The seminar is open to Masters students with a non-marketing major and international students.
Background and relations to other courses
It is more important now than ever before for students to be able to apply their theoretical knowledge in a practical environment. Giving students the skills to improve their strategic long-term orientation is a key goal of this course. In a computer-simulated environment, each team is responsible for implementing tactics which force teams to look beyond the immediate gain to be had from each of their decisions. Students will be able to accurately gauge the success or failure of their strategies over time, making this simulation a risk-free method for improving skills, for testing alternatives, and for building confidence. The simulation program therefore enforces the combination of strategic long-term orientation and tactics and extends the normal learning methods. During the simulation game, the students are continuously provided with evidence-based input from papers published in leading marketing journals. On the one hand, the lecturers present this input to the students but on the other hand, students are also asked to read, present and critically evaluate findings from well-chosen papers themselves. In this way, this course represents a unique possibility for students with a different study focus, to gather a basic understanding of how to make marketing decisions and become familiar with marketing research accompanied by the possibility to directly test decisions in a risk-free environment.
Prerequisites for this course are a basic knowledge of market analysis tools, marketing mix strategies, strategic marketing, as well as marketing plans.
Main topics and learning objectives
This course builds on students’ knowledge of marketing management and focuses on how firms can formulate market-driven business strategies. Furthermore, this course broadens students’ understanding of product innovation management, as well as effective product portfolio management in a dynamic market environment. The objectives of this course are to enable students to do the following:
(1) Define a business strategy and goals, and select target products/markets in order to gain a profitable and sustainable competitive advantage.
(2) Identify external threats and opportunities concerning customers, competitors, and the environment that a business might face.
(3) Assess a business's strengths and weaknesses in relation to those of competitors, and determine external factors that might add to a competitive advantage.
(4) Design and implement products to fit a target group, as well as market needs.
(5) Apply analytical tools to market strategy development.
(6) Gain an appreciation for academic publications on strategic marketing issues.
(7) Read, present and critically evaluate findings from publications in top-tier journals.
The course content of Marketing Strategy will be course sessions and group work. Presence in all sessions is mandatory (students are allowed to miss one session if they have valid reasons), and active course participation is required. The issues discussed in the course sessions and group work will serve as the accompanying simulation game’s qualitative and quantitative basis.
The computer simulation game – Markstrat – is used as a pedagogical tool. Students’ participation in the game is therefore mandatory. The game objective is to increase the simulated company’s value, as expressed by the stock price index. This index consolidates key figures such as the market share and sales.
The course takes the form of a survey of different frameworks and analytical tools, rather than comprehensively examining a specific marketing strategy. Students are advised to keep this in mind.