Time: 31 hours
College Credit Recommended
First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me in this course". 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: The Definition and Principles of Marketing
Many people incorrectly believe that marketing and advertising are the same. In reality, advertising is just one of many tools used in marketing, which is how firms determine which products to offer, how to price those products, and who they should be made available to. We will explore ways marketing departments and independent agencies answer these questions, whether through research, analysis, or trial and error. Once a company identifies its customer and product, marketers must determine the best way to capture the customer's attention. Grabbing the customer's attention may entail undercutting competitors' prices, aggressively marketing with promotions and advertising (like "As Seen on TV" ads), or targeting ideal customers. The strategy a marketing firm chooses for a particular product is vital to the product's success. The idea that "great products sell themselves" is simply not true. By the end of this course, you will be familiar with the art and science of marketing a product.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.
Unit 2: Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning
Philip Kotler, the grand dean of marketing textbooks, has suggested that if marketers can nail their target and position, all other aspects of a marketing campaign will fall into place. Target and position define whom we are trying to reach with our marketing campaign and what message (or position) we will use to connect. The concepts of targeting and positioning are so critical to marketing success that we now dedicate an entire unit to them.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.
Unit 3: Customers and Marketing Research
Marketing is all about the customer. But who is the customer? If you are a car manufacturer, you have multiple types of customers. You might have governments and rental agencies that wish to buy fleet vehicles. We call these customers business-to-business (B2B). You would also have dealerships to whom you want to sell your cars; this is also B2B. Then, there are the end-users or dealer's customers. Though the dealer owns the car when it is sold, the manufacturer almost always plays a crucial role in marketing that car. Identifying your target customer can be difficult, but with the proper definitions and the right research, marketers will know their customers better than they know themselves.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.
Unit 4: Life Cycles, Offers, Supply Chains, and Pricing
Products do not last forever. New products typically cost more than existing products due to the high costs associated with production and development. Technology products best illustrate this. The fact that initial customers will be early adopters of a new product affects the marketing strategy. As the product grows and matures, the strategy changes; marketers lower the price over time. When a product is in the declining stage, most competitors leave the market, and prices are very low. At each stage, the marketing of the product is different.
When a new product is developed and offered, a company must consider what will create the product's value to the customer, whether the customer is a consumer or another business. Marketers must always ask where a new product will fit in their current lineup and how the new product will serve as an extension of an existing brand. Take the car manufacturer BMW. They make sporty luxury vehicles aimed at the upper-middle and wealthy classes.
Developing an inexpensive, lower-quality vehicle to compete with cars in another class may dilute the brand and hurt sales. However, suppose BMW were to market the vehicle under a different brand. In that case, they could diversify their product portfolio, avoid the risk of diluting the BMW brand and be able to reach new customers all at the same time. Some firms go to great lengths to disassociate their brands from one another, while others embrace a family of brands model. Appropriate decisions vary by industry and strategy. Equally crucial in delivering value to the customer through an offering is how a company sources the goods and services necessary for production and delivers the end product for customers to purchase. This process is known as the supply chain.
Finally, in this unit, we will examine issues in pricing, including the costs of delivering a product, customer and societal perspectives, the impacts of competition, and ultimately the revenues a company may generate.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.
Unit 5: Distribution and Promotion
Once marketers have identified the right product and determined appropriate pricing, they must decide how to raise awareness and distribute the product effectively. This unit will focus on these decisions. Distribution is a complex process involving taking a product through the manufacturing process, shipping to warehouses, distributing to sellers and customers, and returning products. Marketers must work with supply chain managers to determine the best method to route products. If marketers expect sales to be heavier in the northeast than in the west, additional resources will need to be allocated there to meet demand. There are several strategies for moving a product through various distribution channels. These vary based on anticipated demand, actual demand, and competition. Marketers must have a proactive strategy; they cannot sit on inventory and wait for orders because inventory storage is expensive, and a lack of sales is disruptive.
The final and arguably most vital aspect of marketing is the actual promotion of the product. This can take the form of giveaways, competitions, advertising, sales, and anything else a creative manager can think of. Marketers must consider several aspects. If you employ a sales staff to promote the product, how do you compensate them? If you pay a commission, how much commission will be paid per unit? Will the sales staff be given discretion on price, or do you want to send a consistent message that the price is locked in? If a new company has limited funds for advertising campaigns, might they use public relations tactics to gain free media coverage? These are just a few considerations that marketers must consider. This final unit will provide you with tools to make the best possible promotion decisions.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.
Unit 6: Launching a Marketing Campaign
Marketing is not just a matter of internal strategies and customer analysis. There are factors outside of the company that must be considered with any marketing strategy. Though marketers can control how they might respond to customer needs and expectations, they face the often-unpredictable reactions of customers to them. Maintaining customer satisfaction is essential to sustainable success. Marketers need to be sensitive to the regulatory and ethical constraints that may be placed upon them by a wide range of domestic and international industry standards and society's expectations. Companies must also face social forces that challenge their success. For example, marketers must be aware of each region's social and cultural aspects in which they choose to market a product. Even a worldwide brand such as Coca-Cola must adjust its marketing strategy for every region it enters. An awareness of the cultural factors affecting a marketing strategy can make the marketing message much more effective. Often, marketers will address social issues relevant to the lives of their audiences or society with social marketing campaigns. Finally, as a marketing campaign prepares for its launch, all the issues addressed in this and earlier units must come together in a formalized document – the comprehensive marketing plan.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.
Unit 7: Social Media Marketing
Social media refers to digital technologies which allow people to interact. The foundation stems from how people talk and behave without a standard set of rules or principles to follow. There can be a shift in social media set by the users, which causes tech developers and marketers to adjust the way they create or produce. Therefore, it is critical to understand social media and stay abreast of the trends and patterns in data. Social media buzz does not necessarily mirror society. The insights found on social media are sometimes a poor reflection of real social life. In this unit, you will understand the trends, content, communication, platforms, and marketing used across social networking sites (SNS). The next sections will guide you in understanding each component.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.
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!
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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.
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Saylor Direct Credit
Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.
The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Proctor-Verified Course Certificate and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this 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 a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.
We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!
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Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credit-Recommended Course Completion Certificate and can request an official transcript.
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