Zsolt Katona - Marketing Core Course

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Syllabus - Marketing Organization and Management (EWMBA206-31B & EWMBA206-32B - Fall 2019)

Note: this document may be updated in the future. Please check back for the latest version.
Last Update: November 6, 2019

Instructor - Zsolt Katona

Email: zskatona@berkeley.edu - please use [EWMBA206] in the subject.
Office hours: by appointment - in person or via phone/skpye/hangouts


As the core marketing course in the program, the class is designed to provide you with an understanding of the basic marketing management concepts and to expose you to strategic marketing decision making. Specifically, the course will cover topics relating to the marketing process, consumer analysis, segmentation, targeting and positioning, designing marketing strategy, and tactical implementation. The three main objectives are:

  • To introduce you to the key elements of the marketing process and its role in modern corporations.
  • To provide you with a sound framework for identifying, analyzing, and solving marketing problems.
  • To prepare you for developing and implementing an integrated marketing strategy: Product, Price, Place/Channels of distribution, and Communication/Promotion.
Keep in mind that effective marketing management results not from simply learning marketing facts and institutional details, but from critical thinking and the reasoned application of the underlying principles. This is especially true in our highly dynamic business environment where technology plays an increasingly important role.

Preparation and Participation

The success of this course depends on everybody's effort to prepare before class. Learning is the most effective when you are actively engaged in thinking about and doing marketing rather than passively absorbing the material. Everybody's contribution is important. It is rare that there is one right answer to a particular marketing issue. Do not expect one. Rather, you should expect to learn from seeing how others address the problem that you have thought seriously about. The better prepared you are the more you will learn. Therefore, I will try to call on everyone, not just volunteers to contribute and defend their viewpoints. Lectures and cases will be interactive.

Class participation will include some short questions and polls that you need to answer online (on bCourses) between two class meetings during the week. You are expected to answer these as if I called on you in class: In fact, I might call on you in class based on your answers. There is not always a correct answer, but some of them will be great discussion starters. Although your answers will not be graded question by question, our TA and I will track your answers and your overall performance will determine one third of your class participation grade. Note that these ungraded questions are different from the graded quizzes that you will also complete online.


Required and Supplementary Readings

For each session, please read the case study(ies) listed under session before class. These are required readings. You can access the case studies via study.net.

The syllabus also lists a set of other readings that are marked as optional and are either directly linked or are available through study.net. From time to time I will provide supplementary readings through bCourses. Some of these will give more details about a topic, others will reflect on recent events. Unless I indicate otherwise, these readings will also be optional.

If you want to keep up with recent developments in marketing, it is very useful to regularly check - among others - the following sites:


We do not use a textbook in the class. However, if you are a big fan of books and want to have them for reference in the future, I recommend these two:
  • Kotler, Philip and Kevin Keller (2015) Marketing Management (15/e). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  • Winer, Russell S. and Ravi Dhar (2010) Marketing Management (4th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.


Class Participation

My expectations in the classroom are straightforward: come to class on time, be prepared and participate. To help with your preparation and guide your learning, you will find a list of study questions in this syllabus, under session details. For cases, the study questions will guide our in-class discussion. Please read the cases carefully and think about the topic. Be prepared to defend your viewpoint and convince others.

One third of your class participation grade will be determined by the short questions and polls that you complete on bCourses between class meetings. Although your answers will not be graded question by question, we will track your answers and determine your overall performance. Note that these ungraded questions are different from the graded quizzes that you will complete online.

Online quizzes

There will be a series of graded quizzes between each class that you will have to answer in a limited time. You can answer the quizzes anytime before the deadline, but once you open the question, the clock starts ticking. The questions will be accessible on bCourses, but an exact list of question numbers will be posted here to make sure you do not forget to complete any of them.

Marketing Plan Project (Group)

In this project you play the role of a marketing manager/entrepreneur whose task is to study the market and the strategy for a new product or service idea that your company is considering and develop a marketing plan. You must choose a new product, or service idea that your group is interested in. Ideally, the chosen product concept must not be a “me-too” business opportunity which copies some existing product. I encourage you to choose a product or service that is relevant to the company or industry that one or several of the group members are interested in. Or it could be a business concept that you have been considering.

Click here for a detailed description of the project

Due date: 10/18 11pm: Submit a document containing

  1. Names of the members of your group
  2. The Title of your project (you can change this later if needed)
  3. A brief, one-paragraph description of the product/service idea that your group wishes to pursue

Due date: 12/11 11pm: Submit the final report.

Rocket Fuel Case Analysis (Group)

Analyzing the Rocket Fuel case is a great way to learn about the challenges of measuring the effectiveness of online advertising. The case presents some data on an Internet ad campaign. Two weeks before the due date, you will receive the case text and detailed questions that will allow you to apply some of the statistical tools that you are learning in parallel in the Data & Decisions class. We will discuss the conclusions of the analysis in class.

Due date: 11/22 11pm

Project Groups

We will use the study groups that are already formed through Teams@Haas and which you used in Fall A. These groups will be used for the purposes of the Marketing Plan Project and the Rocket Fuel case analysis assignment.

Submission of Documents

Submit all the assignments on bcourses in .docx, .pptx or .pdf format, no paper submission is necessary. If there is a problem with bCourses, email me a copy before the deadline. The grades and our comments will be added to the file electronically which look better in Office, so .docx or .pptx are preferred to .pdf if you use Word. Your powerpoint slides should be self-explanatory as much as possible, but you can add presentation notes if you need to explain something in more detail. Once project groups are assigned bCourses will have a feature for groups to submit assignments. Until then, one submission per group is enough. If multiple members submit from a group, the last submission will be graded.

Final Exam

The final exam will be closed book and will consist of questions related to the course material we cover throughout the class and the quizzes. There will also be questions based on a short case that you read during the exam.

Date and Location (joint for both cohorts): 12/7 10am-1pm N100


Your grade will be based on the number of points you get from the following assignments. The maximum total score is 100 points.
  • Class Participation: 14 points
  • Online Quizzes: 14 points
  • Rocket Fuel Case Analysis: 12 points
  • Marketing Plan Project: 24 points
  • Final Exam: 36 points
Note that Haas policies require the average GPA in core classes to not exceed 3.45.

Session Details

10/12 - Week 1. Introduction: The Brand and the Marketing Process.


  1. What is marketing?
  2. Marketing and Strategy
  3. Course Introduction
  4. Customer Lifetime Value
  5. The Brand

Optional Reading

10/19 - Week 2. Creating Value: Segmentation Targeting and Positioning

Assignment Due: Submit Company Information for Marketing Plan Project

Complete Online: QZ 2.1, CP 2.1, CP 2.2

Case Discussion: "Chase Sapphire"

  1. What is your assessment of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card? Is this a good product for JPMorgan Chase? For the Sapphire Brand?
  2. Why has Chase Sapphire Reserve been so successful in acquiring customers? Will this success continue over time? What changes would you make?
  3. How can the Chase sapphire team best design its product and brand to attract the right customers?
  4. If you are a competing credit card provider, how do you respond to the Chase Sapphire Reserve? How should chase position itself to be ready for these competitive responses?
  5. Over time, the Sapphire brand has evolved from a single product to a three-time product line. How would you manage the brand and product portfolio going forward?

Case Discussion: "Air Liquide"

  1. Why have Air Liquide and Airgas been successful while being so different?
  2. Why have Air Liquide / Airgas customers? What types of relationships do they have with their respective customers?
  3. What are their respective customer's expectations? What digital solutions might their customers turn to?
  4. To what extent could Air Liquide / Airgas focus on services rather than products?
  5. Now that Airgas is part of the Air Liquide group how best to blend their approaches?

Optional Reading

10/26 - Week 3. Extracting Value: Pricing

Complete Online: QZ 3.1, CP 3.1, CP 3.2

Case Discussion: "AnswerDash"

  1. Assess AnswerDash's current go-to-marketing approach, including customer selection and pricing.
  2. Based on the current pricing what is the lifetime value of a customer to AnswerDash? (with reasonable assumptions as needed)
  3. Calculate the economic value that the AnswerDash product delivers for an e-commerce vs. Software as a Service customer.
  4. What do you think about the primary options AnswerDash is contemplating going forward?
  5. For the strategic option you support develop a pricing model/format to follow.

Mini Case Discussion: "Coca-Cola's New Vending Machine (A): Pricing to Capture Value, or Not?"

  1. Is selling Coke through interactive vending machines a good or a bad idea? Why?
  2. Are there any pricing related issues that can adversely affect the firm?
  3. What did Coca-Cola do right? What did it do wrong? How would you have done it?

Optional Reading

11/2 - Week 4. Promotion: Reaching Customers

Complete Online: QZ 4.1, CP 4.1, CP 4.2

Case Discussion: "Casper Sleep Inc"

  1. How significant a threat are the "direct-to-consumer" mattress firms to traditional "Big Mattress"?
  2. How was Casper able to differentiate itself from other DTC firms? Why was it able to pass by DTC pioneer Tuft and Needle?
  3. Evaluate Casper's promotional strategy from launch to September 2015. Did the initial focus on "earned" rather than paid media make sense?
  4. What is the appropriate mission for Casper communications? Is it "all about brand love" or is it "sales performance in the short-term"?
  5. With ambitions to establish itself as the Nike of Sleep what message and media mix would you recommend to Casper for the next phase? Should Casper begin to use television?

Optional Reading

11/9 - Week 5. Product and Distribution

Complete Online: QZ 5.1, CP 5.1, CP 5.2, CP 5.3, CP 5.4

Case Discussion: "Unilever in Brazil"

  1. Should Unilever target the low-income segment of consumers in the Northeast? To answer this question, examine the short-term financial implications of the decision as well as its long-term strategic implications.
  2. Evaluate Unilever's current brand portfolio. Is a new brand necessary to serve the low-income segment or could Unilever reposition one of its existing brands or simply launch a brand extension?
  3. Design the marketing mix. Choose the price, promotion, product (formulation and packaging), and distribution that will allow Unilever to create and capture value for low-income consumers in the Northeast of Brazil.

Optional Reading

11/16 - Week 6. Ecommerce and Data-Driven Marketing

Complete Online: QZ 6.1, CP 6.1, CP 6.2

Case Discussion: "Jumia"

  1. What does it take to build an e-commerce business in Nigeria? Why is it difficult to make money?
  2. How would you evaluate the Jumia Board's decision to shift from and online retail model to a marketplace model? What do you expect will be the main challenges when implementing the new business model?
  3. What is Jumia's path to profitability? Would you invest in this company?
  4. What is the role of data and analytics in Jumia's success?

Optional Reading

11/23- Week 7. Digital Marketing and Privacy

Assignment Due: Rocket Fuel Case Analysis

Complete Online: QZ 7.1, CP 7.1, CP 7.2

Case Discussion: "Rocket Fuel"

Optional Reading

12/11 - Assignment Due: Marketing Plan Project Final Report