Marketing & Sales Lab

May 04, 2021

Students tailor their MBA with personal hot topics

An x-ray picture of a human brain
Neuromarketing is one of the topics students have chosen previously for their Marketing & Sales Lab.

Apart from the fact that the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales offers a unique combination of marketing and sales, placing an equally strong emphasis on both fields, program participants also benefit from another extraordinary feature of the curriculum: The Marketing & Sales (M&S) Lab gives them the opportunity to choose, in addition to the regular subjects, topics they are particularly interested in. As a result, their needs and interests can be addressed even better. Topics chosen by classes in recent years have included neuromarketing, trend spotting and global crisis communication.

Subjects such as sales management, brand and communications strategies or customer relationship management are marketing and sales fundamentals and form the backbone of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales. In order to make the training more flexible and respond to the specific needs and interests of a class in the best possible way, the WU Executive Academy has added a special feature to the curriculum: The M&S Lab gives participants the opportunity to choose up to three additional subjects that will be included in the program. Subsequently, each topic will be covered in class in great detail for Prof. Barbara Stöttinger, Academic Director of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales, explains the advantages of this approach: "Giving our students the opportunity to choose subjects themselves is a great source of motivation for them, adds a lot to the big picture and allows everyone involved to benefit even more from the program. Each year, there is a new exciting mix of topics depending on the makeup of the class in question.“

  • NEUROMARKETING: "Many of the traditional marketing and market research approaches focus on conscious, explicit processes and are based on the assumption that strong arguments are the best way to convince consumers, and that you can simply ask consumers what they want. Neuromarketing, by contrast, focuses on how mechanisms that are inaccessible to our rational and conscious thought processes influence our response to brands and marketing communications," says Prof. Stöttinger and adds: "This is what makes Dr. Scarabis's class so interesting for our students."

    Dr. Martin Scarabis is not only a recognized authority on advertising and marketing psychology but also an M&S Lab lecturer. For him, there is absolutely no doubt that selecting this topic is synonymous with making a forward-looking choice: "Taking advantage of new findings in consumer neuroscience and modern psychology is particularly helpful when it comes to addressing two fundamental marketing problems, namely 1. the question of positioning and 2. the question of implementation. Research evidence clearly shows that positioning brands at the level of functional benefits is not enough on its own. Consumer neuroscience tools make it possible for us to also analyze deeper needs and use the resulting findings to link brands to the respective emotional drivers in a relevant, credible and original manner. When it comes to bringing the brand strategy to life, psychology and multisensory perception research provide particularly useful insights into the effects of colors, fonts, shapes, materials, etc. If you want your brand to be perceived as "authentic", you need to know what authenticity looks like, how it feels, ...—in short, you need to know the right levers in order to make consumers experience the value of your brand."
  • GLOBAL CRISIS COMMUNICATION: Dan Laufer PorträtBy bringing Dan Laufer on board to help students develop their understanding of this topic, Prof. Stöttinger has secured the services of an internationally renowned expert: Prof. Dan Laufer is not only the head of the School of Marketing and International Business at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, but also a leading authority on global crisis communication. He is regularly consulted by media from around the globe (including AP, CNN, Nikkei in Japan or The Korea Times) when it comes to analyzing the approaches that organizations (such as Toyota following a massive recall) or public bodies and authorities (e.g. in the wake of devastating hurricane Katrina) take to communicating with their stakeholders after a crisis has occurred.

    "Crises will happen even in the most experienced of organizations—the key to success is to manage them adequately. Inspired by our students, we have put together an exciting one-day class that explores how organizations should respond to unexpected events from a communications point of view in order to prevent the worst from happening. Case studies, videos and group activities provide program participants with an opportunity to train their crisis management skills by developing concrete strategies for dealing with the media and other stakeholders in times of crisis," explains Prof. Stöttinger.
  • TREND SPOTTING: In the current class of the Professional MBA Marketing & Sales, special emphasis is once again put on trend spotting. In a world that is moving faster and faster, it is getting increasingly difficult for executives to cope with the deluge of information coming at them and stay on top of things. What trends are important? What is trivial? What is relevant? What changes must they respond to immediately, and what changes should they keep an eye on? The success of organizations depends more and more on their ability to understand trends, draw the right conclusions from them and act accordingly. 

    Trend expert René Massatti, Head of Strategy at TrendONE, a Hamburg-based agency specializing in trend and innovation research, ensures that during the "Trend Spotting" module participants also benefit from the know-how of young, innovative and creative practitioners: "We encourage students to think out of the box, discuss the market impact of innovations and experience for themselves different methods of observing trends and generating innovative ideas in a systematic manner. This knowledge will make it easier for them to distinguish between trends that their organizations can safely ignore, trends that they should at least keep an eye on and trends that require immediate action."

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