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Social Marketing


Suggs L. S.

Course director


Course description
Social marketing focuses on creating social change and social innovation through behavior change achived through effective communication, policy, and environmental changes. It addresses health, environment, policy, sustainability and other social issues.
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the principles, practices, and evidence in the discipline of Social Marketing. It aims to provide students with an understanding of the theoretical as well as practical aspects of Social Marketing.
Key concepts, conceptual frameworks, and theories in social marketing and their implications on social issues will be examined through a problem centered approach to learning. Thus, students will not only listen to lectures and read academic papers, policy reports, news articles, and other public communication, they will also do hands-on work to gain valuable lessons that come from experiential learning.

Throughout the course, students will be provided with real-life social issues and will learn to use Social Marketing to address them. They will learn from theory and case histories to understand problems, identify strategies for improving these issues and develop critical thinking on social marketing principles and practices. Students will work both individually and in groups to critically analyze problems and potential solutions. Teams will share processes, challenges, changes in thinking, and outcomes throughout the course, and receive feedback from instructors and peer groups.

Required material
Required papers: A schedule for when you should have read papers/reports/news will be available on iCorsi. Below is just a sample of papers you will need to read. They are selected because they are helpful in understanding social marketing.
Additional resources (some required others recommended) will be posted to iCorsi that cover a variety of:

  • social issues (e.g., gender equality, social inclusion, health challenges, environment, xenophobia, social justice, responsible institutions, biodiversity, sustainability), 
  • settings (e.g., workplace, community, government, business, etc.), perspectives (marketing, promotion, public management, ethics, communication, economics), 
  • techniques (e.g., education, nudging, informing, supporting, design, enforcing), and countries (all across the world, including high-, middle- and low-income countries).


Course objectives
Upon completion of Social Marketing students will know:
1. The development of Social Marketing as a discipline
2. The principles and key concepts of social marketing
3. The importance of situational analysis
4. The role of exchange
5. How to conduct formative research
6. The importance of quality evaluation
Upon completion of Social Marketing, students will be able to:
1. Describe Social Marketing
2. Understand causes of social problems
3. Conduct a situation analysis
4. Describe prominent theories in social marketing
5. Develop a monitoring and evaluation plan
6. Develop an implementation plan
7. Address real-life, local social issues with a social marketing framework
8. Demonstrate critical thinking about social marketing concepts and principles
9. Write a detailed proposal for a social marketing project

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

Learning methods
Lectures will be coupled with problem-based learning and case study methods of teaching. Students will be introduced to real-life social issues that they will then study and address during the course through in class study, assigned readings and assessments. Learning is reinforced by constructive feedback during class discussions synchronous and asynchronous; online and offline.

Examination information

Examination information
The mark for this course will consist of:

  • 30% work during semester. Students will be assigned activities (well described in writing on icorsi at least 14 days before they are due) accumulating to 30% of the course final mark.
  • 70% individual examination during the exam period. Administered online and composed of short answers, multiple choice questions, and case studies.

Note: The best way to do well in this course is to attend “class” and actively participate. Everything on the exam will be covered in class and the readings; the topics are listed in the learning objectives. Not every answer will be written on a slide that is distributed. If you miss a class, you are responsible for all content covered in class and you must get this from a peer, not the Professor or Assistant.