Stanford Graduate School of Business

Available dates

Aug 2—14, 2020
11 days
Stanford, California, United States
USD 25500
USD 2318 per day


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About the course

Drive marketing innovation with an in-depth understanding of customer behavior and develop strategic plans to put learning into action.

What can neuroscience teach us about consumer behavior and marketing strategy? Where can you find and develop marketing innovation in your organization? How can you break through the clutter so customers choose your product or service? Today’s marketing landscape is more crowded, complicated, and competitive than ever before. The Innovative Marketing for Strategic Advantage program (formerly Strategic Marketing Management) provides a comprehensive, experiential, and customer-centric approach to formulating innovative strategies and game plans for leadership in the marketplace.

This two-week, experiential, and interdisciplinary marketing program gives you a hands-on, deep dive into everything from consumer mindsets, value pricing, and online marketplaces to product ideation, data analytics, and creating a customer-focused organization. And with two full weeks on campus, you’ll have a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in learning, reflecting on challenges, and re-imagining solutions for transforming your marketing — within a division or across an entire organization. Most importantly, you’ll have the time to connect with faculty and develop meaningful relationships with like-minded peers.

Drawing on the Silicon Valley spirit of innovative thinking and risk-taking mindsets, Innovative Marketing for Strategic Advantage includes a full-day field project where you’ll interact with customers and work as a team to solve a real-world marketing challenge. At the end of each day, you’ll also meet with faculty and peers to “connect the dots” and explore how new learnings can translate into specific action.

Key Benefits

Discover, develop, and drive customer-centric marketing strategies in your organization.

  • Understand how customer psychology and design thinking methodologies can influence and improve your marketing efforts.
  • Explore the possibilities and limitations of how technology can inform customer behavior.
  • Gain hands-on experience working in the field and on a real-world marketing challenge.
  • Learn how data analytics can uncover customer insights and shape strategy.
  • Immerse yourself in Silicon Valley innovation, companies, and ideas.
  • Build a strong network of peers with whom you can share ideas and experiences.


How do mindsets impact marketing? How can you use the latest research to drive customer-centric marketing innovation? Why do stories influence consumer behavior? And how can you find and use meaningful data to develop innovative marketing strategies?

Stanford’s Innovative Marketing for Strategic Advantage helps you ask and answer the most pressing questions to move your organization’s marketing forward. The program’s curriculum is a convergence of theory and practice, B2B and B2C, strategic frameworks, and innovative thinking. Taught by some of the world’s leading experts in marketing and innovation, the curriculum gives you exposure to cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research from almost every academic discipline at the Stanford GSB. It’s comprehensive, experiential, innovative, and, most importantly, actionable — with a hands-on marketing challenge and daily reflections to help you individualize and implement what you learn.

Program Highlights

Examples of sessions in the program include:

Customer-Focused Innovation in Action

The first week of learning culminates in a full-day, hands-on field project where you and your peers will work together to solve a real-world marketing challenge. Guided by faculty, you and your team will conduct field interviews with customers, ideate, and then prototype innovative solutions based on customer-focused insights. It’s a unique opportunity to put the frameworks and fundamentals you’ve learned into action.

Neuroscience to Inform Strategy

Leveraging recent advances in neuroscience, we will immerse ourselves into the workings of the emotional brain, highlighting the notion of two mindsets, the Type 1 and Type 2, and how these mindsets map onto the “X-Framework.” We will then delve into Customer Experience Design to inform strategy: Unearth new business opportunities, develop and sustain distinct competitive advantages, and in the process have a direct impact on top-line and bottom-line growth. We will go through examples of how multi-billion dollar enterprises have been formed by removing pain-points and adding pleasure-points along various phases of the customer journey. We will subsequently get into approaches to gain rich customer insights, including design thinking, the systematic approach, and leveraging factors that influence neurochemicals and, thus, the mindsets.

A Framework for New Product Innovation

Research shows that people deliver more creative solutions when they are assigned a task that includes restrictions compared with a task in which they are given free reign. It turns out that with creative tasks, structure helps. This finding also extends to tasks in which people are asked to ideate new products or develop concepts for marketing campaigns. We will discuss an approach to product ideation that introduces five templates or "recipes" that can help you structure your thinking and develop both incremental and disruptive ideas. We will discuss each template and practice applying it, workshop-style, to a business case as well as your own products or services.

Other Selected Sessions

  • The Customer-Focused Organization
  • Disruptive Innovation and Business Models
  • Sales and B2B Marketing
  • Persuasion
  • Deriving Customer Insights from Data
  • Value-Based Pricing

Who should attend

  • Global marketing and business leaders who are motivated to learn, inspired to innovate, and wanting to influence change in their organizations
  • Senior-level executives — from any size company, any industry, and any country — with at least eight years of management experience, looking for creative and original approaches to marketing

Trust the experts

Hayagreeva Rao

Research Statement Professor Rao studies collective action within organizations and in markets. His research and by implication, his teaching, revolves around scaling up mobilization, innovation, and talent in organizations. Teaching Statement Professor Rao teaches courses on Scaling up Excell...


Baba Shiv

Research Statement Baba Shiv's research expertise is in the area of neuroeconomics, with specific emphasis on the role of neural structures related to emotion and motivation in shaping decisions and experiences. His recent work examines the interplay of the brain’s "liking" and "wanting" systems...


Jennifer Aaker

Research Interests Time, Money and Happiness The Power of Story Global Brand Building Emotions, Goals and Health The Psychology of Giving Bio Dr. Jennifer Aaker is a behavioral psychologist, author, and the General Atlantic Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her research focu...


Haim Mendelson

Research Statement Professor Mendelson leads the School’s efforts in studying electronic business and its interaction with organizations, markets and value chains, and incorporating their implications into the School’s curriculum and research. His research interests include electronic business, ...


Jonathan Levav

Research Statement Jonathan Levav studies consumer behavior and behavioral decision theory. He combines laboratory and field experiments, as well as secondary data analysis, in order to study the factors that influence people's choices and judgments. His research on choice focuses on three inter...


Harikesh Nair

Research Statement Harikesh Nair is interested in marketing analytics and computational social science. His research brings together social science theory, statistical tools and Marketing data to better understand consumer behavior and to improve the strategic marketing decisions of firms. This ...


Zakary Tormala

Research Statement Professor Tormala is a social and consumer psychologist who works in the areas of attitudes, persuasion, and social influence. At a general level, his research on these topics seeks to shed light on the factors that open and close attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to change. ...


Christian Wheeler

Research Statement S. Christian Wheeler is a consumer behavior researcher who studies the formation, change, and expression of evaluations. Some recent projects have explored what happens when people want evaluations other than those that they have; when people intentionally generate mixed evalu...


James Lattin

Research Statement Jim Lattin’s research examines consumer choice behavior. His early research involved building statistical models of brand choice, category purchase incidence, store choice, and market basket behavior, using grocery panel data collected using bar code scanners. More recently, J...


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