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Social marketing

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This course examines the nature of social marketing, and how marketing concepts, frameworks and techniques developed for commercial marketers can solve social marketing problems. It provides tools and ideas to help you apply social marketing to your own context – examining consumer behaviour, social marketing planning, situational and stakeholder analysis, segmentation and targeting, research, marketing mix, relationship marketing and evaluation. The course will benefit those working within organisations seeking to effect social change or address specific social issues such as travel planning and health initiatives; including consultants working in appropriate professional contexts. 

Register for the course

This course is available for study in the countries shown. Fees may vary by country.

Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register
Start End Fee* Register
See description £495.00 Click to register

*Fees may vary by country.


What you will study

This course examines why social marketing is necessary in a range of social issues and organisational contexts. You will work at your own pace through a variety of activities that enable you to apply your learning to your own role.

You will learn how to:

  • describe and explain the meaning and nature of social marketing
  • explain how social marketing techniques and concepts can achieve behavioural change
  • analyse social marketing problems and suggest ways of solving these
  • prepare a social marketing plan for achieving a specific social objective
  • apply marketing tools and techniques, e.g. market segmentation and targeting; marketing mix frameworks; relationship marketing approaches to a range of social issues and organisational contexts.

The strong link between course learning and your work practice creates relevant, enduring and transferable outcomes. The course will take 30 hours to study. The online content includes activities that provide you with an opportunity to test your knowledge or apply your learning and ideas in practice. It also contains a course ebook, Social Marketing (2007) written by Professor Gerard Hastings. The book explains the principles, techniques and potential of the concept of social marketing. Register online today and start tomorrow – no need to wait!

The course features the distinctive strengths of The Open University (OU) from its years of expertise in work-based learning:

  • The convenience of accessing its clearly presented and sequenced materials, activities and support whenever suits you and wherever you have access to the dedicated website – if you prefer, you can print key materials to work on them offline.
  • The support of an expert learning adviser who can clarify study materials, answer questions and help you relate the course to your specific needs.
  • A work-based activity helping you to connect the course to your individual and organisational context and needs. At the end of the course you send this to the learning adviser, who provides personal feedback.
  • Certification of completion from the OU for those who complete the course. You can use this to demonstrate your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity to your employer and/or professional body. (N.B. The course does not carry academic credit points.)


Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some familiarity with the subject.
For each course you can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course. Information about the submission date is available when you register for the course.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to talk to the Student Registration and Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.

Study materials

What's included

Once you register, you will receive access to the online course where you will find the content, exercises, case study, information about the work-based activity and links to your learning adviser. There are no printed materials with this course, although there are some articles that you can download to print and read offline if you prefer.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the GB017 forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

For the work-based activity for this course you are invited to choose one of two options, both of which draw on the work you have done and link to your area of responsibility. The options include either a presentation or a report suitable for delivery to colleagues in your organisation.

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the course enables us to recognise your achievement of the course learning by issuing an OU certificate that you can use to document your commitment to continuing professional development in your personal portfolio, or to provide evidence to employers or professional body.

About this course:
Course code GB017
Credit points This is a non-credit bearing course.

Your questions

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