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2014/2015  BA-BHAAI1025U  Strategies for Managing Critical Marketing Challenges

English Title
Strategies for Managing Critical Marketing Challenges

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Course period Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Jay Rubin, New York University, Stern School of Business
    Patricia Plackett - MPP
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Corporate and Business Strategy
Last updated on 20-05-2014
Learning objectives
At the end of the course students should be able to:
  • Understand and apply/adapt pertinent theory, models, precedents, and best practices to unexpected marketing problems and challenges.
  • Demonstrate their knowledge and strategic insight to help uncover and evaluate vulnerabilities in customer and other stakeholder relationships.
  • Recognize the extent to which consumers are now scrutinizing companies on issues that go well beyond simply products and services.
  • Understand that marketing success or failure increasingly hinges on a company’s perceived ethics and values, visible leadership, corporate social responsibility initiatives, and attentive management of social media.
  • Extend the knowledge and perspective gained in this course to other business study and activities.
Course prerequisites
A commitment to active participation on teams is essential. Several in-class learning exercises require small groups to trade ideas and quickly propose marketing strategies, subsequently shared during class-wide discussion. In addition, the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment will be team-based.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 1
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Teams of 5 students role-play a company’s marketing staff, formally proposing strategy to top executives (another team & the professor) during a 10-minute presentation. Q&A. Slides. Handout.
Home project assignment:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

A clear understanding of commonly accepted theories, models, precedents, and best practices is fundamental to developing and executing successful business strategies and tactics. Yet no business can fully anticipate any number of unexpected circumstances and external developments that inevitably come its way. That is especially evident today as established and emerging companies vie for position in largely uncharted territory shaped or reshaped in a globally connected era. This course is designed to help students hone their capabilities for deal with potential marketing challenges ahead. It provides students with a greater foundation of knowledge and perspective to better manage business issues and to sharpen their analytical focus – both individually and on teams -- when considering solutions to critical marketing problems.
Students focus on four broad topics that contribute to marketing success or failure–and are likely to become even more pivotal in future years: company ethics and values; corporate social responsibility initiatives; leadership and commitment from top executives on key issues; and the management of social media. The heightened scrutiny that companies now face is quite different than in the past when typically the focus was solely on the product or the service. Not surprisingly, a new mantra – “who you are is more important that what you sell” – is also taking hold in many professional marketing circles.
In addition to the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment (see above: Prerequisites for registering for the exam), students will complete a Preliminary Assignment to be submitted and discussed during Class 3. Students may either write a 1.5-page paper or create a slide deck (about 8 visually compelling and informative slides) with perspective on a current marketing campaign of their choice. The specific product category, industry, issue and/or campaign approach that a student selects will be helpful in finding teammates with similar interests for the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment (noted under Prerequisites for registering for the exam). Detailed instructions about these assignments will be posted online by 15 May on the LEARN site. The Preliminary Assignment and the Mandatory Mid-term Assignment – together with in-class feedback – are intended to better prepare students for the research, analysis and critical thinking that will be required in the Home Assignment, an individually written 10 4A-page paper.

Class Schedule

Class Strategies for Managing Critical Marketing Challenges
Class 1 Prevailing Marketing Theories and Practices; Impact of Company Ethics/Values on Mktg.
Class 2 How Corporate Character and Leadership Contributes to Marketing Success or Failure
Class 3 Prelim Assignment Submitted/Discussed. “Mid-Term” Teams Assembled
Class 4 Overviews: Managing Social Media; Theory/Strategy Related to Corp. Soc. Responsibility
Class 5 Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Role-play Presentations on Marketing Strategies/Tactics
Class 6 Mandatory Mid-term Assignment: Role-play Presentations on Marketing Strategies/Tactics
Class 7 Case Studies/ Analyses: Social Media’s Transformational Impact – Local, National, Global 
Class 8 Case Studies/Analyses: Inherent Connection of Company Values and CSRto Marketing
Class 9 Validity of Mantra: “Who you are is more important that what you sell.”  Agree? Disagree?
Class 10 Contemporary Thought Leaders and Futurists: Next Trends in Marketing  
Class 11 Comprehensive Review
Detailed Class Schedule
Note: The professor reserves the right to revise/update the following schedule as necessary based upon overall class dynamics, progress and other considerations. Students are expected to complete Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing, an e-book/paperback collection (224 pages) as soon as possible prior to Class 7. This will enable students to pace themselves accordingly while also being responsible for other assigned reading tied to lecture and discussion topics in Classes 1, 2, 4, 7 and beyond. Students should expect a total course reading requirement of about 500 pages. 
Class 1:  Overview of prevalent and emerging marketing trends, and the commonly accepted theories, models, precedents and best practices that underpin them. Also: Focus on ethics and values – concepts, best practices and case studies. Readings Due: “Marketing and Ethics” (Darden), “American Apparel: Unwrapping Ethics” (HBR),“Chick-fil-a: A Bird of a Difference Feather” (Darden) “China’s Bitter Medicine for Foreign Drug Companies” (Knowledge @ Wharton). 
Class 2:Focus on leadership issues affecting marketing at a time of increased stakeholder scrutiny. Theories and practices. Brainstorming exercise: Students work in small teams to share ideas and propose strategies, then shared with entire class. Readings Due: “The Ultimate Fighting Championship and Cultural Viability” (HBR), “Timberland and Community Involvement” (HBR), “Building Belief: A New Model for Activating Corporate Character & Authentic Advocacy” (Arthur Page Society).
Class 3:Preliminary Assignment (1.5 page report or deck with about compelling and informative 8 slides due). Discussion of topics and industries/industry segments chosen by students. Teams finalized for upcoming Mandatory Mid-term Assignment.
Classes 4:Initial focus: Corporate social responsibility and the increasing demand for meaningful company action and results. Initial focus: Social media and its transformational impact on marketing. Brainstorming exercise (see class 2, above). Readings Due: “The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility” (HBR), Excerpts: “Gap Inc. Social and Environmental Responsibilities Report” section on PACE program for female factory workers within supply chain (Gap Inc.). “Marketing Meets Web 2.0, Social Media and Creative Consumers: Implications for International Marketing Strategy” (Business Horizons).
Classes 5 & 6: Teams of 5 students role-play a company’s marketing staff, formally proposing strategy to higher-level executives (another team & the professor) during a formal10-minute presentation. Q&A follows.
These presentations – with different teams focusing on possible solutions to a marketing problem they choose with approval from the professor – will be accompanied by a deck including about 10 slides and a maximum 2-page handout for classmates. 
Class 7: Management of Social Media (continued). Local, national, global issues: Brainstorming exercise. Readings Due:, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: What Business Can Learn from Social Movements” (HBR), “The Pepsi Ultimate Taste Challenge 2012: Social Enough?” (Ivey Publishing), “Commonwealth Edison: The Use of Social Media in Disaster Response (Kellogg) and “Marketing Avatars Revisited: A Commentary on Facial Recognition and Embodied Representations in Consumer Profiling” (Business Horizons)

Class 8:Corporate Social Responsibility (continued). Concepts, case studies and campaigns. Reading Due: “Dannon Company: Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility” (HBR), “Fair Trade Marketing Can Boost High-End Sales” (MIT and Harvard/Social Science Research Network), Excerpts: “Golden Book: First European CSR Awards Projects 2013” (European Commission),
Class 9: Debate/Discussion: “Who you are is more important that what you sell.”  Readings Due: Students are expected to independently select and read at least 40 pages of other source material -- complementing the assigned readings, and directly related to the specific topic of their 10 A4-page final exam/home project assignment. Citing pertinent marketing perspective they have gained from their independent reading so far, students agree/disagree with statement. Optional: Students submit independent reading list in advance to professor for guidance regarding selections.
Class 10:Predictions from futurists and contemporary thought-leaders such as Gerd Leonhard, Jarod Lanier, Guy Kawasaki, Thomas Friedman and others about emerging and potential trends with the potential to significantly shift marketing focus. Readings Due: To be determined. Online links to 2014 commentary or other recent material will be provided by the professor.  
Class 11:Comprehensive Review.
Teaching methods
This course’s lectures (variously accompanied by slides and videos), assigned readings, case study discussions, and classroom exercises provide students with the opportunity for detailed analysis of business issues in their marketing context. During several classes, the professor will also offer hypothetical marketing scenarios that exemplify theories and practices and prompt student inquiry and analysis. Students will compare and contrast these scenarios to real-life situations (from assigned readings). Working in small groups during a portion of class, they will quickly brainstorm their own marketing solutions to these hypothetical scenarios and then share their thoughts and strategies with their peers.
Further Information
Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 3 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.
Expected literature

Harvard Business Review’s “10 Must Reads on Strategic Marketing“ (a 224-page e-book) plus 11 individual case studies and articles will be assembled as a digital “coursepack” available for purchase by students directly from Harvard Business Publishing. A print version of the Harvard “coursepack” also is available at a higher price. One case study, “Chick-Fil-A: A Bird of a Different Feather” should be purchased online from Darden Publishing.

Other relatively brief and free materials (e.g. online blogs, news items, executive summaries, etc.) will be included as the course proceeds based on timely business developments, student interests and other factors. Students also are responsible for independent reading/research for their Preliminary Assignment, Mandatory Mid-term Assignment and Final Examination/Home Assignment.

Students should expect a total course reading requirement of about 500 pages.  

Last updated on 20-05-2014