How these Marketing Simulation Games are Different to other Simulation Games Available
Obviously there are lots of marketing simulation games in the marketplace, however these games provide quite a different approach and I believe are far more effective for teaching marketing strategy and concepts.
Hands-on to the Students
The first difference is that the game is put in the hands of the students. Whenever I run these simulation games with students, each team always has a complete copy of the spreadsheet. This means that they have a good understanding of how the market operates and can actually prepare long-term forecasts (depending on competitive behavior) and run different scenarios of decisions that they can make.
Most marketing decision games in the market operate with a “black box” model where students don’t quite understand how the market operates. A key part of the learning, in that case, is to try and analyze how the market works and even try to reverse engineer the algorithms of the game. In today’s data-driven marketing business world, this approach seems quite outdated. In reality, as marketing students progress into their corporate marketing careers, they will find that the companies they work for already have strong understandings of the market mechanics and have developed an array of marketing models.
Given that how the market operates is generally understood by large companies, the skill set is actually in working out how to maximize profits for the brands that they manage given these market conditions. And that is the reason why the students start with an understanding of the market in these three simulation games – because the goal is to teach strategy, marketing concepts, and how to maximize profitability – rather than trying to undertake market mix modeling analysis.
Continuous market opportunities
The second difference is that (particularly in the expert-level simulation game) is that there are always opportunities available in the marketplace. With some other competitive decision games, once a firm becomes dominant they are difficult to catch because they have extra advantages in the decision game (such as a stronger brand, extra loyalty, and so). However, these simulation games allow for ongoing opportunities. This is important because if some “weaker teams” believe that they cannot catch up, it is common for these student teams to become quite demotivated. And having built previous marketing simulation games which “reward” the market leaders, I have learned from this mistake.
Flexible number of teams
The third difference is that the number of teams are flexible. The games can be run from anywhere from two teams to ten teams. Some other existing simulation games have fixed starting points and have fixed numbers of teams. This makes it quite awkward at times to fit in the student cohort to the game. By having a choice of running up to ten teams, the game is quite flexible for an array of class sizes.
Extra built-in decision-making tools
The next difference relates to the built-in features of the various simulation games. The games have lots of built-in data entry checks and provide an array of marketing and financial metrics.
The third-level (expert) simulation game has built-in scenario testing, where students can think about how competitive they need to be in different parts of the marketplace.
These built-in tools provide students with an opportunity to more readily understand what return on marketing investment is, as well as the importance of looking at alternative decisions, particularly in a competitive and dynamically changing marketplace.
Obviously, there is a mix of analytical skill sets within a cohort of marketing students, so to provide built-in tools allow students to be far more analytically focused than they possibly imagined.
Visual dashboards and built-in charts
The fourth key difference is that these simulation games, which run on an Excel spreadsheet, all have built-in visual “dashboards”, which highlight key outcomes in a graph form as well as a visual representation of various product positionings in the marketplace. Again, within a marketing cohort, there are people who are quite numbers based and there are students who prefer graphs and dashboards.
MOST of the Sim Games are Free
The final and probably most important difference is the pricing. Let’s face it, many simulation games are very expensive to run within a classroom setting.
With these simulation games – most of them are provided free to use.
And there is only a one-off license fee for the expert-level game (lots more work in that one). But this fee allows you to run the game as many times as you like.
The only proviso with the purchase of these games is that you use it for your own classes and you do not copy and share or distribute the game in any way outside of your student cohort.