10 Places to Find Free Marketing Courses Online

Marketing can be any way in which entrepreneurs and businesses seek to inform potential customers about their products. Whether you are a student or you've got a product to sell, check out these ten great free or low-cost online resources to learn more about marketing.

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Online Marketing Courses for College Credit

Free online marketing courses employ media such as videos, audio podcasts, assignments, lecture notes, web content and quizzes that allow students to learn the material at their own pace. Online students should note that free marketing courses do not generally result in academic credit.

Study.com offers an affordable option to online students who want to earn academic credit but would like to forgo the significant expense associated with enrolling in a traditional postsecondary course. For a small fee, registered members can watch short, illustrated video lessons and assess their mastery of the course material with multiple-choice quizzes. Each course also includes lesson transcripts, and both formats can be used to earn an alternative form of college credit.

Chapters in the Business 102: Principles of Marketing course include:

  • Marketing Philosophies and Ethics - Get an introduction to marketing terminology and the types of market orientation. Lessons also explore cause-related marketing and the social responsibility of corporations.
  • The Marketing Environment - Learn how social values and beliefs factor into marketing strategies. Discover the impact of legal and political environments as well as foreign and domestic competition.
  • Managing a Product and Retailing - Instructors discuss new product categories and their developmental stages, along with product life cycles and classes of product adopters.
  • Selling and Pricing Strategy - Discover factors affecting pricing strategies and objectives, and learn steps in the selling process. Lessons also explain such terms as pricing cost, price selection and price elasticity.

Free Online Marketing Courses

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Undergrad and graduate-level business students can find a handful of marketing courses in MIT's OpenCourseWare service, which provides free and open access to thousands of courses previously offered at the university. Included are most of the materials used in the course, such as the syllabus, readings, activities and projects, videos, lectures, and exams.

  • Entrepreneurial Marketing: This graduate-level course looks at the basic restraints facing entrepreneurs interested in marketing and selling products. In seven modules, students learn about sustaining competitive advantages, market research, creating a new market, overcoming market resistance, pricing tools and managing customers. This course employs various media for online students, including lecture notes, assignments and a list of readings. Students should note that all readings may not be available for free online.
  • Marketing Management: Analytics, Frameworks, and Applications: Originally offered to graduate students in 2015, this course covers marketing analysis, planning skills, and related concepts in the field. Students can practice solving problems and making decisions based on marketing analytics, with material and cases based on smaller ventures to large firms. This course includes all the relevant readings, plus the spreadsheets that students need to use with the course exercises.
  • Marketing, Microchips and McDonalds: Debating Globalization: This undergraduate course takes an anthropological look at marketing on a global scale. What does globalization mean and what effects does it have on people, cultures and places? This course explores the forms and transformative effects globalization may have regarding economics, media and human populations. Includes several readings, two essay assignments and a final paper.

2. Kutztown University

Kutztown University's Small Business Development Center offers several free online courses for business owners, students and anyone else who may be interested in business-related topics, such as management, finance, business law and marketing. These courses, developed in conjunction with the SBA, IRS and SmallBizU, consist of slides and videos that may be completed at any pace. Access is free, after creating an account with SmallBizU and completing a brief survey.

  • Marketing 101: This is a three-hour course that goes over the basics of marketing, including the four P's, product, promotion, price and place. These materials incorporate animated slides with audio narration to help students learn about the subject. Course topics include goods, services, needs, wants, customer research, business research and estimating market size.
  • Positioning: Learn about product positioning and how it can help you communicate with prospective customers via marketing. This course explains how to develop and deploy effective product positioning strategies to get into the minds of your customers, while highlighting positioning mistakes and case studies. This two-hour course comes presented as an easy-to-follow Powerpoint slideshow.

3. American Marketing Association

The American Marketing Association (AMA) is a professional organization that serves the needs of those who work in and study advertising, marketing, branding and related industries. Members and non-members alike may find an up-to-date and informative multimedia library that covers today's most important industry issues. The AMA website also hosts on-demand webcasts and brief video lessons that explore today's marketing hot topics and issues, plus valuable insights from industry leaders.

  • All About Marketing Automation - What It Is & Why It Works: This on-demand webcast joins Mike Madden, Head of Commercial Demand Generation at Marketo, in a lively discussion about triggered campaigns. What are triggered campaigns and how can these be used to maximum effect with your business? Madden provides definitions and innovative use cases that emphasize timely and relevant marketing to potential buyers.
  • What are the Skills Marketers Need to Stay Relevant and Marketable?: This five-minute video is but one example of the many videos hosted on AMA's YouTube channel, most of which are brief but informative, and cover a range of current issues. In this clip, Camille Fetter of TalentFoot gives a rundown of the skills needed for today's marketing professionals in order to stay ahead of the game, such as technology skills and a knowledge of marketing automation.

4. Pepperdine University

Marketing students may study current issues of interest through blogs and podcasts hosted by Pepperdine University's Graziadio Business Review, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Graziadio School of Business and Management. Since 1998, this journal has published articles and research dealing with common problems in business situations, including those that involve marketing.

  • How to Create Advocates with Loyalty: As part of the Graziadio Business Review online blog, marketing students may also listen to this free podcast, which looks at customer loyalty and branding issues. The talk discusses important issues such as the Socially, Environmentally and Ethically Responsible (SEER) model, implementing core values, maintaining loyalty and making emotional connections.
  • The Elevator Pitch: You've Got 30 Seconds … or Less!: The Graziadio Business Review blog also hosts many interesting and brief articles covering unique issues in marketing, such as this feature from Kyle C. Murphy about generating a great elevator pitch. Murphy lays out the do's and don't's of developing and testing an effective company or product pitch, even when you only have thirty seconds to say it.

5. WordStream

WordStream is a large online advertising firm that helps business owners and agencies generate traffic through search engine optimization, social media and other modern strategies. Marketing professionals with a practical interest in this area of the industry can visit WordStream's website for free white papers and webinars that cover common pitfalls and hot button issues faced by today's online advertisers.

  • Oops! I Ruined My AdWords Account!: This is an hour-length video webinar, and just one of the many webinars available for free from WordStream. Follow PPC expert Jeff Stevens as he demonstrates what not to do with your AdWords account, using real examples to show how you can turn a keyword or ad copy mistake into a success story. Learn how to improve your performance by optimizing and maintaining your account, setting realistic goals, and understanding metrics.
  • PPC 101: A Beginner's Guide to PPC: WordStream is now offering the first installment of its pay-per-click marketing course absolutely free. Aimed at the online marketing newbie, this course defines the most important terms and lays out the fundamentals of PPC advertising, like keywords, click-through rates, quality scores, optimization and more. This course may be accessed through WordStream's website or downloaded for free after filling out a brief survey.

6. Stanford University

Stanford University's eCorner presents free articles, podcasts, videos and highlights for business and marketing students, organized into thematic collections focusing on Innovation, Startups, Culture and Strategy. eCorner is especially geared towards those interested in entrepreneurship, featuring material from Stanford University courses related to this field.

  • Consumers and Brands in the Digital Age: Another episode in eCorner's Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series, this video lecture features Tina Wells, founder and CEO of Buzz Marketing Group. Listen to her experiences in the industry and her insights on branding, marketing ethics, spotting trends and engaging audiences.

7. The Open University

Based in the United Kingdom, the Open University has provided distance education to students all over the world since 1969. Now, you can study courses in a range of subjects and difficulty levels, including marketing, for free with the OU's OpenLearn program. These courses consist of readings that you can print or download onto a mobile device, plus activities and quizzes when accessed through a free OpenLearn account.

  • Innovation, Markets and Industrial Change: This is an intermediate level course that looks at the roles of production and sales on shaping markets. Topics covered include technology, costs, industry life cycles and network externalities as they relate to markets. Figures and short quizzes are used to help learners better understand course content. This course is self-paced but should take about 15 hours of study (or, roughly three hours per chapter) to complete.
  • Social Marketing: Learn about how conventional marketing frameworks and techniques may be used to promote social campaigns and solutions. Using such examples as AIDS awareness, smoking bans and nutrition campaigns, this advanced course examines the different ways social marketing and branding can effect behavioral changes in human communities. This course takes an average of eight hours to complete.

8. Ohio State University

OSU's South Centers College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences hosts a direct marketing website to facilitate access to agricultural marketing resources. This website offers many direct marketing webinars, allowing students to gather expert knowledge on marketing trends and practices. Audio and video podcasts are produced monthly and cover topics such as consumer trends, direct marketing strategies and more. Users must have Adobe Flash installed to access these podcasts.

  • Marketing Lessons Learned from the Super Bowl: Join Eric Barrett as he covers advertising techniques and trends seen during the 2017 Super Bowl, how these trends can relate to your business or social media and how you can take advantage of the latest advertising techniques. Aimed especially towards farm owners, this webcast discusses how to interpret and employ big-budget advertising strategies and messages for a more local scale.
  • Managing Negative Feedback: Learn the right way to handle negativity with Rob Leeds and Jacci Smith. Online feedback and reviews can be important for your reputation, especially if you are running or marketing a smaller business. This webinar covers what to do if you or your company receives negative feedback and what not to do, and includes topics in reviewer credibility, influence and effectiveness.

9. Northwestern University

Northwestern University offers a five-course series in social media marketing through Coursera. This is a self-paced series and may be started any time. Most courses on Coursera are fee-optional and can be audited for free. This means that you may read and view the course content but you will not get a certificate of completion. Courses include:

  • The Importance of Listening: Students analyze the significance of communication while receiving an introduction to concepts such as data extraction and social marketing.
  • The Engagement & Nurture Marketing Strategies: Learn about effective social media marketing strategies and what makes them work so well, plus metrics, infographics, strategies and more. Students then create a blog that demonstrates the concepts learned in this course.
  • Content, Advertising, and Social IMC: This covers importance of social media marketing and examines strategies for developing innovative marketing approaches that will succeed in the modern media landscape.

10. Liberty University

Based in Lynchburg, VA, Liberty University was founded in 1971 and aims to provide Christ-centered higher education for residential and online students all over the world. Liberty has now made many of its online courses free to access and download through iTunesU. While these podcast courses do not offer college credit, they may be loaded onto any Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad, and completed at any pace.

  • Direct Marketing Communication: This undergraduate course presents a thorough study of fundamental concepts and principles related to direct and interactive marketing communication. Topics in this course include direct mail design, digital media, advertising, and telemarketing scripts.
  • Marketing Research: In this business course, graduate students can learn the foundations of marketing research techniques, with topics in theory and evaluation, plus practical applications. This course features eight brief (under ten minutes) sessions in market research analysis, metrics, tools and more.
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