The Transformation of Marketing





Elie Ofek (Harvard Business School)
Freshman Seminar 40D       
4 credits (spring term)          Enrollment: Limited to 15

Marketing, as you will find in this seminar, refers to the set of activities needed to form and sustain a healthy business by fostering meaningful exchanges between the organization and its chosen customers. Marketing helps create value for consumers and extract a share of that value for the organization. We will spend time understanding the fundamentals of marketing management and examine how recent economic, technological, cultural, and societal developments have affected the marketing field. We will first cover the central themes of customer behavior, strategic marketing analysis, innovation forecasting, and brand management. Then we will explore how marketing has dramatically evolved in recent years due to: the digital and social-media revolution; the increasing shift from human-based to technology-based interactions with customers; firms’ desire to globalize; societal trends affecting consumer preferences; and the call for companies to exhibit greater social responsibility. In examining these themes, we will also draw upon research from the domains of psychology, sociology and economics. Each session will have assigned pre-readings that may include case studies, book chapters, and articles. The discussion and material covered in class will rely upon these readings. During the term each student will identify a marketing phenomenon they find intriguing and that reflects concepts covered in class. Students will prepare a one-page summary of this business phenomenon and communicate it in a short presentation. The final paper for the seminar requires students to analyze a case study and turn in a short write up.

See also: Spring 2023