This OpenLearn unit represents a subset of the material covered in 'Marketing and Society', a new couse offered by the Open University Business School. The intent of this unit is to examine the "nature of social marketing and how the adoption of marketing concepts, frameworks, and techniques developed for commercial marketers can be applied to the solution of social problems".
Type of Material:
This material is identified as an 'open textbook', but this reviewer views it as more of a lecture and self-paced tutorial on social marketing.
The material could be used as supplemental material for any marketing course where social marketing is (or should be) emphasized. The material also has value as a reference for someone teaching social marketing. This module exposes students to a new breakthrough area of marketing. Also, exploring the ethical component may help to fulfill the ethical content requirement of many introductory marketing classes.
The user needs basic Internet browsing capabilities. Some embedded activities require adobe acrobat.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
As identified by the material author, the learning outcomes are to:
1. describe and explain the meaning and nature of social marketing;
2. analyze social marketing problems and suggest ways of solving these;
3. recognize the range of stakeholders involved in social marketing programs and their role as target markets;
4. assess the role of branding, social advertising and other communications in achieving behavioral change.
Target Student Population:
The material is appropriate for both undergraduate and graduate marketing or business students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Sufficient explanation of basic marketing principles is provided. Therefore, the material is appropriate to anyone regardless of exposure to marketing.
The material is well organized and includes a unit overview and concluding unit questions along with discussions of the nature of social marketing, understanding consumer behavior, stakeholders and target markets, and the role of communications and branding in social marketing programs. Interesting activities (i.e., case studies and discussion questions) are embedded in the material. This is an area of marketing that is becoming more and more important so the information provided for the students is highly relevant. A very brief introduction to marketing is included in the module. Basic concepts in consumer behavior are also already included in the class.
Social marketing is a topic that lends itself to lots of engaging examples. This unit very rarely pulls in such examples. As such, students would likely find the unit 'dry'. Also, several of the topics veer off into basic marketing principles and are loosely tied into the focal topic, social marketing. For instance, the section on 'understanding consumer behavior' is just a basic primer on consumer behavior. While consumer behavior knowledge is important, in the context of a social marketing unit, its relevance to social marketing should be clear. In many ways, the material has more of a principles of marketing focus with periodic references to social marketing. Figures such as Mendelow's matrix did not appear on the screen. These missing figures diminish the quality somewhat.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The material is well-organized and clearly presented. Users would not be distracted with how to use the material and should instead be able to focus on the core material. The course provides the background needed to understand material presented later in the class. By progressively going through each section, the student completes the course step by step.
It is unclear as to how an instructor would effectively utilize this material. The focus is too simplistic to serve as a foundation for a course on social marketing. Further, the material is 'dry', and thus, does not seem to add value as a supplemental course text. Certainly, there is value as a basic reference tool for individuals interested in learning a bit more about social marketing. However, for a marketing instructor, the value is less apparent.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
A list of all the topics and subtopics is provided conveniently at the left side of the main screen, making it easy to click on a topic of interest immediately. The material is very user-friendly. All links are functional.
There can sometimes be problems navigating around the screens since clicking on a topic or subtopic in the left tool bar sometimes requires clicking and going back more than once to get connected properly to the next screen.
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