Company (SMC), a private not-for-profit company under the Companies Act of 1913 with a voluntary Board
1997: SMC became a direct recipient of USAID funds with the departure of PSI
2000: Inaugurated Company’s own headquarters building ‘SMC Tower’ in Banani, Dhaka
2004: ORS manufacturing facility starts operation in Bhaluka, Mymensingh