Purpose – This paper seeks to draw from services marketing theory as an alternative and under-used
pathway to social and behaviour change for the achievement of societal well-being. Social marketing services
are an important part of social change programmes as they contribute towards service users’ health, wellbeing,
and the fulfilment of social marketing goals. However, value destruction can occur in users’ service
experiences, leading to a decline rather than improvement of their well-being. The purpose of this paper is to
understand the nature of the value destruction process and identify the outcomes in social marketing services
from a consumer’s perspective.
Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative exploratory study using a focus group (n = 4) and
individual depth interview (n = 4) methods was undertaken. The discussions were guided by a semistructured
interview guide and were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim.
Findings – Thematic analysis of the data revealed two value destruction processes: incongruent resource
application and misuse of firm resources. The value destruction processes suggest three types of outcomes:
reduced usage of the service, termination of service and strategic behavioural actions.
Originality/value – This study is the first to examine value destruction processes and outcomes in social
marketing services from a consumer’s perspective. This study contributes towards the small but growing
body of research on value destruction in both commercial and social marketing by challenging the
assumption that value creation is always positively valenced and responding to critique that there is currently
insufficient focus on value destruction in service research and its impact on well-being.