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RSM2519H – Managing Customer Value 2.0

General Information


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

  • None

Instructor Bio

David Soberman is a Professor of Marketing at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He holds a Ph.D. (Management) from the University of Toronto and an MBA and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University in Kingston. He is also the chair of the Rotman Designworks Advisory Council. Prior to academia, Professor Soberman held a number of positions in marketing management, sales, and engineering with Molson Breweries, Nabisco Brands Ltd. and Imperial Oil Ltd.

Target Audience

This course is designed for students who enjoyed the core marketing course, Managing Customer Value in the fall and want to take their strategic marketing abilities to the next level. Managing Customer Value 2.0 provides you with the opportunity to put marketing ideas and elements into practice in a simulated competitive environment.


12 sessions over six weeks

Course Mission

The mission of the course is to:

  1. To reinforce the value of a marketing orientation (the importance of being customer-driven).
  2. To revisit the importance and implications of segmentation
  3. To experience the challenge of working in a competitive environment with a limited number of major competitors.
  4. To demonstrate the importance of understanding the core competences of firms and those of competitors as a precursor to strategy development
  5. To appreciate the key differences between managing mature categories and growing (new) categories.
  6. To use market research and to observe how its use leads to vast improvements in decision making.

Course Scope

The course is structured around a competitive simulation called Markstrat. The courses consists of a series of lectures designed to introduce students to the key decisions and challenges that brand managers make in the real world. These lectures alternate with actual decision periods where students put their ideas and theory to work in a simulated market in which teams of students compete against each other.

Markstrat is the world’s most popular competitive marketing simulation. Business students and marketing executives throughout the world have ramped up their marketing skills through the Markstrat experience.

Together, teams of four of five), students will conceive and implement strategies for their firm and will battle against other teams of students to capture the business of consumers in a durable goods market.

The experience will force you to do more than learn about the theory of effective marketing. It forces you to put it into practice.

It is a challenge to satisfy customers and maintain profitability in a context where aggressive competitors are trying to do the same thing. The difficulty of this task follows from three different sources of complexity: interactions, incomplete information and implementation. 

  • Interactions: A firm’s results not only depend on the quality of its own (marketing) decisions, but also on reactions to these decisions by customers and competitors.  The success of any marketing strategy depends thus on a firm’s ability to anticipate these reactions.
  • Incomplete Information: Marketing decisions must be made under a great deal of uncertainty.  A firm could wait until it has perfect information about the market place.  Yet its decisions would always be too late.  The success of any marketing strategy depends thus on a firm’s ability to process and interpret available market information and understand the limitation of its market knowledge.
  • Implementation: The best marketing strategy will only be as good as its implementation.  Due to the difficulties arising from interactions and incomplete information, a firm will never develop the perfect marketing strategy nor will it be able to foresee the problems that its strategy may create.  The process of developing strategies and tactics that work occurs through learning and experience.  In other words, the success of a marketing strategy depends on both the ability of the firm to translate its strategy into action and its ability to adjust and change based on the feedback from the market place.

The simulation will (1) introduce you to concepts and tools from the real world that enable firms to cope with these three sources of complexity and (2) provide you with “hands on” experience in designing and implementing marketing strategies in a competitive environment.  The simulation puts special emphasis on teamwork and the application of the technical and conceptual skills under time pressure.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Individual ParticipationOngoing10%
Markstrat Team Performance P4 (Group)March 30, 202210%
Markstrat Team Performance Final (Group)April 11, 202240%
Marketing Plan PresentationsApril 13, 202220%
Marketing PlanApril 18, 202220%

Required Resources

Last Updated: 2022-01-27 @ 9:51 am