Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

Social Marketing Resources

Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Web Course
This course provides training for public health professionals about how to use social marketing to plan nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention programs.

What is social marketing?

One traditional definition of social marketing is—

"The application of commercial marketing technologies to the analysis, planning, execution, and evaluation of programs designed to influence voluntary behavior of target audiences in order to improve their personal welfare and that of society."
Andreasen, AR. Marketing Social Change: Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development, and the Environment. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1995.

A commercial marketer looks for ways to convince customers to purchase a product. Similarly, a social marketer tries to influence the behavior of a target audience.

Why use social marketing?

Social marketing can be thought of as a mindset used in planning and partnership development, or a structured and strategic planning process. It can be used to influence the behavior of individuals or the behavior of policymakers and influential persons for policy and environmental changes.

The structured planning process allows you to make well-informed decisions about what audiences to target, what are their specific needs, and how you can meet those needs. The development of programs or products to effectively change behavior can be accomplished by understanding your audience.

The process for social marketing planning is described in the Division for Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity’s Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Web course and CDCynergy: Social Marketing.

CDC Social Marketing Resources

Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Web Course
The Social Marketing for Nutrition and Physical Activity Web course trains public health professionals in the basics of social marketing with an emphasis on implementing nutrition and physical activity social marketing programs. The course includes the following seven modules: Social Marketing Basics, Problem Description, Formative Research, Strategy Development, Intervention Design, Evaluation, and Implementation. Students have a chance to interact with and provide advice to a fictional program planner who is struggling with common challenges. The course includes tips for working with limited resources, worksheets, a glossary, and links to multiple resources.

CDCynergy: Social Marketing Edition, Version 2.0
CDCynergy: Social Marketing Edition is a training and decision-support tool designed to help public health professionals systematically plan social marketing programs within a health context. It contains case examples illustrating the social marketing planning approach and a wealth of reference resources and materials. The enhanced Version 2.0 retains the popular features of the original, and adds a test your knowledge feature, more step-by-step support and user friendly interface, greater interactivity, global search capabilities, and updated and streamlined content.

Obesity Prevention Coordinators' Social Marketing Guidebook (PDF-2.6Mb)
The guidebook developed by the Florida Prevention Research Center at the University of South Florida provides instruction on how to coordinate a social marketing intervention for nutrition, physical activity, or obesity prevention. It includes worksheets, tools, and information to help in the management and coordination of a social marketing program. The guidebook is supplemental to CDCynergy: Social Marketing Edition and adds practical tips and information specific to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity.

Case Studies in Social Marketing
These case studies provide examples of how states have used social marketing to plan nutrition and physical activity interventions.

Segmenting Audiences to Promote Energy Balance: A Resource Guide for Health Professionals(PDF-1.8Mb)
This resource guide describes audience segmentation and five energy balance segments developed from Porter Novelli’s ConsumerStyles© and HealthStyles© survey databases. The segmentation framework categorizes U.S. adults according to attitudes and behaviors regarding nutrition, physical activity, and weight control. The guide also includes an application section, detailed data tables, and a 10-question survey with analysis tools that classifies respondents into one of the five segments.
One analysis tool mentioned in the resource guide is the MS Excel Segment Analysis Tool. (XLS-26k) Because this tool is not found in the PDF document it is included here as a separate link. See Appendix D of the PDF file for more information about the Excel tool and how to use it.

Other Social Marketing Resources and Links

National Social Marketing Centre
The National Social Marketing Centre—a strategic partnership of the Department of Health and the National Consumer Council from the United Kingdom—has a Web site with a variety of resources for social marketing. These resources include an independent review of the effectiveness of social marketing, documents, presentations, and other reports.

Turning Point Social Marketing National Excellence Collaborative
The mission of this collaborative is to provide national leadership to achieve social marketing integration as a routine part of public health practice at all levels. This Web site includes a Social Marketing 101 online PowerPoint presentation and a social marketing resource guide.

Social Marketing in Public Health Conference and Field School
This annual conference is designed for public health professionals and health educators in a variety of settings. Topics and speakers are selected to elaborate on key elements of the social marketing approach and to illustrate how social marketing can be applied to a wide variety of public health topics. The conference includes in-depth trainings and workshops at the introductory and intermediate levels. The University of South Florida offers the Social Marketing in Public Health Field School in addition to the annual conference. The Field School is a selection of courses offered in an intensive 4- to 7-day format.

Center for Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Social Marketing
The Center was established to enhance social marketing strategies to improve nutrition and physical activity behaviors related to preventing cancer and other chronic diseases. In addition to basic social marketing information, this Web site provides lectures, case studies, and resources specific to social marketing’s application to nutrition and physical activity issues.

PDF Document Icon Please note: Some of these publications are available for download only as *.pdf files. These files require Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to be viewed. Please review the information on downloading and using Acrobat Reader software.

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    24 Hours/Every Day
  • Contact CDC-INFO The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC-INFO