Base Marketing Sim Game (Lecturer Information)


strategy, sim game, analysis, positioning, product management, new products, team-building activity

Teaching Notes

  • Please refer to both teacher and student video instructions below
  • For debriefing after the game – please see Discussion and Teaching Ideas for the Sim Games
  • Please also refer to the instructor’s guide to running the game.
  • This Sim Game will take 1-3 hours to complete, depending upon the amount of time allocated to student to make their decisions – alternatively, you could play the Sim Game over several shorter sessions
  • Please note that this Sim Game was updated and fully tested in 2020

To download: You can download the free Sim Game here… positioning-game-updated-2020

Note: If you have played this game before, here are the key changes implemented in 2020:

  • Loyalty bonus has been reduced from 20% to 10%. This loyalty bonus is awarded to products that are not repositioned during the round. The intention of this bonus is to provide a trade-off between moving to a more attractive position and holding position and building loyalty.
  • This loyalty bonus works on a compounding basis and has the potential to accumulate to 95% from rounds 1 to 8, at the 10% rate. The prior bonus of 20% was overly favorable to inactive teams, which is why it has been reduced to 10%.
  • Other changes were made to formatting and presentation of the Sim Game as well.

About the Base-Level Positioning Sim Game

This is a simpler version of the Advanced Sim Game – it is recommended to play this version first, before proceeding to the advanced-level Sim Game.

Sim Game Background

Due to numerous requests, I developed a free marketing simulation game for lecturers and instructors. One of the challenges of any simulation game is explaining, sometimes a complex set of rules, to students.

Therefore, I have designed this simulation game to be simple and easy to understand, yet being complex enough to enable discussion of numerous marketing concepts.

Flexible teams and simulation game lengths

Sometimes marketing simulation games are quite restrictive, requiring certain numbers of teams and using set starting positions. However, with this free marketing and positioning simulation game, up to 10 teams can participate at the one time – but the game will operate effectively with a small number of teams.

The game has been built to accommodate up to eight rounds. However, a smaller number of rounds can be played, as it is no requirement to finish all eight rounds. This gives the instructor flexibility in terms of working with different size classes/groups and with different time constraints.

Each decision would generally take student groups 10 to 30 minutes per round to complete (depending upon the level of the class and the level of analysis and the number of scenarios considered).

Typically, a more advanced class will take longer to make decisions as they consider more competitors, analyze return on investment, look at different scenarios, and are more engaged in group discussion.

Fun to play, easy to understand

The game rules are fairly straightforward and quick to learn. There is a 15 minute video provided below that explains to student groups how to play the game. Therefore, a game could be up and running in that short space of time.

In addition to the video, there is also a PowerPoint presentation – of the slides used in the video – if you would prefer to explain the game directly to your students yourself (this is also below).

I have used this game numerous times with university-level students and usually have a great success with class engagement and interest. Because there are not too many rules to remember, most students will proactively be involved, with the more advanced students becoming quite analytical and even considering aspects of game theory.


The simulation game has been built in Excel. It requires no special software to run and does not include any macros. All the calculations and graphs and team positions are calculated automatically.

All the instructor/teacher needs to do is enter the decisions of each team. This would only take several minutes per around and the results are automatically calculated and displayed in Excel, which can then be either provided in soft copy to students or shown via a projector to the entire class.

Easy to use

Because of the automated process – as discussed in the above section “Excel-based” – other than entering the team decisions, there is very little involvement required by the lecturer/teacher in terms of running the game.

This means that the instructor can focus upon the marketing concepts and helping students/teams understand the competitive environment and how to look for positioning opportunities.

Covers many marketing concepts

There are multiple marketing and strategic concepts that would become apparent during the game, which provides a great learning tool for students. In particular, the following marketing topics are addressed:

  • market segmentation
  • positioning and repositioning
  • competitive strategy
  • return on marketing investment and payback
  • customer lifetime value
  • the role of new products
  • game theory
  • marketing metrics and financial metrics
  • marketing dashboards

So depending upon your particular teaching needs, you can tailor your discussions and/or assignments and assessment tasks relative to the particular topic you want to discuss. Alternatively you can have a general discussion with the class after running the game, as to which particular marketing aspects they took away from the game – that is, being a self-teaching tool.

Obviously, because it is a relatively fun exercise, it is also a great team building activity – particularly to use early in the term/semester.

NOTE: Once you have downloaded the simulation game, you can save the file for different terms/classes – such as “term one game”, and so on.

Video for Lecturers: How to Run the Marketing Simulation Game

Here are the PowerPoint slides used in the video if you would prefer to present/discuss the simulation game, instead of using the above video…

How to Play PowerPoint – Marketing and Positioning Simulation Game

Video for Students: How to Play the Marketing Simulation Game

Please note that there is also this article designed to help students compete in the simulation game.


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