Home » Course Catalogue » MBA Electives » RSM2505H – Strategic Marketing Communications

RSM2505H – Strategic Marketing Communications

General Information


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Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Brand Management (c)

Instructor Bio

Prior to his career in industry, Doug taught marketing and was the Director of MBA programs at UofT. He frequently won the GBC’s top honour for the faculty member most contributing to the school. After leaving UofT, he built a global consulting company with clients such as Manulife, Canadian Tire, Xerox, Dupont, and InBev. He sold the consulting company to Grey Worldwide. He was CEO of a Grey division and focused on the integration of data and creative communication solutions serving clients such as Blackberry, Mars, E*TRADE. He returned to UofT three years ago to teach at Rotman.

If students seek a career in marketing, they should take this course. If students plan to work with Marcomm (Marketing Communications) as a general manager, consultant or communication expert, they should take this course. If students are interested in the transformation of marketing through digital disruption, they should take this course. 


Each week a topic is addressed in a seminar discussion format.  The course will also make use of outside experts to facilitate discussions, give inspiration, and address leading-edge perspectives on strategic marketing communications. 

As a seminar, student engagement in the readings, writing assignments, and class discussion is what makes this course meaningful and rewarding.

“a profound and delightful learning experience –

with all honesty, this course was the highlight of my MBA journey.”

“the class is super engaging, and I loved the teaching material –

the most up to date material so far in MBA”

“amazing wealth of knowledge”

Target Audience

“It’s a must-take for everyone remotely interested in marketing as it covers grounded events, discussions, and frameworks that are crucial in building a toolkit that’s useful on the job.” 
(MBA Graduating Student 2021)

Course Mission and Scope

The course prepares managers for the Marcomm world of 2022.  Marketing has been the business discipline most affected by digital transformation, generational change, and the pandemic. To compound these challenges, are technology wars over data, consumer loathing of advertising, adblocking, and new regulatory constraints.  Consider:

  • The #1 marketing spending priority in 2021 is not advertising, media, agency fees or marketing salaries as it has been for decades— it is marketing technology — a line item that did not exist ten years ago,
  • 50,000 jobs left creative advertising agencies in NA during the 2020 pandemic as spending went elsewhere and the rush to in-housing accelerated,
  • CMO tenure in 2021 is the lowest it has been in ten years.

Top line growth objectives are up. Budgets are flat. Customer loyalty and CMO tenure is down.

It may not look like a rosy picture, but it is for great talent.  

This course is designed to prepare students for this new environment.  Key themes in the course will be:

  • Fragmented spending in advertising and non-advertising vehicles (e.g., owned media, earned media, influencers, UGC, social issue advocacy, and content marketing),
  • Faster, better, and cheaper means find a different toolkit,
  • The creativity and technology embrace,
  • No swim lanes with tidy, defined areas of responsibility,
  • Lead with responsible decision-making, and
  • Above all else, creativity rules.

Building on these themes the course will take up the inspiring ways marketers are flourishing in this environment with creativity, new talent, risk-taking and a completely new toolkit.  

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) Growth Agenda provides a content compass for the course.  Each of the four segments of the outer ring will be addressed beginning with the two lower segments on technology, marketing organization, agency, and talent. 

The middle part of the course addresses the upper right quadrant dealing with creativity, content marketing, storytelling, and media. 

The final quadrant in the upper left dealing with brand purpose, social responsibility, and sustainability provides the capstone for the course.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DatesWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing20%
Short Assignments (Choose 5 of 7)Weekly30%
Term PaperWeek 1020%
Take Home ExamExam Period 30%

Required Resources

The course has an extensive reading list mostly, but not all, from public domain sources. Because of the dynamic nature of the Marcomm industry, the readings and cases change each year.  Most have been written after 2019. 

Last Updated: 2021-06-15 @ 1:19 pm