Marketing and Innovation

Course Number 1960

Professor Elie Ofek
Winter, 29 Sessions
Option of exam or paper

Career Focus

This course is for students that are interested in the commercial aspects of innovations, both in small entrepreneurial firms and large established companies. It explores the challenges faced by marketers, business managers, and consultants in conceiving and bringing innovative new products or services to market.

Educational Objectives

Firms often spend great resources developing new products only to find that consumer adoption is far less or far slower than expected. Sometimes the problem is that the final product fails to deliver on its promises. More often, however, the problem is marketing related- either the firm has not involved marketing effectively early on to understand evolving customer needs prior to committing R&D resources, has not properly estimated the product's market potential, or has not adequately determined the most effective marketing actions to persuade consumers to buy. This course will help students avoid such market failures and foster a cohesive understanding of how marketing activity at all phases of the innovation process can maximize ultimate commercial success.

This course will focus on developing insights and skills regarding the development, launch, and management of innovative products. It will cultivate (1) an appreciation for the market related set of factors to consider in the new product planning phase- when innovation strategy is set, (2) an understanding of customer behavior and its impact on the adoption and diffusion of an innovation, and (3) the skills needed to launch and manage an innovative new product.

Course Content and Organization

The course will rely primarily on cases, taken from an array of industries--consumer technologies and products, computer hardware and software, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals. The course also includes several exercises (both in and out of class) that provide hands-on experience with forecasting the success of innovations. The course will be organized into the following modules:

I. Infusing Customer Input into New Product Planning
II. Marketing Orientation and Setting Innovation Strategy
III. Forecasting the Adoption and Diffusion of Innovations
IV. Launching Innovations into the marketplace

For students choosing to write a paper instead of taking the exam, appropriate topics might include: a forward-looking assessment of the potential for a new product or service, what marketing activities would be required to successfully launch a particular new technology, a critical examination and assessment of why a particular innovation succeeded or failed in the marketplace. The paper can be done individually or in teams.

Grades for the course will consist of class participation and performance on the exam or paper.