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Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2017/2018

BUSI 544: Marketing Strategy

Course Description

The course is organized around the marketing planning process to clearly delineate the relationship among marketing decisions. Marketing functions are examined through case analysis to successfully integrate all elements of the managerial process. The course presents concepts from a decision making perspective rather than from a descriptive point of view. This approach reflects our emphasis on the marketing decisions that students are most likely to confront in their careers. Additionally, because marketing managers are held accountable for profits as well as sales, budgetary considerations of marketing decisions are discussed.

Proctored Exams: None

Syllabus Contents



  • Kotler, Philip; Keller, Kevin. (2016). Marketing Management (15th ed.). Pearson.
    • [ISBN-978-0-13-385646-0]

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit

Course Overview

This course is designed to help you understand today’s complex marketplace.  In the past, traditional marketers operated on mass marketing principles, and building great sales forces. Brick and mortar retailers consisted of large department stores, regional supermarkets and “mom and pop” stores. Today’s marketplace is more complex. Savvy organizations recognize that a major revolution is taking place in marketing. Challenges to the marketplace come in the form of global competition and changing distribution, due to the dynamic nature of technology. Changes in the way consumers and businesses purchase products have also made the landscape more complex. This course will help you formulate a system for thinking about planning for markets. This system involves researching the marketplace. It involves market segmenting and targeting, and positioning the organization or product in the marketplace, then formulating strategies and refining the marketing mix using a marketing plan.

Course Objectives

  • To understand the marketing functions.
  • To understand how to use resources available to satisfy the needs of customers and generate adequate levels of return.
  • To learn how the integration of strategy formulation, planning, programming, and budgeting are essential for world-class organizations.
  • To foster a systematic approach to marketing decision making, using traditional and technological approaches.
  • To increase knowledge of the field of marketing, and its contribution to organizations.
  • To develop skills/perspectives relating to analytical approach; communication skills; critical thinking; decision making; problem solving; and use of computer software.
  • To understand the issues pertinent to the development and implementation of marketing strategies in both domestic and global markets and for application within a range of industry sectors.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate the role of marketing in creating global business strategies.
  • Explain the relationship of the marketing plan to the company’s strategic plan and corporate objectives.
  • Identify and discuss environmental forces which may impact marketing strategy.
  • Identify and discuss the impact of consumer behavior on marketing strategy.
  • Use market segmentation, targeting, and positioning strategies for effective marketing mixes for diverse target populations.
  • Explain product development issues, the product life cycle, and be able to develop an effective product strategy.
  • Evaluate pricing strategies and perceived value and discuss how price interacts with other marketing mix variables.
  • Explain relationship marketing and explain how it can be used to develop effective marketing programs.
  • Analyze market situations and develop plans for effective marketing strategies.


Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 495-550 90-100%
B 440-494 80-89%
C 385-439 70-79%
F 0-384 0-69%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (15) 75 14%
Written Assignments (2) 50 9%
Marketing Plan 200 36%
Exams (2) 225 41%
Total 550 100%

Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 2 5
Marketing Plan: Proposal 25 Sunday
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 4 5
Marketing Plan: SWOT and Mission Statement 25 Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 6 5
Written Assignment 1: Harley Davidson 25 Sunday
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 8 5
Midterm Exam 100 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 10 5
Marketing Plan: Situation Analysis 50 Sunday
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 12 5
Written Assignment 2 25 Sunday
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 5 Thursday/Sunday
Discussion 14 5
Marketing Plan: Final Plan 100 Sunday
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 5 Thursday/Saturday
Final 125 Saturday
Total Points 550

Assignment Overview


There will be 15 Discussion assignments, each worth 5 points. To receive full credit, you will be expected to respond to each discussion prompt with an initial post that is an in-depth answer, using APA citations where appropriate, and include a reference list with at least one reference. See discussion topics for specific article requirements. You must also respond to a minimum of two other classmates, per discussion, prior to the deadline. Replies to classmates must have substance, introduce new information, and advance the conversation; mere agreement or reiteration will not earn points.

For each Discussion, initial posts are due Thursday by 11:59 pm CT; responses are due Sunday by 11:59 pm CT, except in Week 8 when responses are due Saturday by 11:59 pm CT. All students must post and respond to discussions during the week they are assigned.

No credit is earned for posts after the deadline. Posts that are not engaging and well written, and do not fully develop all aspects of the question will not earn full credit.

Written Assignments

There are 2 Written Assignments, each worth 25 points. These consist of an analysis of a current business case. You will respond to specific question prompts based on reading the case, applying course content, and conducting research. Specific details and guidelines to be followed will be posted in the Content area. These papers must be original work, and should include APA style citations to support your points, as well as a reference list. The paper must be two pages max, not including the reference list. Spelling and grammar are part of the grading criteria so be sure to proofread your work. Written Assignments should be saved in MS Word format and uploaded to the appropriate Dropbox folder - due Sunday by 11:59 pm CT in the week they are assigned. No late work is accepted, without prior approval.

Note: Any content taken verbatim from other sources must be appropriately quoted and cited in-text. Even with citations, the expectation is to assimilate and integrate information and use your own words and thoughts to answer assignments. You may use some direct quotes, however, they can’t be a substitute for original thought. Be careful that the majority of the paper, or any one section, isn’t a string of quotes without your own original thoughts and analysis. As a rule of thumb, no more than 20% of your work should be direct quotes.

Marketing Plan

The culminating project for this course is to create a marketing plan for a small business. A marketing plan summarizes and organizations marketing strategy, so this is an ideal opportunity to practically apply the course content. The MP project is broken into several sections, and you will be working on it and receiving feedback, throughout the course. The expectation is that you will be incorporating this feedback into your final submission of the Marketing Plan.

There are 4 submissions:

  • MP: Proposal (25 points) – due Week 1
  • MP: SWOT and Mission Statement (25 points)– due week 2
  • MP: Situation Analysis (50 points) – due week 5
  • MP: Final Marketing Plan (100 Points) – due week 7

See the Content area of the course for full guidelines for the Marketing Plan assignment.


Both your Midterm and Final exams are available in the Quizzes area of the course. The Midterm covers Weeks 1-4 and the Final covers Weeks 5-8. The exams will feature multiple choice and essay questions. Essay answers are expected to be in-depth and completely answer the question.  The length of your answers will depend on the questions, but generally should be more than a few sentences, but less than a page (200-400 words). These are open book exams, so you’re expected to provide additional information that shows you understand and can apply the information, as opposed to merely copying definitions or terms from the text. Essay answers must be in your own words. No direct quotes or examples from the textbook.

The Midterm exam is worth 100 points. and the Final exam is worth 125 points. You will have two hours (120 minutes) and one attempt. The Midterm opens Thursday of Week 4 and must be submitted by Sunday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 4. The Final opens Thursday of Week 8 and must be submitted by Saturday at 11:59 pm CT of Week 8. No late exams are accepted.

Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Understanding marketing and its role in organizational success in the 21st Century
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 1 and 2
  • Sample Marketing Plan - Page 61
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 1

Introduce yourself to your classmates. Please share more than just your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interest in marketing, and any other information that can help us get to know you, like family, pets, hobbies and past employment. Include photos if you want—they can be pets, kids, or you!

Also, include a company that you feel strongly about, either positively or negatively, as it relates to their marketing tactics. Give your reasons for your opinion. There is no right or wrong answer here, but you must include your rationale to support your opinions. This will give us insight into consumer behavior that drives marketing decisions.

Discussion 2

Describe holistic marketing, in your own words. Think of a simile or metaphor that describes your vision of holistic marketing. In your description, make sure to address the dimensions associated with holistic marketing. Also consider the “new marketing realities,” and how they relate to new consumer and company capabilities. Give an example not found in this week's readings, of a company that is leveraging new marketing realities.

In your opinion, why has holistic marketing replaced the more traditional marketing concepts of production, product, selling and marketing orientations? Give an example of how a holistic approach can inform a company’s marketing strategy.

Marketing Plan: Proposal

Submit a two-page proposal for your marketing plan project by introducing your choice of small business for your marketing plan project, and the industry in which it competes. Explain why you chose it, and what your goal is for this business. Criteria for selecting your small business will be provided in the Content area of our course.

Research the industry and find 3 articles that speak to current trends in the industry; briefly summarize the main topic of each article. Define your business from both a ‘product definition’ and ‘market definition’ perspective. Refer to Table 2.2 on page 40. Essentially, this assignment will get you started with the Situation Analysis of the marketing plan.

Week 2: Capturing Market Insights and Forecasting Demand
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 3 and 4
  • Film: Market Research: Inc. Magazine's Complete Series on Starting and Growing a Business. ​(2013). Films Media Group. [Available in the Course]
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 3

Good marketing and its management is built on collecting information, forecasting demand, and getting feedback. Some of your best research may be informal; your peers may be part of your target market and/or may be able to provide valuable resources or feedback for your marketing plan. Based on the small business you selected last week for your marketing plan:

  1. State the business and outline your potential customer base (target market), and how you will go about forecasting demand.
  2. Determine what research you will need to conduct to assure that your marketing strategy is based on appropriate market segments. Search the Internet and provide an example of a marketing intelligence resource related to your marketing plan; how can it be valuable to your marketing plan?
  3. Identify the major forces in the demographic, economic, sociocultural, natural, technological, and political-legal 
    environment, and discuss how each one will impact your marketing strategy.
Discussion 4

After viewing the video from Market Research answer the following questions:

  1. Explore 3 examples of how companies conduct marketing research from the video clip. Connect these examples to techniques and concepts described in Chapter 4 of our textbook. Be specific with your examples.
  2. What value does the research bring to products and processes?
  3. Why does an organization measure marketing productivity?
  4. Refer to Table 4.3 on page 118. Which marketing metrics will you employ in your marketing plan?
Marketing Plan: SWOT and Mission Statement

Conduct a SWOT Analysis on your project business. Think about capabilities and core competencies for internal strengths and weaknesses, and consider all the factors in the broad macro-environment in your external analysis of opportunities and threats. A chart format is acceptable, however, be sure to indicate how changes in each particular external force will affect your business.

View the video on Porter’s Generic Strategies, and discuss how you intend to create a sustainable competitive advantage.

Also, craft a mission statement for your business (refer to page 41 for guidance).

Your final document should be 2 pages max and cite sources using APA style.

Week 3: Building Long-Term Loyalty and Analyzing Markets
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 5, 6, and 7
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 5

Ultimately, our goal as marketers is to attract and retain profitable customers. Consider the concept of Customer Lifetime Value in chapter 5.

  1. Why are businesses so concerned with Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)? How would a company change if it totally embraced the customer equity concept and maximized CLV?
  2. Based on your marketing plan choice, explain how you would go about developing a formula that captures the concept. Talk through the process; what factors must you consider in developing CLV?
  3. What are some specific tactics or methods to create CLV that you may consider in your marketing plan?
Discussion 6

Chapter 7 discusses B2B marketing. Visit GE‘s Medical Systems® Web site [Link available in the Course]. In the context of the major points of this chapter:

  1. Discuss how GE is addressing the needs of their hospital customers by the design of this Web site.
  2. Provide one example of what is GE doing right, and one example of an opportunity for improvement for GE. Provide your reasoning in your examples.
  3. Based on Marketing Insight: Establishing Corporate Trust, Credibility, and Reputation (page 209), does GE’s website illustrate corporate credibility? Use specific examples.
  4. List 2 specific tactics you will implement to establish corporate credibility in your marketing plan.
Written Assignment 1: Harley Davidson

Read the excerpt on page 144 and research Harley Davidson on the Internet. Use content in Table 5.5 on page 145 to address the following questions:

  1. How does Harley Davidson deliver value and customer satisfaction to its customers?
  2. How have they successfully forged their brand to create lifetime value to consumers?
  3. How does the company reach the “soul” of its customers; discuss how that image contributes to cultivate strong customer relationships.

Find a minimum of three articles online related to the issues Harley Davidson has faced as it related to its competition, and how its strategy and brand equity has led to its continued value in the market. Be sure to look for its presence in social media and how it utilizes this marketing tool.

Week 4: Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 9 and 10
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 7

Based on your project organization:

  • To what market do your customers belong? Business-to-Consumer, Business-to-Business, or both?
  • What bases for segmentation are you using to distinguish your customers?
  • Describe your target market using segmentations variables. (see pg. 247 for B2C; pg. 262 for B2B)
  • What level of market coverage do you intend? How many market segments will you serve?
Discussion 8

Read the American Express case beginning on the bottom of page 296.

  1. How has American Express’s positioning changed over time?
  2. Evaluate American Express’s competition; who are they and what are their relative strengths and weaknesses? What are the POPs and PODs in the industry?
  3. Evaluate American Express’s integration of its various businesses. Is the corporate brand sufficiently coherent?
Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam is available in the Quizzes area of the course. The exam covers topics from Weeks 1-4.  The exam will feature 40 multiple choice questions at 2 points each and 4 essays at 5 points each. Essay answers are expected to be in-depth and completely answer the question. Essay answers must be in your own words. No direct quotes or examples from the textbook.

The exam is worth 100 points. You will have two hours (120 minutes) and one attempt. No late exams are accepted. 

Week 5: Establishing Brand Equity, Addressing Competition, and Driving Growth
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 11 and 12
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 9

Read the Procter & Gamble excerpt beginning on page 332. Visit the Procter & Gamble website [Link available in the course]. P&G’s brand portfolio represents some of the most well-known brands in the world.

  • Describe P&G’s branding strategy using concepts from Chapter 11.  Provide specific examples of the strategy(ies) used.
  • What are the challenges associated with being the market leader in so many different categories?
  • What is P&G doing to cultivate and strengthen brand equity and provide value to customers?  Include specific examples from their website.
  • What can P&G do to maintain strong brand images?
Discussion 10

Based on the industry in which your project business will compete:

  • Select firms that possibly compete with your selected business. The total number of firms will differ depending on your project business and industry. However, you must select at least one for each of the four different competitive positions.
  • Classify these competing firms according to the four different roles they might play according to Chapter 12: leader, challenger, follower, and nicher. What role does your business hold?
  • Provide reasons for your choices. Why do you consider each of the firms chosen as being in that specific role? Give examples for each company and position.  Use information from Chapter 12 to support your reasoning.
Marketing Plan: Situation Analysis

Your situation analysis for your marketing plan is due this week.  Please refer to the project outline provided in the course. This is a checkpoint to ensure you are making progress on the project. You will find your previous Discussions and Written Assignments helpful as you develop your Situation Analysis.

Note: you may have more material and information in some sections than others, based on your business and industry. However, all sections in your situation analysis must have some content developed; no section should be left blank.

Week 6: Creating Value by Setting Product Strategy, Services and New Offerings
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 13, 14, and 15
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 11

Read the Toyota case on page 396. Research a minimum of 3 articles on the company on the internet. Discuss their successes, vulnerabilities, and recommendations on where they should go in the future, based on your research and analysis. Include information related to product strategy from your readings and research in your discussion. Assimilate your research to support your points.

Discussion 12

As we discussed with POPs & PODs, features and benefits of competing products become more similar over time, as companies attempt to minimize the competitive advantage of others.  One way a company can set themselves apart is with service. This can include developing peripheral or complementary services, or having stellar customer service.

Briefly describe the 4 distinctive characteristics of services. Based on your personal experience, choose a service provider that you feel excels in some aspect of services they provide. Provide 3 examples that illustrate the distinctive characteristics of services and show how they overcome those challenges of marketing services. Your chosen company cannot be one we have or will cover in an assignment in this course. What can you learn and apply from this company in your own marketing plan? List 3 tactics you will use in your marketing plan to include service as a differentiator.

Written Assignment 2

Read the case beginning on page 424 on Ritz Carlton. Research the company on the internet and indicate how Ritz Carlton has been able to excel in customer service. Provide specific examples.

Then, discuss 3 reasons for Ritz Carlton’s success, 3 areas of vulnerability, and provide a minimum of 3 recommendations to enhance and maintain the high standards of excellence this hotel provides. You must include a minimum of 3 articles not used in another assignment that support your contentions. You may also use material from the case and related material from the text as appropriate. 

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Creating Value through Pricing Strategies and Programs, and Delivering Value with Integrated Marketing Channels
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 16 and 17
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 13

Think about the various pricing objectives described in chapter 16. Determining your pricing objective is important to product positioning and in setting an appropriate price.

Give an example of a company that is using survival, profit maximization, market share maximization, maximum market skimming, and product quality leadership. You may use different companies for your examples. In addition to the company and/or product name, briefly describe your reasoning as to why the product’s price illustrates the firm’s pricing objective.  Use the theories found in the textbook to back up your reasoning. Also, include what pricing objective you will use in your marketing plan.

Discussion 14

Let’s have a debate! Refer to Page 522 of your text. Marketing Debate: Does It Matter Where You Sell?

Take a position:

  • Channel images do not much affect the brand images of the products they sell.


  • Channel images must be consistent with the brand image.

Include an example to support your position. Also include which position applies to your own channel strategy in your marketing plan. 

Marketing Plan: Final Plan

The finished complete version of your marketing plan is due this week.  Please submit it to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area of the course.  If you have questions, please refer to the Marketing Plan information in the Content area of D2L.

Week 8: Integrated Marketing Communications and Holistic Marketing for the Long Run
Learning Resources
  • Chapters 19 and 23
  • Instructional Materials
Discussion 15

Choose a major brand and visit their website. In addition, research other forms of the brand’s promotion and prepare an informal “Communication Audit.” Locate a minimum of three different promotions or communications vehicles. Who is the target market based on the communication? What message is being communicated? Are there messages related to ethics and social responsibility? Are the promotions consistent in their message? Which of the communication forms are, in your opinion, the most effective and why? 

Each student must use a different brand.  Include the name of your brand in the subject line of your post. You can reserve a brand at the beginning of the week and edit the post later.


The Final Exam is available in the Quizzes area of the course. The exam covers Weeks 5- 8.  The exam will feature 50 multiple choice questions at 2 points each and 5 essays at 5 points each.

Essay answers are expected to be in-depth and completely answer the question. Essay answers must be in your own words. No direct quotes or examples from the textbook. The exam is worth 125 points. You will have two hours (120 minutes) and one attempt. No late exams are accepted.

Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted. Late work will not be accepted, unless prior approval is received from the instructor.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


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