Marketing of Family Planning Services

Marketing of Family Planning Services

Family Planning – In many developing countries such as Nigeria, population explosion has contributed to be a great treat to the limited economic and social resources.   The fear has always been on the fact that population is growing at a faster rate than the available jobs, social services and food production.  

The co-ordinator of PPFN in Enugu State stated that, this situation is clue to inability of couples to determine the number, tinning and spacing of childbirth.

What is Family Planning?

Family planning have been defined by various scholars and researchers but the gist idea of the subject is also crystal clear, the same World Health Organization thus defined family planning as the basis of knowledge, attitudes and responsible decision by individuals and couples in order to promote the health and welfare of the family and group, thus, contributing effectively to the social development of a country.

Jones (1989, P. 95) says, family planning is available to help individuals and couples to choose if and when they will have a child (family planning), or to choose the number of children that they will have (family limitation). The choices depend on a complicated mixture of social, cultural and psychological influences.   Derek went further to say that today for the first time in history, men and women have reliable methods to enable them to make that choice freely and relatively easily.   This principle of choice is important, as it includes not only the choice of using family planning, but the choice of using family planning, but the choice of the birth control method most suited to the particular circumstances of the couple.

Myles, (1975:413) in her own view says that family planning seems to be a fundamental human right that parents should control their fertility and limit the size and spacing of their family, for involuntary parenthood creates many problems, social and financial as well as physical and emotional.   She explained that to establish a family is still the earnest desire of most married couples although the modern idea is to limit the number of children, three is suggested as a satisfactory number and they are usually spaced at intervals of about two years.   This concentrated period of childbearing enables the mother to resume her career at an earlier data than was previously possible.

Hatcher, Rinehart, Blackburn and Geller (1997:21) had this view saying that family planning helps women protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies, since the 1960s family planning programs have helped women around the would avoid 400 million unwanted pregnancies.   As a result, many women’s lives have been saved from high-risk pregnancies or unsafe abortions.   If all women could avoid high-risk pregnancies, the number of maternal deaths could fall by one-quarter.

Hopkins (1997:1) in his own research in family planning states that, you can decide how many children to have, you can plan when you want to have children, you can decide how to space your children, planning family size and spacing helps protect your health and your children’s health, and it helps keep the whole family health.

Delano (1988:18) says that family planning is a means by which individuals or couples space the process of conception, pregnancy and childbirth at intervals mutually determined by both husband and wife in order to have the desired number of children that they can conveniently maintain.   He further said that family planning also assists couples who have difficulty in haring children.

Odunze (1990:57) categorizes family planning to be a decision for two people (husband and wife; caring for the entire family; knowing about one’s own body; setting standards; choosing a life style; and setting goals and planning to achieve them.

Justina; A local government health worker described family planning as a process through which couples choose and plans their fertility.   She went further to support that the process aids the couples to desire when to have, how to have them and what sex to have.

In simple terms, family planning is the ability to determine the number, time and space of child birth in order to protect the health of mothers and children and reduce ill health and early death among them.


          The population not only of the developing countries but also of the entire world is frowning at an alarming rate.   Professor Olukoye Ransome Kuti former health minister of Nigeria, during the launching of national population policy on December, 1989 notes that 27 national leaders signed a “statement on population stabilization” in which they said, “at present there are 76 million more birth them deaths in our planet each year”.   This phenomenon is caused by improved measured and high fertility rate.

The consequences of such population exposing, the professor notes will be the degradation of the world’s environment, income inequality and the potential for conflict already exit because of over consumption due to over population”

The reasons for family planning is thus, according to Professor Kuti, to

a)                 Improve the standard of living and quality of life of people.

b)                Promote health and welfare especially thought preventing premature deaths and illness among high-risk mothers and children.

c)                 Achieve a more even distribution of population between urban and rural area.


          There are numerous methods, which are used in accomplishing the family planning objective.

These methods are thus;

a)       Abstinence:–           This is keeping away completely from illicit sex and promiscuity.   In the life of couples it entail the partners staying away from sexual intercourse after child birth till when pregnancy is again needed.

b)      Contraceptive:-    This is the use of a routine procedure to lither prevent, delay or space pregnancies.   In other words, it is the process of regulating pregnancies when there are suspicious for pregnancy to occur.  Contraceptive method could be temporal or permanent. Temporal method prevents conception during the time the methods are being used but provide no obstacle to fertility when such methods are discontinued.  Examples of such method include I.U.D, Diaphram, foam, condom, rhythm and oral plus.

Permanent method of contraception when used reduces the reproductive capacity (except at times when there are pregnancies from failure rate).   Examples of such method include the surgical procedures which may be tubal ligtion (female sterilization) and vasectomy (male sterilization).

c)       Billings Method:-    Due to the side effect of contraceptive through biochemical reactions in the body, some medical practitioners and group now advocate this natural procedure which was named after the founder Dr. Billing a gynaecologist.   It is mainly the study of menstrual cycles to know the free and danger.


Consumer behaviour refers to all the activities or acts engaged by consumer in the process of satisfying his needs and wants.   It is whatever the consumer does overtly or covertly in the process of satisfying his needs and wants (Ozor 2002, P.9) while attitude in the other hand is seen as, an expression of inner feedings that reflect whether a person is favourably or unfavourably predisposed to some objects.   The object can be a brand of physical goods, a service and a retail establishment.

The effect of attitude in consumer behaviour could thus be seen as being pervasive and determines individual behaviour and reaction (Ibid P. 62).

Attitudes influence the lives of everyone and affect the ways in which individual judge and react towards other people, object and event.

This important role of consumer attitude has made its study and understanding elative to its effect on the adoption of products or services imperative.   Attitude develops through individual life time on the bases of information and experience (personal) acquired from the family, teachers, peer groups, religious organization, commercial and other media. Attitude is subjective and sometime in consonance with behaviour.   But at other times may not be in consonance with behaviour.   Attitude may be acquired or modified by influences raising from four principle sources viz.

i)                   Information exposure

ii)                Group membership

iii)              Environment

iv)              Want satisfaction

Ozor (2002:15 2 – 3) states that attitude serves the following functions;

a)                 The utilitarian function

b)                The value – Expressive function

c)                 The Ego – Defensive function

The organization of knowledge function by utilitarian.   It means that attitude guide consumer in achieving desired needs.

Value – Expression, attitudes relent individual self – concept basic values and benefits.  A consumer who is patriotic may have negative attitude to foreign goods.

Ego – defensive, individuals, are positively predisposed towards those object, product, or services that will protect and enhance their feelings about the selves and reject those that do not project their ego.

Organization of knowledge, by providing standards of reference with which to categories and evaluate, attitude to help us to understand the world around us.  This altitudinal structure is referred to as the “map of the world”.

The needs for basic understanding of attitude and its modifying variables have been stressed in many literatures.   Individual attitudes constantly undergo one form of change or the other.   Thus, consumer attitude could rightly be described as a process rather than out sparing through the entire spectrum of human existence.   In that way, consumer attitude formation derives from the various factors both internal and external that invariably accounts for individual behaviours.

Kotler (2000: 175) view attitude “as a person’s enduring favourable or unfavourable evaluations, emotional feelings and action tendencies towards some object or idea” these definitions, as noted earlier, are pointers to the fact that attitude, which is affected by both internal and external environmental variables, to a considerable extent determine consumer buying behaviour.   But the paramount issue for review is who are attitude acquired or formed?

Mahatoo (1985: 192) he observed that; “attitude develop through individual life time on the basis of intervention and experience acquired from the family per group, religious organization and other media”.

Chisnall (1978:66) in his contribution had noted that “attitude may be acquired or modified by influences arising from four principal source viz, information exposure, group membership, environment and want satisfaction”

Broadly speaking these sources or factors responsible for attitude formation and change could be categorized as psychological and environmental.   Several authorities including;

Mahatoo (1985:10 – 19) have identified learning, perception and motivation as psychological factors.

a)       Learning:-  Psychology is the study of individual human behaviour. Our study of consumer behaviour is therefore logically derived from this discipline.   Human behaviour as it was, is learned.   Learning begins from birth.   There have been two approaches to study of learning: the behaviourist and the cognitive learning theories.

The behaviourist approach postulates that every behaviour is reacted on the relationship between a stimulus and a response.   This stimulus can be internally or externally induced.   Learning begins where the response stops.

Cognitive learning is especially relevant to understanding how consumer learns about innovations or in understanding how new residents learns about product alternative (Ozor 2000:46 – 7) so to say, it is more humanistic in its approached of explanation.

Stanton (1982:110) thus sees learning as: “change in behaviour resulting from previous experiences.   However, by definition learning does not include behaviour changes attributable to instinctive responses, growth or temporal states of the organism such as hunger, fatigue and sleep”.

The task of marketing management is to continually communicate to the target audience to enhance the process of learning.  Also the prime task for marketer is to inform consumers through advertising and promotion about the merit of particular products in an attempt to influence purchase and this obviously involves a learning process on the part of the consumer.

b)      Perception:–           Perception and learning are greatly related, thus one affects the other to a reasonable degree.   Perception and learning are inter-related concepts.   As applied to marketing, perception means considerably more than seeing a hearing.   Perception has been of great importance to marketers, thus it has a great influence on consumer attitude.

Kotler (2000: 173) notes that “is the process by which an individual selects, organizes an interprets information inputs to create a meaningful picture of the world.

Perception is also seen as meaning we attribute, on the basis of past experiences, to stimuli as received through our five (Stanton 1982:91).

There are features of perception that effects consumer behaviour.   They are perceptional cues, perceptual selectivity, perceptual organization and perceptual thresholds.   Perceptual cues stimulus associations or symbols, that influences perception of a given stimulus, stores names, trend names, price packaging etc.

c)       Motivation:–        Human beings are consumers and have needs, these needs determines their action, which are directed towards satisfying the needs.   Thus individual motives are based on their various needs.   Individual needs differ likewise their motives.  The study of these as if affects eventually attitudes has become very imperative.

Mahatoo (1985:15) says that motivation deals with the way of individual behaviour … so the concept of need and motive contribute significantly to the understanding of consumer behaviour or attitude.   Such understanding is necessary in developing adverting appeals, arousing interest stimulation action and directing choice”.

Ozor (2002:58) described motivation as the driving force within individuals that impels them to action.   This driving force is produced by a state of tension which exist as the result of an unfilled need”.  Motivation is based on needs.   According to Maslow A. H. (1949) needs are ordered in hierarchy whereby a partial fulfillment of one leads to the emergence of the next.   He classified these needs, as the psychological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and the need for self-actualization.

d)      Personality:–          The personality of an individual determines his attitude, towards a market, product or service.   Personality as it were, is not determined by a single factor, but it is all embracing.

Stanton (1982:113) says that “personality is defined as an individual pattern of traits that are determinants of behavioural responses”. The personality of an individual consumer is derived from the combination of other variables such as learning, perception attitude, motivation etc.  These factors or variables find expression in a consumer in overall personality.  Mahatoo notes personality is an individual total make up.

In its real sense personality means distinguishing psychological characteristic that lead to relatively consistent and enduring responses to person environment (Kotler 2000:170).   This study has proved useful in understanding consumer attitude/behaviour.


          Marketing is essentially concerned with the identification and satisfaction of people’s need.  Kotler (2002:3), marketing people are involved in marketing ten types of entities; goods, services, experiences, events, performs, places, properties, organizations, information and ideas.   The above statement, which ranks service second in list, qualifies service marketing as area worthy to be researched.

As economics advance a growing proportion of their activities are focused on the production of services.   The USA economy, for instance consists of a 70 – 30 percent service to good mix.  Such services may include the works of the following: barbers, hotels, beauticians, maintenance and repairer professionals like accountants and just to mention a few (Edoga and Ani 2000:24).

They went further to pin-point that many market offerings consist of variable mix of goods and services.

The ultimate objective of any business organization is to successfully accomplish the exchange process thus the marketing services.   Blackwell (1978:10) defines marketing services as any activity, benefit or satisfaction that is offered for sales.   He sees it as been intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything.   As production may not be attached to its physical product.

Schew (1987:252) views service this way, “service can be defined as a deed, act or performance”.   Even though goods and services both attempt to satisfy consumers’ want and need, there are some important differences between these two classes of products.  From his own perspective he views services as an action to be carried out by the services provider in order to satisfy the need and want of the target customer.  Owning from his definition there exists some marked differences between the two road categories of products.   So to say a service is equally a product hence its capacity to satisfy human needs and wants.

Kotler (2000:428) trys to define service in a broader view, by saying that, it is better seen this way.   A service is any activity, benefit, or satisfaction that is offered for sale.  It is essentially intangible and does not result in the ownership of anything.   Its production may not tie to a physical product”.   He went further to enumerate such services as follows; renting hotel room, visiting a dentist, getting a hair-dressed, and haring your car repaired.  In his definition she embodies the real nature of service as distinct from physical goods.

Adirika et al, (1996:314) described primary service as transactions where the object of the transaction is other than the transfer of ownership of a tangible commodity.   He went further to categories them in accordance with their relation to physical product (eg), computer services with product attached to it, hotel accommodation in hotel rooms and finally, pure services like surgical operation or consultancies


          Certain characteristics of services have profound effect on their marketing.   These distinct characteristics differentiate it from physical goods.   Its satisfaction to customer rely mainly on direct action performed by the marketer while in physical goods it rely on materials object created by marketer of goods (Schew 1987:252).  Adirika et al, (1996:345) listed the basic four characteristics to include the following, intangibility, variability, inseparability and perishability.

Intangibility:–      By this they mean that services has no physical dimension, which can be seen or touched by the consumer before, during or after services purchase.   Therefore the service provider’s task is to “manage the Evidence to tangibilize the intangible” (Edoga 2000:2).

Perishability:–      Most services are consumed at the point of production and thus have very short life making than very perishable.   This entails that service cannot be stored.   The perishability nature is not a problem when the demand is steady.

Variability:–         Service products have a tendency of vary in quality and quantity where the production is labour intensive.   Their quality depends on who provides them, when and where they are provided.   Service firms can take two steps towards quality control.   They may select and train personnel, and secondly, check customer satisfaction through suggestion and complaint systems, customer surveys and comparison of shops.   This will help them stabilize the quality (Edoga 2000: 9 – 4).   This is to say that family planning service is highly affected by this variability factor.

Inseparability:-    This very feature of service means that production of service cannot be separated from the point of consumption.   This goes to shorten the life cycle of services and worsen the case of incomparability.   The inference from this is that client will always be present at point of service product.

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