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Wake Forest University School of Business

Competitive Strategic Marketing

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Course Description

Markets today have unprecedented levels of competition. Consumers have endless access to information, often gathered in less than a minute, which impact their goals, behaviors, and beliefs. To build market relevance and grow, understanding customer preferences is vital in developing and executing an effective marketing strategy. Successful marketers must be flexible and responsive in adapting to shifts in markets and customer buying behaviors.

Via marketing case studies, large group discussions, and small team breakouts, you will identify how to segment, connect to, and convert customers while translating these learnings into an effective marketing strategy. You will return to the office with strategic marketing insights (and a plan for addressing a current marketing challenge that you will be asked to bring to the class) that will help you generate demand from your customers. In Competitive Strategic Marketing, you will learn how to win strategically by putting successful marketing tactics into effective practice.

We encourage you to come to the course (individually or with other colleagues with whom you may want to work as a team) with a business challenge that you want to solve. We will discuss the biggest business issues you are facing currently (or that you predict will become the biggest business issues in the future), and will generate ideas and solutions to overcome these challenges.

What You Will Learn

  • How strategic marketing decisions can generate demand from your customers
  • How an enhanced understanding of your customer’s psyche will lead to success
  • How to differentiate your product in your customer’s mind
  • How to leverage your brands to maintain their competitive advantage in the marketplace
  • How to capitalize on the millennial customer and on the mobile customer
  • How to tackle the specific business challenge you bring to this course

Course Outline

Day 1

Session 1: Introductions, Team Break-Outs, Discussion of Your Challenge, Course Overview, and the Importance of Marketing Research

  • Overview and the Importance of Marketing Research
  • Understand the marketing concept
  • Explain the danger of providing customers with too many product choices
  • Identify the 5 major steps you can use to research your customer

Session 2: The Psyche of Your (Often Difficult-to-Predict) Customer

  • Consumer Psychology/Consumer Behavior
  • What influences product adoption?
  • How do influencers affect whether your products are purchased, and how can you utilize influencers?
  • Explain the difference between high and low consumer involvement

Session 3: Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

  • What are the bases of segmentation?
  • Understand the benefits of niche marketing
  • What characterizes great target markets, and how can you select them?
  • How are positioning strategies developed, and how can you differentiate your products?
  • How can you utilize your brand’s “architecture” to position it perfectly?

Session 4: Branding and New Product Development

  • Explain how the various brand strategies (e.g., line extensions, brand extensions) differ from one another
  • Explain upward/downward stretching and the role that both play on brand building/brand dilution
  • Identify and discuss the reasons new products tend to fail
  • Understand the new product development process

Day 2

Session 5: Pricing

Pricing Strategies/ Approaches, and the Interplay of Your Customer’s Psyche and Price Perception

  • Discuss the differences between cost-based, perceived-value, and competition-based pricing approaches
  • What affects whether your customers are price-sensitive?
  • Describe the effects of elasticity and relativity (as well as other psychological factors) on your customer’s perceptions of your price

Session 6: Omni-Channel Marketing

Marketing Channels, Omni-Channel Marketing, the Mobile Millennial Shopper, and Implications for Retail

  • How can exclusive distribution play out efficiently?
  • How can you use omni-channel marketing to maximize your presence in the mind of your customer
  • Describe the trends in retailing in 2017
  • Understand what leads the mobile millennial consumer to purchase, and which opportunities does this provide for your company?

Session 7: Promotion

Promotion Strategy and Promotion Psychology

  • Explain how the promotion mix is developed to meet your objectives
  • Understand when to use a push strategy versus a pull strategy to generate demand from your customers
  • Understand how advertising and sales promotions should vary over the product life cycle
  • Understand the importance of general promotion psychology

Session 8: Recap and Next Steps for Addressing Your Challenge

Who should attend

This course has been designed for managers who are asked to lead strategic efforts, to employ innovative marketing tactics, and to understand customer purchase behavior. Marketing directors, product managers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and other professionals across a range of industries can benefit from the new skills and approaches gained through this program. You will return to the office with new approaches and perspectives to apply to your biggest business challenges.


Dr. Kenny Herbst is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Sisel Faculty Fellow in the School of Business at Wake Forest University. He has a Masters and Ph.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. from Wake Forest University. In 2016, he won the Kienzle Alumni Teaching...
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