CDC MessageWorks: Designing and Validating a Social Marketing Tool to Craft and Defend Effective Messages

Soc Mar Q. 2016 Mar;22(1):3-18. doi: 10.1177/1524500415614817. Epub 2015 Nov 18.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, in partnership with Oak Ridge Associated Universities, designed an online social marketing strategy tool, MessageWorks, to help health communicators effectively formulate messages aimed at changing health behaviors and evaluate message tactics and audience characteristics. MessageWorks is based on the advisor for risk communication model that identifies 10 variables that can be used to predict target audience intentions to comply with health recommendations. This article discusses the value of the MessageWorks tool to health communicators and to the field of social marketing by (1) describing the scientific evidence supporting use of MessageWorks to improve health communication practice and (2) summarizing how to use MessageWorks and interpret the results it produces.

Keywords: audience-centered messaging; innovation.