• Course Introduction

        • Time: 47 hours
        • Free Certificate
        In this course, you will learn about key elements of the marketing planning process. This process results in a strategic marketing plan, which guides organizations to connect with the consumer, so both parties realize value. This course will build upon the knowledge you acquired in BUS203: Principles of Marketing. You will explore the critical tools, analyses, and marketing-related strategies to capture the attention and loyalty of the consumer.

        In the course, we will cover marketing basics such as segmentation, targeting, position, and the 4 Ps of marketing. We will also cover marketing research, consumer behavior, and brand management. The course will end with a review of digital marketing communications options and strategies. Throughout the course, you will see how all marketing efforts focus on the consumer. As a marketer, you must be proactive with strategic activities to make connections while complying with legal guidelines and socially responsible practices.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Marketing Planning Process

          In this first unit, we will review the marketing planning process and its importance. This process provides a company with a strategic direction for its marketing activities, recognizes the essential resources for successful implementation, and ensures alignment with goals. Regard the marketing planning process to develop a plan to move a company and its brand(s) from the current situation to a defined future position. This process profoundly affects the success of brands and key performance indicators for a company. As steps in the marketing planning process are covered, there will be references to key concepts in the following units: Marketing Research, Consumer Behavior, Brand Strategy, and Marketing Communications. Related topics will be introduced, such as environmental analyses (SWOT and PESTEL) and the marketing mix, also referred to as the 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion). We will discuss segmenting, targeting, positioning, and differentiation (STP + D) to support marketing objectives and strategies. Ethics and social responsibility are essential as marketing activities are planned and implemented. A company should be concerned about the message communicated to the consumer by its actions and brands.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

        • Unit 2: Marketing Research

          Effective marketing is based on a company connecting with consumers through various strategies. The relative effectiveness of the strategies is linked to consumer behaviors, relationships, and business goals. How does a marketer understand the impact of marketing techniques on consumers? Marketing research is a means for identifying matters that support strategic decision-making about marketing. This unit will cover the basic concepts of and approaches to marketing research. We will summarize the key steps in the marketing research process with the recognition of methods to properly define the marketing research problem. We will review primary and secondary research approaches to identify quantitative and qualitative research methods. Furthermore, research designs will be covered to support the proper approach for addressing a research question. When analyzing and interpreting research results, a marketer must be sensitive to biases and other concerns to ensure that reported information is valid and supports appropriate actions.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

        • Unit 3: Consumer Behavior

          Consumer behavior principles support the development of effective marketing strategies. Consumers are complex individuals influenced by multiple factors when considering and responding (or not responding) to marketing initiatives. The challenge for a marketer is to develop a comprehensive understanding of consumers to best approach them, capture their attention, and earn their loyalty through marketing strategies. In this unit, we will review the importance of consumer behavior. We will include descriptions of the influences of situational, social, personal, and psychological factors on consumer behavior. The motivation theories of Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow, and Frederick Herzberg will provide frameworks for interpreting the links between individual motivations and potential responses to marketing messages. Consideration is also given to the five-stage model that outlines general consumer thoughts and actions when buying. The level of consumer involvement in the buying process can vary from low to high. Product characteristics, brands, and other factors influence involvement. Comprehension of relevant influences, models, and theories will support evaluating strategies for influencing consumer behavior.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

        • Unit 4: Brand Strategy

          A brand is a valuable competitive asset for a company. It is a means for differentiating a product or service from others by communicating the manufacturer, relative level of quality, and other attributes. These factors influence consumer perceptions and behaviors relative to the brand. Consider how you respond to a particular brand and why you buy it. An effective brand strategy results in the consumer recognizing, valuing, and preferring a brand over others. In this unit, we will explore the fundamentals of brand strategy. The value of a brand, and its equity, will be covered along with the Brand Asset Valuator and Aaker Models of brand equity. We will recognize distinctions between brand equity, brand recognition, and brand loyalty. Positioning and differentiation are among the brand-building techniques for a marketer to consider. Proper brand management, including through each stage of the product life cycle, affects brand value as perceived by the consumer and realized by a company. A marketer may be challenged by managing a brand's reputation, particularly given the increased consumer use of social media for sharing brand information quickly and readily. How can a brand’s reputation be effectively managed through media platforms?

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

        • Unit 5: Marketing Communications

          Marketing communications represent important means for marketers to build brand awareness, influence consumer behavior, build and maintain relationships with customers, and acquire new customers, among other actions. Traditional marketing communications methods (such as print, direct mail, television, and radio) continue to be used. However, technological advancements and an increasing reliance on digital tools have resulted in exciting, diverse opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers anytime and anywhere. Consider the number of times a company has recently connected with you about its products or services through your devices with emails, text messages, banner ads, and more. In this unit, there will be a focus on marketing communications, specifically through digital strategies. There will be a review of the key options for digital marketing. For example, social media platforms represent meaningful options for a company to connect with consumers, so we will summarize key platforms and their attributes. We will identify content marketing options with a focus on email marketing. With many options, a marketer must be strategic in determining an effective marketing communications strategy. There will be a review of selected performance indicators for assessing the successes of strategies. Marketers must be sensitive to cultural and legal factors because of the possibility of a global reach with digital communications strategies.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

        • Study Guide

          This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Final Exam Preparation

          These case studies are an excellent way to review what you've learned so far and are presented by one of the professors who created the course. Review these materials before you take the final exam.

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.