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Assessing students' ability to apply marketing theory to practice
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Assessing students' ability to apply marketing theory to practice



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  • 1. Assessing students’ ability to apply marketing theory to practice An assessment strategy for a Principles of Marketing module Lorna Walker Regent’s College
  • 2. What I’m going to talk about
    • Background to the project
    • Assessment strategy on Principles of Marketing
    • Changes made
    • Feedback from students and seminar tutors
    • Future developments
  • 3. Background to project
    • Module leader of Principles of Marketing at Regent’s College
    • Core module – c.100 UG 2 nd year business students
    • Highly diverse international & affluent student base
    • Traditional format – lecture and seminars
    • Emphasis on practical application in seminars i.e. write a complaint letter, look at supermarket pricing
    • Module was assessed 50% group CW / 50% exam – students focused on “theory dump”
    • Heavy reliance on Mintel, Wikipedia & lots of plagiarism
    • Across the programme many modules assessed via marketing plans, PEST, SWOT etc – little variety
  • 4. What are we trying to assess?
    • Do students actually understand how marketing theories apply in “the real world”?
    • Could they be marketers?
    • Do they understand how and why companies are marketing to them?
    • Fall 2009 changes made to assessment strategy
    • Two-pronged approach to assessment
      • Consumer’s perspective
      • Marketer’s perspective
  • 5. Individual marketing diary
    • Write four diary entries over the semester
      • A situation when you came into contact with marketing
      • Apply relevant marketing theory to analyse the situation i.e. what happened and why?
      • What could marketers learn from your analysis?
  • 6. Changes made this semester
    • Issues
      • Students concerned by “open ended” nature of brief
      • Marking load on seminar tutors significant
      • Highly anecdotal diary entries
    • Response
      • Reduced from 4 entries to 3
      • Deadline earlier in the semester
      • Choose one significant purchase you made
      • Reflect on how different elements of marketing theory apply
      • More prescriptive
    • Positive feedback from students
  • 7. Group eBay assignment
    • Based on Wood & Suter (2004) paper in Journal of Marketing Education (with some adaptations)
    • Groups chose item to market on eBay during semester
    • Milestones set during semester which students must meet
      • What make a good auction? Report
      • Confirmation of item, prediction of selling price (based on market research) and auction url
      • Screen shot of completed auction
      • Discuss in class – if didn’t sell then consider critique from other students & relist item
      • Screen shot of feedback from buyer – bonus marks for 100% positive feedback
    • Iterative process
    • Built in discussion in seminars and lecture
    • Opportunity to get feedback from peers as well as tutor
  • 8. Final report
    • Write report discussing application of marketing theory to design of auction
      • Choice of item and target market segment
      • Market research done
      • Attracting buyers to the auction
      • Pricing strategy chosen
      • Buyer behaviour in auctions
      • Did the item sell? Why / why not?
      • What would you do differently if doing it again?
      • Characteristics of services marketing
      • Delivery and distribution strategy
      • Ethical marketing issues on eBay
  • 9. Changes made this semester
    • Issues
      • Practical problems setting up eBay accounts
      • Overly complex marking structure
      • Too much monitoring required by seminar tutors
    • Response
      • More detailed advice on setting up accounts
      • Warning that problems need to be flagged early
      • No What makes a good auction? report
      • Simplified marking structure
      • Buyer feedback bonus marks on individual basis
  • 10. Feedback from students
    • “ the chief aim of our auction was to apply marketing theory taught in the classroom to a real life situation. Our understanding of marketing strategies gave our auction the edge”
    • “… setting up this auction was a very helpful experience. Going through this process helped me understand the various marketing theories that we went through in our lectures and understand the importance of following them…this opportunity made me realise how important marketing is for a successful selling process, starting from market segmentation to consumer behaviour and to service and delivery.”
    • “ What I highly valued from this practical exercise was the effectiveness of using marketing principles to promote goods and services.”
    • “ As sellers we gained a new perspective through this process, learned how to market a product and how to sustain a good relationship between buyer and seller”
    • “ the development of this work helped us to put into practice the knowledge we gained through the semester in the lectures and seminars of principles of marketing”
  • 11. Final thoughts / next stages
    • Students generally in favour of new approach
    • Seminar tutors need more convincing
    • Still some logistical issues
    • No massive eBay problems (so far)
    • Could this be adapted to larger groups?
    • Regent’s students are very affluent – would this work with a different demographic?
    • Survey research and focus groups