Coursera Introduction to Marketing Review

Published by: Julia

The marketing faculty at Wharton who created this Coursera course is the world´s top marketing department in the world. So, you are learning from the best.

Marketing is the foundation of any business. It does not matter how good your products and services are if nobody knows you exist you cannot make any sales. Nor will they realise that what you have to offer is substantially better or more competatively priced than what your competitors are selling.

Meet your instructors

One of the things I like about Coursera is the fact that the instructors are almost all teachers or professors by profession. As you can see from my full Coursera review, this makes a huge difference in how easy it is to follow and absorb each lesson.

It is also a great way to get access to some of the world´s best professors. In many cases, their university courses are virtually impossible to get onto.

This course is taught by three members of the Wharton faculty. The marketing department there is consistently ranked No. 1 in the world. There is no doubt that you are learning from the best. All three of the professors are easy to follow and interesting. But, their teaching styles do differ considerably, so you might not enjoy all of the classes. But, regardless, you will learn a lot.

What is good is the fact that for some of the lessons they discuss the topic. This is not only interesting, it also deepens your understanding of the subject, because each of them specialises in a different aspect of marketing. So, they all have a slightly different take on things and something extra to add.

What is included in Coursera Introduction to Marketing?

This is a very comprehensive marketing course. It covers the subject in far more detail than most of the others I have looked at. Here is a list of what is included, followed by a short paragraph about each of the subjects covered:

  • Branding and brand equity – how to create a relevant brand, keep pace with today´s fast-moving business landscape
  • Customer Centricity – putting your customer at the centre of your business and marketing
  • Practical go-to-market strategies – understanding how to take a product or new service from concept to the marketing stage

The importance of branding

Branding is something that many small business owners do not take very seriously. They assume it is only essential for firms that want to market beyond a local level. This is a common, but serious mistake to make. Apart from anything else, it makes effective marketing practically impossible.

So, don´t be tempted to skip over this section. Here is an overview of what is covered here:

  • What branding is
  • Why branding matters
  • How to identify your brand
  • How to establish and grow your brand

Brand repositioning

Keeping your brand fresh and relevant is essential. Many markets move at an amazing pace. Consumer tastes and needs change rapidly. Sometimes who demographics get bored and move on to other things, while others discover they can´t live without what you are selling. You need to be aware of these changes and emerging trends and know how to react to them.

Being able to reposition your brand is an essential skill. Yet it is one that you rarely see covered in other marketing courses. Especially not as well as it is here.

What you learn in this part of the course will enable you to keep your business moving forward.

Putting your customer first when marketing

It is all too easy to lose sight of the fact that your first task is to serve your customer. Particularly when it comes to marketing.

There is no point in coming up with a great gimmick if it means nothing to the people you are trying to sell to. Again, it is all too easy to do. Many firms end up spending thousands on marketing campaigns that do not work simply because they are not customer-focused enough when they design them.

This section of the course explains how to avoid that common error and covers the following:

  • What is customer-centricity?
  • Why you need to be customer-centric rather than brand-centric
  • How to identify your customers
  • How learning what makes them happy will impact your marketing strategy
  • Putting together a marketing strategy that speaks to your customers actual, rather than perceived needs
  • How to keep your marketing efforts up to date

How to create your marketing plan

This is not a dedicated section of the course. But, as you go through the marketing videos, you will pick up how to do it. A method you can use to make sure that every aspect or your marketing is done in the right way. Almost a checklist that will ensure that nothing is left off the list.

How to take a new product from concept to launch

This was an interesting section. It covers a subject you do not normally see mentioned in most marketing courses. This is because most firms make the mistake of not thinking about how they are going to market a product until it is physically ready for launch.

When you do think about marketing at the concept and design stages it places the focus where it should be, on the customer. If you cannot think how you are going to market it to them, there is a good chance you are developing something they don´t actually want.

Considering pricing before you spend many hours on developing a product is also vital. If it is likely to be far more expensive than the market can bear there is no point in investing hundreds of hours into its development.

As you can see below, this section of the course is packed with highly valuable information. This is a taste of what is covered:

  • How to understand the drivers that influence customers
  • How to assess whether the product you are considering developing is going to appeal i.e. meets an actual need rather than just being a clever idea. If you cannot come up with a marketing strategy, the chances are that is because the product is actually not suitable.
  • Understanding the role of communication in marketing
  • Pricing – how to balance marketability against profit
  • Pricing elasticity
  • The psychology of pricing
  • How to manage channel conflicts
  • E-commerce and online marketing

What to do after taking the course

Complete this course, along with the other 6 courses in the Wharton’s Business Foundations Specialization, and you’ll have the opportunity to take the Capstone Project Coursera course. This enables you to put into action everything you have learned by creating a business plan from scratch. Including the marketing side of things. Once done, your work will be peer-reviewed.

This is an extremely good marketing course

It is clear that the content is, for the most part, excellent. Three professors teach the course, two of whom students clearly enjoy learning from. Very few people will get the chance to learn from such experienced professors, so taking this course is virtually a no-brainer. When you take it you will see that a lot of the students are actually studying for degrees in other educational institutions.

However, the execution is not flawless, whoever edited this course together, did not review it in its entirety. Some things are not in the right order. But, that is a minor niggle.

The other problem is that the course was created in 2013, so the use of digital marketing is not covered in enough detail. However, that is easily fixed by taking a short digital marketing course. The important thing is that the fundamentals are there. If you follow the branding and marketing principles taught in this course, it does not matter what tools you are planning to use you are going to be successful.

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