Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to argue for an integrative model of social enterprises (SE) and social marketing (SM) to usher in desirable change, instead of the currently adopted either/or approach. We offer the shadow framework to integrate these two paradigms in the context of peace-building organizations. Design/methodology/approach: Using purposive sampling strategy, 19 cases of peacebuilding initiatives were identified and reviewed from secondary sources. Ashoka Fellows working in the domain of peacebuilding, along with a few other exemplary cases across the globe were considered. Findings: We found an emerging typology of three forms in the organizational responses to peacebuilding initiatives: (a) pure charity-driven work, (b) dual structure of charity plus business enterprises, and (c) social enterprises with distinct revenue model. Research limitations/implications: Building upon previous theoretical research, we find a lot of merit in SEs adopting the SM toolkit. We contribute to theory building by showing the interaction between paradox theory and stakeholder marketing in the context of SEs dealing with wicked problems such as peacebuilding. Consequently, we propose a shadow social marketing (SSM) model that would camouflage the real offering of peace through an apparent offering that would be non-controversial in nature and result in moderate-importance small wins for the multiple stakeholders involved with conflicting interests. Practical implications: From a managerial perspective, chances of success of the desired social change increases by complementing the efforts of SEs through the SM toolkit. Organizationally, although all the three forms of peacebuilding initiatives can benefit from systematic usage of the SSM, they need to reframe their efforts toward those that are not pro-peace, rather than preach to the converted. Consequently, the answer may lie in efforts at building cultural sensitivity to promote entrepreneurship amongst such target groups amongst such target groups in conflicting communities, with an organizational form that successfully marries SEs and SM. Originality/value: Though previous scholarship mentions the need for finding complementarities between social marketing objectives and social enterprise missions, no paper yet has suggested a roadmap for achieving it. This paper highlights an integrative plan that, in this specific case of peacebuilding initiatives, or social enterprises in general, can leverage to evolve better organizational practices, improve financial sustainability and measurable impact to effect the desired social change. © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.