No matter how sophisticated your marketing is, if it does not result in attracting customers, then your business is set to fail. This free online course applies fresh thinking to how marketing and selling activities combine to create customers who keep coming back.

About the course

The perspectives on the role and behaviour of customers are changing, with marketers drawing on increasingly powerful information systems to build a holistic view of consumers.

In this course, you will develop an understanding of how customer relationship management breeds business development success and will critically evaluate accepted wisdom on how marketing influences customers. You will also learn how selling has transitioned from being a ‘foot in the door’ to having a ‘finger on the pulse’, using insight-driven approaches to win those all-important sales.

The Digital Economy: Selling Through Customer Insight is one of four courses from The Open University about the digital economy, designed to help experienced managers get to grips with today’s technology-enabled business environment.

The course has been developed by The Open University Business School – a pioneering institution that is triple accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB.

Holders of FutureLearn Certificates of Achievement for all four Digital Economy courses can earn 15 UK credits towards The Open University Business School’s flexible MBA by passing a linked Open University assessment module (requiring a separate OU registration and fee).

What you will learn

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of how customers behave in the digital economy and describe the role of information systems in creating customer insight;
  • apply exchange theory to a range of different business models to create mutual benefit for suppliers and buyers;
  • explore and conduct theoretically-informed analysis of decision making in consumer and organisational markets and assess digital marketing communications against research-based criteria;
  • apply and use insight-driven selling to improve performance, and engage with relevant ethical issues driven by the digital economy.


This course is intended for anyone who wants to learn about attracting and retaining customers. No previous experience of studying sales or marketing is required, but some basic knowledge of how businesses work would be beneficial.

Find further information about OU registration, the assessment module and MBA in the entry requirements. The Open University does not operate in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. This means that Learners based in those countries will not be able to convert their participation in this Program to Open University course credits.

About the instructor

Hilary Collins is a strategic design academic with research interests in the economic and cultural role of the creative industries. She teaches OU courses in Strategy and Design Thinking.

Starting date: 3 April 2017

Duration: 4 weeks, 3 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Hilary Collins

Institution: The Open University