Midstream social marketing and the co-creation of public services

Matthew Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This paper aims to highlight the importance of social marketing at the midstream (meso) level as a key component of a proposed model for co-creating public services. The model demonstrates how supportive relationships and conversations within and between service organisations, front-line service staff, social networks and clients are essential for the effective co-creation of health and welfare services and social marketing interventions. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that uses network and services theory and a case study to show how the midstream social marketing approach and service co-creation can be applied in practice and how these concepts relate to upstream and downstream social marketing. Findings – The case study demonstrates the powerful role of social networks, staff–client relationships and conversations in the co-creation of effective services and the improvement in communications, trust and understanding between service providers and the community. Practical implications – The paper shows how service providers and social marketers can achieve co-created, customer-oriented services/interventions through the development of congruent, empathetic narratives, relationships and conversations. The case study demonstrates how this can be achieved in practice through staff training, the identification of “community communicators” and value-based targeting and communications. Originality/value – The integration of conversations, relationships, values, services and midstream social marketing into a model for co-creation offers a valuable tool for social marketing and health/ welfare service professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-293
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2016


  • Social marketing
  • Communication
  • Social networks
  • Midstream social marketing
  • Co-creation
  • Conversations


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