Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4 of my Complete Immersion in Marketing

It's four weeks deep into the quarter, and things are going well. I'm starting to hit an uptick in course work, but it's nothing too outrageous; certainly not as bad as what the first-years are going through with internship recruiting right now. Although I'm only taking three classes this time around, I've still managed to find ways to keep myself busy throughout most of the day. If it's not one thing, it's another, though more of those things are of my own choosing now (like trying to go to the gym on a regular basis).

Here are my impressions of my classes so far.

Marketing Channels
This is a nice class to start the day off with. The professor can get very animated during discussions, no doubt on account of his passion for the subject, and that helps keep you awake (a huge plus for an 8:30a class). The class reminds me of back when I was taking Marketing Management with Prof. Hennessy, who was also animated. The crux of the class is the notion that consumers don't just care about what they buy, but also how they buy it, and that should drive the design of your channel (suppliers, distributors, etc). Easier said than done of course. Not surprisingly, the professor considers Steve Jobs a hero in this given his obsessive attention to detail with the whole customer experience. The downside is that the class is very heavy on readings, though they are at least based on some pretty interesting and recent companies, like Best Buy and Zara.

I/T Based Marketing
This class is pretty technical in nature. We are walking through the types of analysis done in the field, such as RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value) customer modeling. Next week, we jump into Logistic Regression. The class has been pretty slow to ramp up so far, but that is on account of the professor's desire to make sure everyone understands the fundamentals as much as possible before jumping into the more complex group assignments. To that end, the professor holds a weekly online and offline tutorial session in addition to office hours for students to address any issues they are having. And, the first couple of individual assignments have come with very explicit directions of what to do. We are performing our analysis in Stata (screenshot below), which has become Kellogg's preferred statistical package, and all students now get perpetual licenses to the software. It's primarily command-line driven (there are menus, but they are slower), and it should be somewhat intuitive to anyone that has ever programmed methinks.

Technology Marketing
This class is downright fun, assuming you are interested in tech at all. The professor has a tendency to use hilarious one-liners to really drive home certain points, and he draws upon his experience consulting with tech companies on a regular basis. Furthermore, the mix of part-time, 1st-year full-time, and 2nd-year full-time students livens up the discussion a bit, especially since the part-timers draw upon their current work experiences regularly. So far, we've been focusing a lot on marketing research methodologies that would support very early-stage product development, like using ethnographic research to form hypotheses about target consumers and Bass diffusion models to predict your product's adoption. I've been told that the workload in this class can get pretty rough, but apparently, this quarter we've been spared from having to write a case, which is supposed to be the most time-consuming assignment.

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