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Failure is a stepping stone for success


On the basis of a number of case studies of social marketing that did not fully succeed in Guinea-Bissau, extensive research was carried out to determine the causes of failure. These cases revealed several difficulties encountered when implementing the projects, despite all good intentions. Refinements and fine-tuning of existing social marketing tools have been brought to light, looking for indications of the causes of unsuccessful outcomes in the cases studied. A risk analysis was used in an attempt to pragmatically produce a framework able to fully address the final social behavioral change envisaged. As a result of this analysis, some contributions for a breakthrough in social marketing frameworks have been provided, namely the importance of the diagnosis of the problem, in which cultural differences between beneficiaries and promoters play a central role.

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  1., accessed on 13 May 2011.

  2. Since XVI in Portuguese texts the word ‘tabanca’, which is probably an African word, was used to refer to the fortifications built by Portuguese sailors in Guinea’s seaside areas. However, currently in Guinea’s crioulo, ‘tabanca’ means village.

  3. According to the Minority Rights Group International, the main minority groups in Guinea-Bissau are: Balanta - 30 %, Fula - 20 %, Manjaco - 14 %, Mandinga - 13 %, Papel - 7 %. There are many other small ethnic groups which include the Bijagós, Nalu, Biafada, Ejamat, Jola and Susu.


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Correspondence to Susana Costa e Silva.

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e Silva, S.C., Silva, M.F. Failure is a stepping stone for success. Int Rev Public Nonprofit Mark 9, 153–179 (2012).

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  • Social marketing
  • Change behavior models
  • Risk analysis
  • Development aid
  • Poverty
  • Guinea-Bissau