Marketing - MBA Programme

Core Course

Managing Customer Value – P2

Marketing is the business function in charge of creating and shaping the demand-side of a business to generate its topline. Most marketing issues involve the desire of a business to sell more. Lower prices, more product features and services, more promotion, or a harder sales push can create more sales. But often these actions fail to generate sustainable profitable growth because they are used to compensate for a product’s inferior customer value or can be easily copied by competitors.

Managing Customer Value introduces a structured approach that focuses on customers and not on products to meet the challenge of creating customer value to drive sustainable profitable growth. The basic premise is that a target customer must see and get value to exhibit the desired behavior. This is true for start-up companies or large MNCs, as well as in domains like politics - getting people’s vote, NGOs - getting people to support a cause, or charities - getting people’s donations of time or money. It will also help you in case-based job interviews.

There are three building blocks. At the base is a deep analysis of customer problems and behavior and the market that customers form to identify attractive opportunities and provide customer insight to develop offers that meet customer problems precisely and better than competing offers. Next, priorities must be set by carefully choosing target customers and positioning strategy. These two choices drive the effectiveness of the resulting action plan to actually create customer and company value by connecting offers and customers and charging a price for offers. Finally, the action plan has to be implemented by allocating resources, i.e., time, people and money, to actions and controlled by monitoring outcomes to improve insight, strategy and actions and stay ahead of competition.

The course will teach you how to (1) identify and assess growth opportunities through market and customer analyses; (2) develop a marketing strategy and an integrated set of marketing actions to implement that strategy for a product or a service and win in the market place; and (3) evaluate business results and customer value to improve analysis, strategy, actions and returns. 


Elective Courses

Market Driving Strategies

Course overview
This course examines different Marketing-led strategies to develop and grow a business.  It is a unique opportunity for participants to apply concept and tools from various core courses and sharpen their managerial intuition by developing and implementing a growth strategy for a business in a competitive market environment, using the MARKSTRAT simulation.

Course format
Discussions and lectures complement MARKSTRAT
Evaluation based on MARKSTRAT performance, presentations & reflection reports

Target audience
General managers, consultants, entrepreneurs, marketing managers


Customer Insight

Course objective
Practical insights on how to understand & influence people, in marketing contexts & beyond.

Course overview
We will explore cutting-edge concepts from behavioural science (mostly psychology & behavioural economics) key to understanding, predicting & shaping, preferences & behaviour. 

Course format
A brief & intense experience (four 3-hour meetings over a period of a few days) with a very applied focus. Classes are interactive, & cover numerous examples.

Target audience
Marketers, consultants, general managers, entrepreneurs, & anyone interested in better understanding people;
The course is appropriate for those interested in B2C, B2B, or services, though many of the examples will be B2C.


Communication & Digital Strategy

Course overview
This course offers a balanced overview of advertising strategy and execution utilizing both classic and contemporary advertising, with a specific focus on digital and social media. The course is designed to hone critical thinking skills by analyzing, developing, implementing, and evaluating digital and social strategies as an integral part of overall marketing strategy. More specifically, the course aims at helping participants to:

  • Understand the rapidly changing advertising and media landscape, with a focus on new media channels
  • Examine how consumers respond to advertising and social media, interact with each other in social networks, and virally spread information via word-of-mouth
  • Build a social media strategy as an integral part of an overall marketing strategy
  • Learn to use tools and metrics for tracking and evaluating social media campaign effectiveness and ROI

Course format

  • Lectures, cases, and in-class discussions
  • Guest speakers
  • Group project: hands-on experience in designing a social media strategy for a brand, company, or product
  • Grade based on group project and class attendance & participation

Target audience

  • Interested in social media from the perspective of investment/venture capital or high-tech entrepreneurship
  • Interested in digital strategy, consulting, brand management, communication or advertising/PR


Distribution Channels & Sales Force


This course is designed for students interested in understanding distribution channels and helping organizations leverage distribution channels for value creation, market differentiation and competitive advantage.  Distribution channels refer to the collective set of organizations that effectively transmit products/services from the point(s) of conception to the point(s) of consumption and beyond.
Historically, channels, the 4th P in marketing mix, has been the least glamorous of the marketing mix variables.  The reality today is radically different.  Product proliferation, media fragmentation, intermediary power, e-commerce, m-commerce, etc., among other things have conspired to place a premium on effective channel design and management.  The success of Apple, Wal-Mart, Dairy Farm, Unilever, Cisco, Sygenta, Hyundai, Amazon, Li & Fung, etc., reveals that careful attention to distribution can have tremendous payoffs.
The organization of this course reflects this newfound interest in channels.  The course will cover channel issues that are internal to a firm (e.g., salesforce management, account management, sales-marketing-organization interface, etc.) and external to the firm (retailing, wholesaling, trade relationships, channel conflict, channel coordination, etc.).  The contexts used to explore these issues will be a mix of B2B and B2C settings across developed and developing economies.


  1.  An understanding of interactions within as well as between institutions in a channel and their implications for effective delivery of value to the end consumer.
  2. A set of analytical frameworks, concepts and tools for critical thinking about channel design, channel coordination and overall channel performance.

We will examine the issues involved in managing the intra and inter-organizational interactions in a distribution channel primarily through case studies.  The contexts examined in the course will range from traditional packaged goods to durable goods, financial services, pharmaceuticals, high technology and leisure/entertainment.

Target audience
Students interested in marketing, general management and consulting.  It will also be useful for entrepreneurs in the development of their go-to-market strategy.


Strategic Market Intelligence

Customer intelligence is an essential part of any business (established company or start-up) that wants to offer products or services that are focused and well targeted. The last decade has seen an explosion in the quantity and quality of information available to managers and only business decisions that are based on good intelligence and good research can minimise risk and allow you to pursue lucrative growth opportunities in the future. By making customer intelligence part and parcel of the business process and conducting research throughout the lifecycle of a product or service, customer intelligence will bring the following benefits:

  • It helps you to outperform your competitors
  • It helps you to identify and better understand your target market and your target customers
  • It will provide you with valuable insights when launching your own business
  • It helps you to better communicate
  • It keeps you relevant and future-oriented
  • It keeps you focused
  • It takes out the guess work out of customer services
  • It improves your decision-making capabilities
  • It helps you to create better customer experiences
  • It creates benchmarks and helps you measure your progress
  • It helps you to innovate with impact

This course is aimed at the manager (or the growing group of specialized consultants) who is the ultimate user of customer intelligence & research and the one responsible for making decisions within an organization regarding activities such as identifying the optimal value proposition, positioning strategy, segmentation, pricing strategy or advertising. This course is also for all the entrepreneurs that would like to build their own business. Every business plan and marketing strategy has to start with the customer. You have to understand what customers want and not just what they need. But in 90% of the cases that information is missing and I had many discussions with MBAs, eMBA, Alumni about setting up the appropriate research to collect the information to create successful businesses.

This course will provide fundamental understanding of market and customer intelligence methods employed by better managed firms and will help managers recognize the role of systematic information gathering and analysis in providing business direction and sound decision guidance from a strategic and tactical perspective. We will also discuss innovative techniques that will change the way how companies collect and analyze relevant data in the future – i.e. real business examples related to social media listening & analytics, mobile focus groups and ethnographies, eye-tracking and neuromarketing, behavioural economic models, or sensor-based data collection. 


Strategies for the Bottom of the Pyramid

All industries have a “bottom of the pyramid.” For some industries, this segment may be the world poorest citizens who are typically engaged in subsistence agriculture, while in others it may be those which are too remote to access traditional channels of distribution. This course considers a broad definition of the pyramid, but will spend a good deal of time on the segment typically characterized by a low willingness to pay. For this segment,  strategies that reduce production and delivery costs will often be required. In addition, some firms targeting this segment have discovered that new products and services fight for a relatively small wallet. Strategies that seek to increase wallet size often are required to make this segment viable. Strategies addressing wallet sizes and long-run sustainability are discussed. Applications are explored across “for profit” and “not for profit” organizations.

The course relies on lectures and exercises. There are no pre-readings for the course. The course is organized as a “how to” discussion. Suppose you have a pen, a computer, and a phone. Your boss walks in and asks you to prepare a “global strategic plan” for the bottom of the pyramid for your particular industry. What do you do? This program gives a step-by-step answer to this question. It is a practical approach to dealing with this segment and the challenges it presents. The course is then graded based on a final written examination.

Target audience
Participants anticipating a career in emerging markets, NGOs, or agencies reaching the bottom of the pyramid are encouraged to enroll. The course will focus on this subject as if it were a vocation, not a theoretical topic. It will equip you with tools that can be applied throughout your career.


Brand Management

Brands are among the most valuable assets of a company. In several industries a strong brand can drive up to 50% of a purchase-decision. This is even truer in a digital age where the digital revolution has upended how consumers engage with brands. Too often however, marketing decisions regarding product policy, pricing, advertising or distribution are made in isolation without taking into account their impact on brand equity. In this course, we will examine strategy from a branding perspective, and address the most important issues involved in building strong brands and in maximizing the value of existing brands. 


  • Understanding when and why branding creates customer and firm value
  • Brand Metrics: Learn to measure brand image, brand equity and brand value
  • Creating a strong brand identity: How to integrate marketing strategy (segmentation & positioning), brand elements (name, logo), the 4Ps and secondary associations (e.g., celebrity endorsers)
  • Maximising the value of existing brands: Strategies for brand revitalization, brand extensions, “cult brands”, role of private labels and global branding
  • Keeping a brand relevant in today’s world   


  • Primarily cases (mostly INSEAD cases specifically developed for this course) in diverse areas (luxury, fashion, beverages and spirits, telecom, low-income consumers, emerging markets, entertainment)
  • Three case write ups (in groups) or a group project
  • Class participation

Target audience

  • General managers and brand managers, consultants (branding, communication), entrepreneurs, analysts operating in branded industries 


Business-to-Business Marketing

What makes B2B marketing different?

  • Customers are organizations as well as people working for them
  • They have technical, economical, logistical and psychological needs
  • Decision making process is complex, considering high risks and large transactions
  • Strategies often include competitive alliances, joint ventures and licensing
  • Strategic choice spans across all functions: technology, development, manufacturing and finance
  • Mobilizing cross functional resources requires negotiation and leadership
  • Street smarts, creativity and risk management are key success factors
  • Most learning is achieved through personal experience


  • Application of strategic marketing concepts in the business marketing environment
    • Value proposition and its dynamics in an industrial, B2B, context
    • Competitive interaction dynamics and strategic paths
  • What makes market segmentation “Strategic”
    • Targeting and positioning when products are only parts of value propositions
    • Strategic Account Management
    • Joint ventures, licensing alliances and negotiation
    • Conflict in industrial channels of distribution
    • Brand equity in and its measurement in industrial markets


  • Course debates, lecture-discussion
  • INDUSTRAT simulation.  Lectures and cases (
  • The course is largely based on experience through working in competing teams
  • The course is compressed into 2-3 weeks in order to provide the continuity and focus in experiential learning

Target audience
All students who will work for or advise firms selling to organizations


Biopharmaceutical Marketing Strategy

Marketing in the biopharmaceutical industry is challenging

  • Biopharmaceuticals address fundamental human needs: preventing/curing disease and prolonging life
  • The industry must satisfy multiple customers: physicians, patients and third-party payers (public and private insurers)
  • All marketing mix elements are heavily regulated


  • Characteristics of the biopharmaceutical industry
  • Managing market access
    • The health care system environment; access to medicines in self-pay markets; market access in third party payer markets
  • Biopharmaceutical brand management
    • The biopharmaceutical brand plan, patient flow strategies, customer prioritization, shaping customer behavior, developing and delivering effective messages, biopharmaceutical communication channels, personalized medicine, generics and biosimilars


  • Lectures & case studies
  • Guest speakers from the industry

Target audience

  • Students desiring to work for biopharmaceutical companies
  • Consultants to the biopharmaceutical industry, a heavy user of consulting services
  • Students interested in other sectors of the health care system such as diagnostics, medical devices, digital health apps, hospitals and health insurers


Value Creation Luxury and Fashion

The objective of this multidisciplinary course is to offer students with hands-on experience and understanding of effective business practices and strategies in the global luxury and fashion industries. Even though it does not ignore the importance of up-to-date industry knowledge and does provide such knowledge, it is mainly designed as a journey into the daily life of luxury and fashion leaders and entrepreneurs. Building on cutting-edge marketing, strategic and organizational insights on the role of status and style in creativity, leadership and consumption, the course is designed to provide and hone critical thinking and managerial skills related to planning and executing effective luxury and premium strategies. To reach these objectives, the course will build on a mix of case studies, role-playing simulations, practical exercises, a company visit, and hands-on project development.


Strategic Pricing

ObjectivesThis marketing elective provides participants with the conceptual, analytical, and statistical tools as well as insights in consumer and competitive behaviour to design profit maximizing pricing strategies and set prices accordingly. It focuses on linking pricing to brand strategy, not to issues of capacity utilisation.

This course is organized along three dimensions:

  • Price determinants (willingness to pay, relevant costs, consumer psychology, competition strategy)
  • Price customization techniques (e.g., nonlinear pricing, bundling, promotional pricing)
  • Applications and industries (e.g., industrial and consumer goods, services)

Cases, lectures, exercises
Evaluation based on group project, exercises and class participation

Target audience
General managers, consultants, marketing and brand managers, corporate finance managers, entrepreneurs


Marketing - Fieldtrips

Discover Israel Fieldtrip

The course will entail a 5-day visit to Israel—a fascinating & controversial country, bursting with energy, innovation, attractions, & interesting challenges. With the highest number of startups per capita of any country, & massive venture capital investments, Israel is one of the world's premier entrepreneurship hubs. A world-class tourist destination, where entertainment never stops, & also the Holy Land, home to some of the most sacred sites to Muslims, Christians, & Jews. In short, within its small area, Israel offers numerous business, cultural, & religious attractions, combining a rich history, a deeply entrepreneurial spirit, & love of the good life. We will visit mostly high tech & entrepreneurial firms, also meet some remarkable Israelis, & experience cultural & tourist activities.

Insead Personalised Experience




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