National Social Marketing Centre

Learning demonstration sites

When The NSMC was launched in December 2006, the field of social marketing was just emerging in England. To help build the evidence base for social marketing, a three-year National Learning Demonstration Sites Scheme was established by The NSMC in April 2007, with funding from the Department of Health (DH), England. The scheme was a key component of the DH’s Ambitions for Health strategic framework to build capacity and skills in applying social marketing principles to health interventions.

Ten pilot projects were set up as part of the scheme, with dedicated support from The NSMC. Based in primary care trusts (PCTs) and local authorities (LAs) across the country, they addressed a range of health issues and targeted various audiences. 

Two independent organisations were commissioned by The NSMC to conduct process and outcome evaluations for the scheme.

Process evaluation

In order to capture understanding and experiences of how and why projects operated as they did and provide learning for effective implementation of social marketing, the Public Health Action and Support Team (PHAST) was commissioned to undertake an independent process evaluation of the scheme.

Key strategic (DH and NSMC commissioners) and operational (local project leads and NSMC Associates) stakeholders were interviewed at two points during the scheme: at the scoping stage (October – November 2008) and at the development/implementation stage (June – August 2009). The interviews focused on identifying factors that help and hinder local social marketing projects.

Outcome evaluation

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) was commissioned to provide outcome evaluation support to the sites. Evaluation methods and outcomes for each site can be found on ShowCase our online case study database.

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  • "Positive outcomes..."

    The work [The NSMC] have undertaken on projects such as the learning demonstrations sites, has demonstrated how innovation linked to partnership can produce positive outcomes even in the most unpromising of circumstances.

    Anne Milton MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health

  • Learning demonstration sites

    For more information on the scheme and the individual projects, please download our booklet Learning together: Evaluation and outcomes.

    The process evaluation summary report can be downloaded here.


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