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 Marketing Strategy  posted by  duggu   on 12/9/2007  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Wernerfelt, Birger, 15.834 Marketing Strategy, Spring 2003. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 11 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Finding profit opportunities: the environment shapes, and is shaped by, marketing strategy.

Finding profit opportunities: the environment shapes, and is shaped by, marketing strategy.  (Courtesy of Prof. Birger Wernerfelt.)

Course Highlights

A comprehensive set of lecture notes, along with course assignments, may be downloaded.

Course Description

The course is aimed at helping students look at the entire marketing mix in light of the strategy of the firm. It is most helpful to students pursuing careers in which they need to look at the firm as a whole. Examples include consultants, investment analysts, entrepreneurs, and product managers.


  1. Identify, evaluate, and develop marketing strategies.
  2. Evaluate a firm’s opportunities.
  3. Anticipate competitive dynamics.
  4. Evaluate the sustainability of competitive advantages.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.


The first module of the course, What is Marketing Strategy? focuses on the purpose and function of marketing strategy, as well as its relationship to competitive advantage.

The second module, Finding Profit Opportunities, introduces a number of techniques for analyzing the potential of a specific firm in a specific industry. This will involve looking at technology and consumer tests and evaluating the gap between consumer willingness to pay and supplier opportunity cost.

The third module, Creating Competitive Advantage, looks at a number of successful firms and asks how they are and became different. We will continue to look at added value and spend time identifying the resources of these firms.

The fourth module, Challenging Competitive Advantage, looks at a number of situations where smaller firms challenge the advantages of more established competitors. We will look at the options of such challenges in light of the nature of the resources supporting their rivals. In the process we will spend time forecasting competitive dynamics.

The final module, Creating Corporate Advantage, explores how the scope of firms are influenced by resources that are shared across products. In particular, we will look at cross selling, umbrella branding, and customer intelligence.

Pedagogical Structure
The course will consist of 5 lectures and 17 case discussions. In addition, each student should, as soon as possible, send a letter of complaint to a company. We will distribute the letters and replies and discuss in Lecture #17.

The final grade will be determined by class participation (1/3), the mid term exam (1/3), and the exam or the final exercise (1/3).

The final exercise, which is due at Lecture #25, may be written individually or by groups of up to 4 students and has to be 4 pages or less. It involves interviewing one or more managers and employees from a single firm. The detailed assignment will be distributed in class.


I. What is Marketing Strategy?

  1       Introduction.
  2       Coors. Harvard Business School Case #9-388-014.

II. What is Finding Profit Opportunities Strategy?

  3       Prelude. Harvard Business School Case #9-373-052.
  4       The Walt Disney Company: The Entertainment King. Harvard Business School Case #9-701-035.
  5       Nintendo & Sega. Harvard Business School Cases #9-795-102 & 9-795-103.
  6       Browser Wars. Harvard Business School Case #9-798-094.   Tell A Friend