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University of Pennsylvania

Selling Ideas: How to Influence Others, and Get Your Message to Catch On

University of Pennsylvania and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania via edX Professional Education


Word of mouth is 10x as effective as advertising, and companies are shifting more of their marketing dollars to social media and word of mouth marketing as a result. Small businesses and entrepreneurs want to help their businesses grow but don’t have the money for big marketing campaigns. Word of mouth can help them grow for less money. But for all these efforts to be successful, managers have to understand how to get people to talk and share.

This course provides a step-by-step guide to getting anything to catch on.

  • How does a product’s name, price, or other attributes change how people perceive it?
  • What makes ideas memorable and message stick?
  • How can we increase our influence and shape others’ behavior?
  • Why is word of mouth ten times as effective as traditional advertising and how can we get people to talk about and share our product or idea?
  • How can we leverage the power of social media and what are the right metrics to pay attention to?

You’ll learn the answer to these, and numerous other questions, while learning how all sorts of different businesses, from B2C to B2B, for-profits to non-profits, and large to small, have applied these insights to drive their success.

By the end of this course you’ll be able to craft contagious content, build stickier messages, leverage social media, and make any product or idea catch on. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, an employee in a big business, or leading a non-profit, this course will provide a roadmap to help you make your stuff more successful.

This course is especially useful for:

  • Marketing managers
  • Small business owners
  • Product managers
  • Entrepreneurs or start-up founders
  • Leading a non-profit
  • Social media managers
  • Advertising executives

This course is part of Wharton's Digital Marketing Professional Certificate. For more information, see here.


Module 1: Consumer Psychology: Exposure, Perception, Memory Exposure Attention Perception Memory Retrieval

Module 2: What Makes Ideas Sticky 
Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotion Stories  

Module 3: How Social Influence Shapes Behavior
Conformity Do      People Always Do the Same as Others? Implications of Divergence

Module 4: The Power of Word of Mouth
What Drives Word of Mouth Social Currency Triggers Emotion Public Practical Value Stories Summary

Module 5: Social Networks Network Effects How Networks Shape the Spread of Information Who to Target Types of Ties

Taught by

Jonah Berger


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