Alison Wheeler | Résumé
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B825: Marketing in a Complex World

Course Profile

B825 course certificateThis course addresses issues of complexity in marketing - on the premise that there are no simple answers in today's increasingly complex world. This issue is expanded in a broad discussion of complexity theory and its application to marketing strategy. The course discusses external change drivers and includes units on economics and scenario planning. The course addresses advanced marketing concepts and techniques, with a particular emphasis on relationship marketing and brand strategy and management. It also includes electives on specialist marketing topics and a substantial section on international marketing - one of the major sources of complexity.

This course is for managers who have a role in planning or developing marketing activities, or who work alongside colleagues responsible for marketing. It deals with three areas of uncertainty that affect the development of strategic marketing decisions: uncertainty arising from the volatility of the external environment; uncertainty arising from the changing relationship between suppliers and customers; and uncertainty arising from the internationalisation of business and trade. The course does not suggest that there are simple solutions, but puts forward concepts and analytical techniques that will help managers to make marketing decisions against a background of complexity and uncertainty.

Complexity and the external environment: asks how external factors affect organizational performance and planning. As well as introducing the course as a whole, this first book looks at techniques for planning in conditions of uncertainty to develop robust strategies. It introduces macro-economics, and some micro-economic concepts that can help marketing managers to understand change-drivers; these include agency theory, transaction cost analysis and labour segmentation. The book ends with an introduction to game theory.

Complexity and marketing: The three units in this book cover relationship marketing, brand-building and integrated communications. The first unit develops the concepts of relationship marketing in considerable detail. Drawing on the latest research, it discusses how our understanding of consumers' behaviour is changing, and how organizations need to adapt their policies and programmes accordingly. The unit on brand-building demonstrates that brands are of great importance in determining the success or failure of organisations in consumer, industrial and non-profit markets. This unit, based on the results of recent research, offers guidance on developing and maintaining brands. Communications are the key to successful marketing. As technology becomes more complex, integration of communications becomes both more difficult and more important. The unit on integrated communications is linked to a textbook that brings together the latest thinking in this field.

Elective units cover marketing services, marketing in the non-profit sector, marketing for SMEs and business-to-business marketing.

Complexity and internationalisation: A double unit examines the impact of globalisation on all organizations, including those that at present operate in a purely domestic context. You will see the difficulties as well as the opportunities arising from new technology, which is eliminating barriers of time and geography. We also consider the implications of political changes that affect trade. The course concludes by looking at the lessons that managers can take from the natural sciences to help them to improve their understanding of managing complex systems in a volatile environment. Techniques and concepts to assist the development of marketing strategies in conditions of uncertainty are introduced.

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