Intermediate Environmental Social Marketing Strategy

This online course provides an intermediate-level focus on environmental social marketing strategies. Students will focus in detail on how to plan and implement a social marketing strategy, using 3-5 topics within social marketing of your choosing. 

This course is an intermediate complementary course to the online course “Environmental Communications for Behavior Change”, which provides a practical overview of a social marketing campaign.  We encourage students to take both classes; they are fundamentally different, yet complementary.

Next Course DatesOctober 22-December 14, 2018 

Updated web conference times: Mondays, 6:00-7:00 PM ET

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Contact with any questions. 


  • Early Registration – $825
  • Standard Registration – $850
  • Duke University Alumni Registration Rate (10% discount) – $743  
  • Limited partial rate discounts may be available to professionals with environmental education and outreach backgrounds – More information and application here       


Community Clean-up

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Environmental social marketing can be defined as the application of marketing techniques to bring about environmental behavior change. Most often when environmental professionals approach problems, they apply well-developed planning, management, engineering, and scientific principles to address their problems.  The premise of this course is that most environmental problems are caused by human behavior, and to address long-term solutions, that behavior needs to change.  

Social marketing is the most effective way to bring about this change in large groups.  The field of environmental social marketing brings together behavior change tools that can help with environmental enforcement; changing behavior when no policy or law exists to force that behavior; or even to help drive compliance with regulation.  Regardless of the problem, people need to be engaged and behaviors need to change. 

The course “Intermediate Environmental Social Marketing Strategy” provides environmental professionals with an in-depth focus on environmental social marketing strategies, and the latest in social marketing strategy development. Students will focus in detail on how to plan and implement a social marketing strategy. You will learn how to take your audience research and then develop a positioning statement – the strategic approach, the tactical steps of using marketing 4Ps to figure out the specific focus, and how to engage your creative team to get the messages, materials and placement necessary to execute a successful campaign.

This course is an intermediate complementary course to the online course “Environmental Communications for Behavior Change”, which provides a practical overview of a social marketing campaign.  We encourage students to take both classes; they are fundamentally different, yet complementary.

The course is seven weeks in length and is taught in an entirely online, distance learning format, with both asynchronous and synchronous portions. No campus visits are required.  

This course may be taken as part of the Environmental Communications Certificate program. Please note this a non-degree course and cannot be counted towards student credits. 

What Our Students Say: 

“With real world examples, this course is helping me craft my own focused campaign to change  behaviors and result in real world solutions.”  – Cheryl M. Calaustro

“The social marketing course delivered by Duke empowered me to think and act more effectively in marketing what I care about most, our environment” – Student Feedback Survey, 2016



Week 1: Technology Orientation and Materials Overview

This week the DEL staff will introduce the Webconference technology and walk-through the course material platform. Instructor Brian Day will introduce the course and assign first week readings and assignments. 

Week 2: Overview of Social Marketing Strategy

Week 3: Positioning

This week we will discuss why a positioning statement is critical and how to develop one.

Week 4: Marketing Mix – 4 P’s

This week we will discuss why these tactical steps are helpful and how to use them.

Note: There will be a 1-week break for Thanksgiving week. 

Week 5:  Creative Brief

This week will focus on how to communicate your strategy to your creative team.

Week 6: Pulling your strategy all together

Week 7: Students take this week to work on their final paper

In lieu of a formal class, Instructor Brian Day will host an online “office hours” session. Students may log in to ask questions or receive feedback on their final projects. Final paper is due at the end of Week 7.


This course will require 40 hours over the 7-week class period.  Time will include:

  • Five synchronous web-conference sessions (one each for weeks 1, 3, 5, 6,and 7) where students and instructor will address the week’s theme and materials.
    Please note: Meeting times will not be determined until registration is closed. Times depend on registrant availability, which will be elicited via email to registrants.
  • Discussion via online conferencing tools, including discussion.  Participation will be encouraged through the posing of various questions based on readings, previous discussion, and future directions of the class.  In addition to exploring general course topics, web discussion tools will also allow students to work through issues related to their paper topic – exploring opportunities and selecting the correct strategies with help from others in the class and instructor’s guidance.
  • Reading of assigned materials.
  • Creation of, and response to, final paper assignment actually designing a social marketing program for an issue and target audience of the student’s choosing.

Please note: While specific components of outlined class structure may change, it will be expected that students commit to 40 hours over the 7-week class period. 


Class Participation
One of the most critical elements of this class will be your personal contribution to the course through consistent postings to discussion board, as well as participation during web-conference meetings.  You will receive specific instructions for this requirement before the course commences.

Papers:  A Social Marketing Strategy Addressing a Real Issue
This papers will include two short papers (about 2 pages each) and issue specific strategy for a very specific audience as a practical application of lessons from this course, translating what you learn into a usable strategy for yourself and/or other professionals in the field.  The paper must address a real problem and real barriers and be able to be implemented within the reasonable set of resources of the players for whom you propose the strategy.  Assignment details will be given at the beginning of the class.

Brian A. Day is a well-recognized environmental educator and communicator with over 35 years experience in more than 30 countries. He is a leading authority in environmental social marketing and has extensive social marketing experience and consulting for global conservation organizations. Brian is Editor of Applied Environmental Education and Communication, a peer-reviewed journal published by Taylor and Francis. Brian has taught graduate and undergraduate courses for the University of Michigan, and undergraduate courses for American University, Wayne State University, and the Washington Center.  Brian has created a diversity of programs, initiated and provided communications training to thousands, and has raised well over $60 million for environmental programs.


We understand that participants have different comfort levels with online learning coming into this course.  We are happy to answer any questions you have about online learning in general and our online learning software.

Internet Access
Course participants need to arrange to have reliable internet access through their local internet service provider (ISP).  We encourage participants to arrange for broadband access to the internet via a cable modem, DSL, or a satellite connection.  Dial-up or slower connections will not work as effectively for this course.  We cannot provide support for your network connection, nor can we help you with any home networking equipment such as firewalls, routers, or switches.  For any of those issues, you will want to contact your ISP directly.

Distance Learning Software
The course will be facilitated using distance learning software and WebEx.  Duke staff will be available during the course to assist you with any Canvas-related course issues.  Contact information will be provided with your pre-course packet. The distance learning software will be available to you free of charge (except for USB head-set for webinar participation).


Prior to the course start date, you will need to purchase the course textbook and USB head-set for webinar participation (note: this is not included in the course tuition). The course text book is Social Marketing: Influencing Behaviors for Good by Lee and Kotler 5th Edition. The textbook is available in a Kindle version or hardcopy, either is acceptable. If you have any questions regarding the textbook email Also, because this course will be held via online virtual classroom, we recommend that you use a USB headset with microphone so that you can participate in real time with voice over internet. We recommend purchasing the Logitech H330 USB Headset for the webinar participation.


Payment is due upon receipt of invoice or no less than 15 days before the start of the course. If special arrangements must be made for payment due to agency requirements, you must contact our office no less than 15 days prior to the start of the course at to complete and submit a payment due notice form.

Failure to make payment arrangements 15 days prior to the start of the course may result in the forfeit of your seat and you will be held responsible for the full tuition of the course. Future registrations will not be accepted from individuals with unpaid invoices.

Course certificates will not be provided until payment is received.

Cancellation & Transfer Policy
All speakers and companies listed have confirmed their participation. If for unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances a speaker cannot attend, instructional time will be filled with comparable instructors. If a course is canceled due to insufficient registrations, tuition will be refunded. Duke cannot be held responsible for travel costs or arrangements made by participants.

Cancellation of registration requires 15 days written notice prior to course start date in order to receive a refund (please submit notification to Individuals who do not attend and fail to send written notice prior to the deadline will be charged the full tuition. You may send a substitute to attend the course in your place, however, a $100.00 administrative fee will be assessed for this change, regardless of when written notice is submitted. Any cancellation or substitute request must be received in writing.

  • 15 or more days prior to the course start date – Full tuition refund, minus a $100 administrative fee.
  • Less than 15 days prior to the course start date – Full tuition is assessed and a refund is forfeited.
  • Substitute within your organization can attend in your place for an additional $100.00 administrative fee.

In order to receive a refund, you must cancel your registration (in writing to by 5:00 pm on the refund deadline date for the course.