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GRA 6409 Strategic Marketing Issues

GRA 6409 Strategic Marketing Issues

Course code: 
GRA 6409
Course coordinator: 
Matilda Dorotic
Course name in Norwegian: 
Strategic Marketing Issues
Product category: 
MSc in Strategic Marketing Management
2025 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The purpose of marketing strategy is to transform company's resources to satisfy customers' current and future needs more effectively and efficiently than the competing alternatives. The requirements to become a successful marketing manager have surged in recent decades, demanding new critical understanding of consumer reality and new competences in managing rapid changes in the environment. Not only that the customer needs are changing, but also more than ever before firms are required to respond to environmental and social challenges as well. To address these needs and challenges and secure their seat at the boardroom table, marketers are required to develop deep insights of strategic marketing issues and demonstrate the value of marketing investments.

This course is the capstone course in the master program centred on the notion of building marketing skills that increase such relevance for business through a combination of action-based, hands-on learning and in-class discussion of examples with empirical evidence from practice. As the final course in the master program, this course aims to bring together diverse elements of marketing and encourage students to implement the knowledge directly, analyzing quantitative data from case studies that seek to address various strategic marketing issues. In particular, this course encourages learning-by-doing approach in which, through teamworking, students have to combine critical thinking from literature with analyses of data to come up with practical strategies for business problems at hand.

The business issues span topics of selection and valuation of customers and competition, understanding trends and forecasts for growth, developing customer-centric products, trade-offs between different elements of marketing mix, evaluation of online vs offline sales channels and custumer groups, social media's return on investment calculation, etc.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

Strategic marketing focuses on developing the critical insights and analytical skills required to identify the key strategic issues companies are facing in the market they compete in. As we progress through the course, students will gain deeper understanding of the impact and trade-offs between different marketing elements and marketing’s impact on bottom-line performance.

Upon completing this course, the students should acquire:

  • Understanding of challenges marketing managers face in the contemporary market environment
  • Understanding of the role of marketing strategies and diverse marketing elements in driving business performance
  • Appreciation for managing the complexity of strategy formulation that takes into account diverse aspects of data management and their link to the strategic decision-making  
Learning outcomes - Skills

The topics in this course are grouped around the most important business goals and skills that we want students to master in this course. To reflect the fact that students need to acquire skills from multiple complementary sources, this course integrates diverse types of learning. Lectures are structured around different drivers and trends in strategic marketing that directly or indirectly affect firm performance. The application of basic skills of developing and applying strategic marketing decisions through teamwork the students will practice on case studies that feature quantitative data. Student work together in a team to provide their preferred strategic solution to case study problems. These teams resemble consulting teams which compete against each other and present their solutions.

After this course the students should be able to:

  • Identify key strategic marketing issues in the contemporary market environment
  • Analyze customers, markets, brands, competition and marketing effectiveness
  • Apply analytical skills to formulate objectives and strategic initiatives using market insights
  • Develop competitive strategies through implementation of strategic initiatives
General Competence
  • Critical reflection and thinking, developing deep customer and strategic insights
  • Appreciation for the complexity of marketing decisions and business in general
  • Presentation of ideas and solutions in a clear and concise manner
Course content

The topics selected in this course aim to deepen students’ understanding of the complex strategic marketing issues that affect firm performance. In particular, the course addresses the role of marketing strategy and data analysis in driving business performance.

As we progress through the course, students will gain deeper understanding of the impact and trade-offs between different marketing elements and marketing’s impact on bottom-line performance.

Besides highlighting burning issues for marketing managers, this course aims to develop students' appreciation of the need for a marketer to quantify the impact of selected marketing solutions.

To achieve the outlined learning objective, this course takes an innovative, continuous learning approach in which the theory and applications of theory are intertwined and the students take steps through a Learning - Applying - Presenting approach for each subsequent main strategic issue.

Teaching and learning activities

The teaching and learning activities in this course follow a Learning - Applying/Doing - Presenting approach.

In each generation, the course coordinator will identify five main strategic marketing issues that are significantly affecting marketing management. For each of the five main strategic issues, we will

1) Learn through lectures of the main drivers and challenges based on the available empirical evidence in the literature. In teams, students will follow up the learning with

2) Applying it onto a case study (that typically has an available dataset to quantify the issues). Finally, (preselected) teams would present their solutions in class discussion. 

To facilitate the access to the cases and data analytical tools, the students in the course will be provided with 6 months licence to Enginius software.

The format of the course is such that one week we will discuss one or more strategic issues (using assigned readings), which will be followed by a quantitative case study in which students solve related problems. In practice, this means that over the course schedule, we will follow the lectures of learning, with the week of practicing and presenting (i.e. one week lectures with assigned readings, the next one case solution discussion, etc.). 

Students will work in self-selected teams of preferably five (5) to six (6) students (preferred number due to the workload). NOTE: since it is not possible to predict the number of students in each generation, as a rule, we will try to assign as many teams of the same size as possible relative to the final number of students. However, some teams per generation may have +/- 1 group member. 

Each student team will be assigned one solution to present in the class discussion (once) based on the schedule that would be randomly assigned at the beginning of the course (30% of the final grade). Finally, written (closed book) exam on course materials will count to 70% of the final grade.

Structure of the assessment:  

70% written exam

30% oral presentation and discussion moderation in class.

Written exam (70%): Individual (closed book) written examination evaluating the learning throughout the course, based on materials assigned to readings, lectures and class discussions.

Individual oral presentation and discussion, in class (30%):
This component grades each student's individual contribution to the class discussion and presentation of the solution. Students present together with other peers from their team. Teams will be randomly selected for presentation and will know their presentation schedule in the first week of lecturing.

The presentation will be held in class, in Power Point format, should last for 15 minutes and all team members should contribute. Students who do not take part in the oral exam will get zero points on this exam component, which results in the failure of the course (students should retake the exam in the next round of the course). The grading criteria concerns the soundness of the solution, analysis and implementation suggestions, discussion quality and answering questions. The ability to inspire class discussion and the way in which a person answers questions is adding to the grade. Good preparedness of the team and professional feel of the flow of the presentation between the individual presentations is highly recommended. 

Exam components are graded on a scale from A-F. The components will be weighted together, according to the weights indicated in the course description, in order to calculate the final grade for the examination code (course).

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Marketing Engineering for Excel
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

Since the oral presentation is counted as oral exam for each student, in order to obtain points and be graded the student must participate in the oral exam (in person). In exceptional cases (e.g. medical evidence of contagious disease, hospitalization; but not eligible for personal and business travels), the course responsible may offer the student to take one additional case solution assignment and take oral exam separately from his/her team (on different, additional case). 

All parts of the assessment must be passed in order to get a grade in the course.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Activity, Oral
Form of assessment: 
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
3-4 Minute(s)
Each student presents for 3-4 minutes their individual contribution to building the case study solution with their group and leads discussion on the solution with the class. Individual members in one team present one after another (so that jointly the presentation of all members of the team lasts around 15 min). Individual grade is formed based on the individual’s presentation and the contribution this individual has made in the class discussion. Students are graded on presentation and discussion performance with a scale A-F.
The grading criteria concerns the soundness of the solution, analysis and implementation suggestions, discussion quality and answering questions. The ability to inspire class discussion and the way in which a person answers questions is adding to the grade. Good preparedness of the team and professional feel of the flow of the presentation between the individual presentations is highly recommended. Any individual that does not present in the team’s assigned slot obtains zero points on this particular component.
Exam code: 
GRA 64092
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Exam category: 
School Exam
Form of assessment: 
Written School Exam - digital
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Support materials: 
  • Bilingual dictionary
2 Hour(s)
Written exam of the course learning.
Exam code: 
GRA 64093
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
All exams must be passed to get a grade in this course.
Total weight: 
Student workload
21 Hour(s)
Case teaching
15 Hour(s)
Case teaching with discussions
Student's own work with learning resources
25 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
60 Hour(s)
Prepare for teaching
35 Hour(s)
Group work / Assignments
4 Hour(s)
Teamwork on the presentation
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.