Dr. Rachel Smith, University of Mississippi
- To help students apply marketing principles to current business issues
- To motivate discussion of current marketing problems and opportunities
- To relate business models discussed in articles to other businesses
- To stimulate critical thinking and engender curiosity among our senior marketing majors
- To bridge the gap between the classroom and the real world
Students frequently need context when discussing marketing problems and opportunities. In other words, they don't know where to begin, how to prioritize, and what to communicate when analyzing marketing situations. In my classes (MKTG 451: marketing Strategy and Policy and MKTS 452: Global Marketing), the students will analyze the articles employing the following frameworks:
1. Marketing strategy - target market and the marketing mix
2. Environments - competitive, geographic/climate, political/legal/regulatory, technological, cultural/societal, and economic
3. The customer's need - what is the customer buying?
- We will use the structure of the assigned teams in each class for our discussion and analysis of BBW articles.
- Before Tuesday's class, I will pick and post one article on Blackboard from the previous week's edition (probably from the sections: Companies and Policies, Features and Politics and Policy) for each course.
- The students will read the articles before class, working with the preceding framework (e.g. as they read the article they need to put it in the context of: marketing strategy, the environments and the customer's need) and coming to class ready to discuss the article first with team members and then with the entire class.
- My Strategy courses will focus more on 1 and 3 of the preceding frameworks which is the foundation of marketing strategy and my Global courses will focus more on 2, the bedrock of global marketing.
- In class, I will also include other questions (perhaps from BBW's Resource Center) corresponding to the course topics and principles of marketing for the teams and class to discuss and answer.
- The students will be graded on their participation in the classroom discussion and the answers that individual teams provide. Students earn 10% of their grade through class participation.
- Finally, we will discuss ways in which the models, problems, and opportunities in this article could relate to the Marketing Plans and cases they are currently working on for the course.
Jeff Radighieri, University of Houston- Victoria
In my MKTG 6352 course, I used articles from Bloomberg Businessweek (referred to as BBW hereafter) almost every week. I feel that it is important to draw in real world examples of the concepts that we are studying. By getting students to think about these articles in marketing terms, they are better able to grasp the concepts and what they mean to marketers, business, and society at large. The activity is purely oral. They read the article(s) and then come to class with questions, comments, and opinions about them. We then take up to 30 minutes of class discussing the articles and relating them to relevant course material. It is a highly interactive exercise, which often evolves into debates about the merits of certain marketing strategies or their appropriateness to the focal firm in the article.
This course lists among the learning objectives: (1) comprehending basic concepts, (2) analyzing key developments in the environment, (3) comprehending the planning process, (4) understanding competition, position, and target markets, (5) developing strategies, and (6) evaluating firm marketing situations. In my opinion I feel that the BBW exercises that are done in my class help achieve all of these objectives. They provide students with practical knowledge to accompany the theoretical grounding that they receive from the book and lectures. The assigned articles are varied in subject matter to provide inspection of a wide array of topics and problems.
This activity is a tremendous contribution to continuous improvement. I feel very strongly in keeping information in my courses current; therefore I use articles that are very recent. The contemporary nature of the material allows the students to relate better to the contained information. Further, I feel that MBA level courses should be more application and less textbook based lectures; this exercise is consistent with that philosophy, and aids in my transition away from a traditional teaching model to a more dynamic one.
There are no written instructions from me regarding this assignment, other than an email to the class with attached articles that will be covered in the next lecture. This assignment is purely oral in nature, as it stimulates class discussions; a class activity that I feel is very valuable.
Student performance on these assignments was mixed. Some students were the constant “devil’s advocate,” arguing against certain marketing strategies. Others tended to support each company’s strategy. Overall, the students were able to successfully identify and analyze the key concepts and issues in the articles and come up with substantive contributions to the course discussion.
Dr. Robert Cosenza, University of Mississippi
One of the most important ways that modern humans can gain knowledge is by reading. (Ron Kurtis, School of Champions, http://www.school-for-chapmions.com/)
As obvious a statement as it might seem, most surveys reveal that students rarely buy textbooks and if they do only about 40% of his student reported that they usually or always did the reading assignment. Along with the BBW Program at the TUM-SOBA comes the opportunity to provide up to date business reading for the students that go beyond the traditional textbook. Given this opportunity, I have devised a way to keep students interested in reading in general, and reading specific to their business discipline.
The program that I use in ALL of my advanced Marketing Management Classes, Research, Strategy, and Professional Selling was created out of a melding of tenets of a TV show, the cool dialogue of a popular Movie Scene, a fictional movie characters job description, the focus of a popular non-fiction book, and the NSA's clandestine data mining program-called Echelon.
What is the program objective/outcome?
Learning to read to predict trends/opportunities (new business or adaptive business) and capitalize on them rapidly (Tipping Point Mentality).
The student are required to read the BBW articles for passages that might indicate a "connective" with other passages that they have read in the past BBW articles. They accumulate these passages in a word document. They tag/describe what they feel the connection might be (they are shown excepts from the Connections TV show, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connections_%28TV_series%29); Three Days of the Condor, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Days_of_the_Condor); Listen to excerpts from "The Tipping Point" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tipping_Point), the script from "Working Girl" where connections are explained; (follows) where Tess is using connective assimilation to predict a deal…
Jack: Hear the lady out, sir. There's another elevator.
Jack: You're on.
Tess: Okay. See, this is Forbes. It's just your basic article about how you were looking to expand into broadcasting, right? Okay, now, the same day, I'll never forget this. I'm reading page six of the Post, and there's this item on Bobby Stein, the radio talk show guy who does all those gross jokes about Ethiopia and the Betty Ford Cent. Well, anyway, he's hosting this charity auction that night…real blue bloods, and won't that be funny? Now turn the page to Suzy, who does the society stuff , and there's this picture of your daughter.
Tess: See, nice picture. And she's helping to organize the charity ball. So I started to think, "Trask, radio…Trask, radio." And then I hook up with Jack, and he came on board with Metro, and..and so now here we are.
And finally Echelon is explained (word mining) for themes, genres that might indicate a change in environment - ALL as a precursor to the project.
Then, we discuss passage connections as a class, the try to predict a "tip". I then show them how to use two word mining programs that are free on the Internet to verify their connections lexalytic and crawdad and then monitor to see if we "might" actually have predicted a tip.
They really get into it….