Blogger Debbie Andrews talks us through one of her favourite modules from the first year of her Business, Economics and Finance degree. The modules taught within a degree change periodically and the assignments within them differ each year.
Hi, welcome to another blog!
So, this time I thought I would take a look back at one my favourite modules from the first year on my course.
Two years ago, I was about to start my Business Management degree. The first year had four compulsory modules, one of which was ‘Customer Insight and Marketing.’ This module ran over both semesters of the year.
In the first semester of this module we worked in small groups looking at products that start-up businesses were trying to launch into the UK. For the assignment each group had to pick a product to launch. My group chose a self-watering, indoor, plant kit, called Plant Hero! This might seem a bit boring, but our research showed that, for a lot of people, indoor plants were exciting and they spent millions of pounds each year buying and looking after them. This product if marketed correctly could earn itself a slice of this market. Just look at some of the Instagram accounts dedicated to succulents or ‘Urban Jungles,’ and it’s clear: People love plants.
In the classroom we were taught how to identify potential customers and gain insight into their characteristics and buying behaviours. Then we learnt about pricing strategies and value. Basically, what the average person is prepared to pay for your product or service and how to make them be willing to pay more. Finally, the distribution channels your products could use to access these customers. Which is essentially how are your customers going to find and buy your product.
The first assignment for this module was to be a 15-minute presentation! This seemed quite daunting, but we were given time to work on the assignment in class which gave us access to the lecturers and all their knowledge. Just before Christmas our group put on our best business dress and presented our ideas for Plant Hero. The first assignment was over, and we had drinks to celebrate.
The second semester of this module was all about working towards writing a marketing strategy report as if we were being employed as Consultants. Our lecturer told us a business would normally pay around £10000 for such a report!
In class we covered a wide range of topics. Such as consumer trends, including sustainability, brand awareness and peer pressure. We looked at how to recognise factors both internally and externally that effect a business, for example Brexit, GDPR legislation and demographics. Throughout the lessons we were always referring to real life situations. Debating such questions as: What does John Lewis gain from stocking Lego? What made Elon Musk decide to fly a Tesla car into space on one of his SpaceX rockets? Towards the end of the year we spent 3 or 4 weeks, learning economics. We covered supply and demand, market structures and elasticity. For me this was really interesting and led me to choose some economics modules in my second year.
All of our learning fed into helping us with writing our personal marketing strategy reports, which, as in semester one, were based on a new product launching into the UK.
My product in semester 2 was a revolutionary shower head that saved a vast amount of water and energy but cost a fortune. This is great if you spend all day in the shower, but most people don’t. So, this started me thinking who would benefit most from saving water and energy. I decided that it could be hotel chains. I based my strategy on marketing to them. I was astounded to learn that there are literally thousands and thousands of hotel rooms (with ensuites and showers) in the UK. What a market!
At the end of the module, I left not only with lots of skills and knowledge, but the regret that those two products weren’t mine. I could have used my marketing ideas to launch the products and made my fortune. Now, I wish I could think of a product idea….