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Introduction to Social Marketing

from International Social Marketing Association

About This Course

This course provides an indepth and hands-on introduction to Social Marketing, a proven behavior change discipline first distinguished in the early 1970s. It has had a profound impact on influencing citizen behaviors that:

  • Improve public health: Tobacco, HIV/AIDS, Obesity, Immunizations, Physical Activity, Malaria;
  • Prevent injuries: Traffic and Pedestrian Safety, Workplace Safety, Drowning Prevention;
  • Protect the environment: Water Quality, Water Conservation, Air Quality, Alternative Transportation, Energy Conservation, Waste Management, Fish and Wildlife Habitats, Stormwater Runoff;
  • Contribute to communities: Blood Donation, Crime Prevention, Literacy, Voting, Homelessness;
  • Enhance financial well-being: Retirement savings, College funding, Checking accounts for the poor.

Course Format

Each week, you will read, on average, 1-2 chapters in the assigned text, review (on your time) a narrated PowerPoint that offers an in-depth discussion of the assigned chapter(s), and a detailed description of the assigned Step in the 10 Step Planning Model to be completed that week. Once drafted, you will send a word document by end of Saturday of that week to the instructor who will provide feedback on your draft step by end of day on the following Tuesday. Upon final approval of your social marketing plan, you will receive a Professional Certificate of Completion from the iSMA.

There will also be 3 “Zoom” sessions where all registered participants in the course can connect and share questions and experiences.

Course Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the Social Marketing definition, planning process and keys to success.
  2. Identify appropriate applications for Social Marketing.
  3. Identify relevant methods and applications for marketing research.
  4. Learn a 10-step model for developing, implementing and evaluating a strategic social marketing campaign.
  5. Develop a social marketing plan


The required course text that you will read over the 12 weeks is:

Social Marketing: Behavior Change for Social Good (6th Edition)
Nancy R. Lee, Philip Kotler (SAGE Publications, 2019).

Course Expectations for Certificate of Completion

Upon final approval of your social marketing plan, you will receive a Professional Certificate of Completion iSMA.

  1. Reading assignments prior to each Online session.
  2. Complete viewing online sessions during week assigned.
  3. Submit draft steps for that week by end of week when step is presented.
  4. Learn a 10 step model for developing, implementing and evaluating a strategic social marketing campaign.
  5. Submit final 10 Step plan, by end of Week 12.

Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Nancy R. Lee

Nancy R. Lee, MBA, is president of Social Marketing Services, Inc., in Seattle, Washington, a strategic advisor for social marketing campaigns at C+C in Seattle, and teaching associate at the University of Washington , where she teaches social marketing in the MPA and MPH programs. With more than 30 years of practical marketing experience in the public and private sectors, Ms. Lee has held numerous corporate marketing positions, including vice president and director of marketing for Washington State’s second-largest bank and director of marketing for the region’s Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Ms. Lee has consulted with more than 100 nonprofit organizations and has participated in the development of more than 200 social marketing campaign strategies for public sector agencies. Clients in the public sector include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington State Department of Health, Office of Crime Victims Advocacy, county Health and Transportation Departments, Department of Ecology, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Washington Traffic Safety Commission, City of Seattle, and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Campaigns developed for these clients targeted issues listed below:

  • Health: COVID 19 targeted protective behaviors, teen pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, nutrition education, sexual assault, diabetes prevention, adult physical activity, tobacco control, arthritis diagnosis and treatment, immunizations, dental hygiene, senior wellness, and eating disorder awareness
  • Safety: texting and driving, drowning prevention, senior fall prevention, underage drinking and driving, youth suicide prevention, binge drinking, pedestrian safety, and safe gun storage
  • Environment: natural gardening, preservation of fish and wildlife habitats, recycling, trip reduction, water quality, and water and power conservation

She has conducted social marketing workshops around the world (Uganda, Jordan, South Africa, Ghana, Ireland, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Indonesia, India, Venezuela, Haiti) for more than 4,000 public sector employees involved in developing behavior change campaigns in the areas of health, safety, the environment, and financial well-being. She has been a keynote speaker on social marketing at conferences for improved water quality, energy conservation, family planning, nutrition, recycling, teen pregnancy prevention, influencing financial behaviors, wildfire prevention, and tobacco control.

Ms. Lee has coauthored fourteen books, twelve with Philip Kotler: Social Marketing: Improving the Quality of Life (2002); Corporate Social Responsibility: Doing the Most Good for Your Company and Your Cause (2005); Marketing in the Public Sector: A Roadmap for Improved Performance (2006); Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good (2008 and 2011); Social Marketing: Changing Behaviors for Good (2016): GOOD WORKS! Marketing and Corporate Initiatives That Build A Better World . . . And The Bottom Line (2012); Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution (2009); Social Marketing in Public Health (2010); and Social Marketing to Protect the Environment (2011 Policymaking for Citizen Behavior Change: A Social Marketing Approach (2017). More recently she and Kotler published the 6th edition of Social Marketing: Behavior Change for Social Good (2019), the text this course will use. She has also contributed articles to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Social Marketing Quarterly, Journal of Social Marketing, and The Public Manager.

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Enrollment in this course is by invitation only
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  • Course Length:

    15 weeks