Teaching Marketing to High School Students
Whether you’re teaching a structured business or commerce course, or simply incorporating marketing concepts into your usual syllabus, then variety, student engagement and interest, along with valuable learning outcomes are usually key goals.
Add the additional challenges of unique learning styles, peer pressure and influence, lifestyle and technology distractions, and the usual – do I need to know this for the exam? – then we sometimes have a complex teaching path to navigate.
But there is a teaching upside when it comes to teaching marketing – and that’s all your high school students being experienced consumers. They have all been shopping, bought and used many products, seen ads, engaged with social media, know and prefer brands, and are quite savvy about the better products for them. This is a great starting point.
Welcome to Great Ideas for Teaching Marketing
This website is dedicated to teaching activities, tools, games, exercises, case studies, class discussions – in fact a whole variety of tasks – all designed to help engage, encourage, and educate students ranging from mid high school age right up to Masters level teaching.
Great Ideas is structured as a pick and choose website, where you can quickly go through the 100s of teaching activities to find the ones that best suit your student cohort.
Let’s get started… below I have curated a selection of teaching activities and tasks that would work very well when teaching marketing (and related business concepts) to high school students.
Please Note: The below is a mix of both FREE and MEMBER ONLY teaching activities…
Teaching Marketing Ideas for High School Students
GAMES, TOOLS, and QUIZZES
This Sim Game is structured around the 4Ps marketing mix. Students manage up to 2 brands across 5 rounds to see which team can have the most marketing success. The game is Excel-based and is easy-to-use.
These three escape rooms consists of 10 different challenges, built around a theme of a job interview or being a marketing expert. Each challenge is in sequence and needs to be solved first before the next challenge is released – students cannot skip ahead until they solve the puzzle first.
Here are two multiple-choice question video quizzes. One on general marketing trivia, and one called ‘guess the entrepreneur’. These video quizzes are designed as icebreakers and team-building exercises.
This is a 20 multiple-choice question video quiz on the PRODUCT MIX. It is a fun and interactive approach to revision for students, and a helpful insight for instructors on which new product topics need further explanation and discussion.
This is a free marketing game that requires students working in teams to design their own pizza store and compete with other student groups. Available in an interactive and non-interactive version. Ideal for teaching the full marketing mix.
This case looks at Patagonia, a company that is highly successful in terms of growth and profits, but also makes a substantial contribution to the environment, sustainability, and even to the anti-consumer movement and ideology.
In April 2023, superstore Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy, following several years of misalignments to the changing environment. Many factors contributed to their demise – but was poor marketing mainly to blame?
In this activity, students review a video on the rise and fall of Toys R Us and identify the key marketing environmental factors that they failed to adapt to.
This activity is built around a new flavor campaign for the well-known snack brand Pringles. This campaign is a mix of a sales promotion and a product line extension.
Do your students agree with KFC’s decision to extend their brand into chicken flavored nail polish? Why/why not?
RBW was a small hamburger chain established in the UK in the early 2000’s. Despite a significant financial investment, professional management, the use of branding consultants, and extensive media coverage, the business did not prove to be viable and closed within a few years.
A role play version for a New Coke case study, where students assume the role of key participants in the decision. An interesting challenge for marketing students.
In this activity we are going back to 2009 when Tropicana underwent a significant packaging redesign that did not go as planned. Although this occurred a number of years ago, it is a “classic” case study that all marketing students and practitioners should be aware of. It is especially useful for understanding the importance of packaging, branding, and what drives customer loyalty and repeat (habitual) purchases.
In this exercise, students describe well-known brands in terms of their brand personality. A list of personality traits and descriptors are provided. In addition, the activity explores the role of brand personality versus more tangible brand metrics.
For this proposed new snack food product, what is the most appropriate branding strategy? A brand extension, or a multi-brand, and so on.
In this very simple and fun exercise, students have to choose between two identical products – but one has the advantage of a very strong brand versus an unknown brand – will your students pay more just for the brand and why?
This activity is based on a chain of fitness centers. They want to increase their ongoing level of promotional activity, but are unsure how best to promote themselves in the marketplace.
Students assume responsibility for the promotion of McDonald’s ‘healthy menu’ campaign (designed to help reposition the brand), and they need to select the most appropriate promotional objectives.
In this simple, but quite challenging, exercise students classify ads into the categories of informative, persuasive, and reminder advertising. This is a great task to help students distinguish between these somewhat confusing differences. The “need” for reminder style advertising is also explored.
In this exercise, students will be presented with a mix of target markets and multiple target audiences for a new social initiative. It is a helpful activity for clarifying the difference between target markets and audiences. And it is very flexible, as it can be run as a case study discussion, as a marketing debate, or even a student role-play.
TEACHING SEGMENTATION and TARGET MARKETS
The task is to construct your a segmentation approach, using a list of 15 possible market segments that could exist in virtually any market.
Students need to identify what type of segmentation base that the firm is using from the list of segmentation bases provided.
In this activity, students need to segment consumers – based on their comments, attitudes, and behaviors – using demographic, psychographic, and behavioral segmentation bases, to construct three different segmentation structures. Then they need to determine which segmentation structure is the best from a marketing perspective.
An in-class exercise for marketing students to develop a better understanding of a market segment through constructing a segment profile.
The task is to outline a marketing mix for a holiday that would best suit different market segments.
In this activity, students compare the assessment factors for three market segments. They need to rate each factor and then choose the best segment overall to be their chosen target market.
This case study outlines a new retail store concept, which has proved somewhat disappointing for the two owners. The student task is to evaluate whether they adequately identified a viable target market and also to evaluate the appropriateness of their positioning
In this activity, students examine the opportunities and challenges of repositioning by reviewing the rise, fall, and then rise again of the cruising industry.
For this activity, students need to select the most appropriate positioning for a firm that currently home delivers pre-prepared food to people who are trying to lose weight. They have now decided to pursue an opportunity in providing a somewhat similar product, but this time, targeted at children.
This video-based activity highlights Snickers Misspelled Words campaign that they executed through Google search ads to successfully reinforce their brand positioning.
This is another classic case study, when Pepsi tried to create a breakfast market for cola. This activity is structured in two teaching formats and can be run as a role-play exercise or as a case study discussion.
TEACHING MARKETING STRATEGY
In this mini case study, students assess Burger King’s strategy to grow its market share in their home market in 2023 and beyond. The firm undertook an aggressive marketing program across multiple marketing mix elements, and started to look at product-based (rather than firm-based) differentiation as the key to their growth success.
This is a mini case study of a hypothetical toy manufacturer (Fun 4 U) that is faced with two distinct marketing strategy choices. The student task is to determine, based on the information available, the best approach for the firm.
In 2023 Pepsi announced its first logo redesign in 15 years, to coincide with their 125th anniversary. And while Pepsi are very excited about their new design, your students will need to address whether the new logo is better and whether it even matters for an iconic brand like Pepsi?
While SWOT analysis is an effective tool for synthesizing the situational analysis component of a marketing plan, it is often challenging working out where in SWOT that the finding should be allocated. In this task, students sort through sets of marketing information and classify them into the SWOT matrix boxes.
EVEN MORE ENGAGING TEACHING IDEAS
In this exercise, students select the most appropriate marketing strategy and then develop a suitable marketing mix, based upon a proposed new chain of Italian and pizza restaurants.
Do you have students asking “What area of marketing should I go into?” It’s a common question for students nearing the end of their studies. Well, here is the solution – a quiz that sorts students into one of 24 profiles and then provides a summary of their work preferences and traits, along with suggested marketing specializations that they should pursue. A great -in-class or take home exercises.
This is a creativity exercise where students sort through forced relationships of flavors and product categories in order to identify potential new product ideas for snack foods. It should be a relatively fun and enjoyable exercise for students, as well as demonstrating a good technique for finding new product ideas in a cluttered and crowded market.
In this activity, students need to consider what is the primary purpose of marketing? While many students will opt for marketing plans, new products, communication campaigns – is that what marketing is really all about?
This is a great example of using a market insight to change consumer behavior. In this activity, KFC created a smart phone game to deliver sales promotion incentives and drive sales.
This case study provides students with an interesting insight into PepsiCo’s new product process and some of the challenging decisions that they faced along the way.
AND ALSO CHECK OUT…
Teaching marketing should be fun and engaging for students and, as instructors, we should strive to “bring marketing alive” for students through the use of various activities, games, tools, and exercises. Review a summary of the available activities.
This is a handy list of all the free tools available on the GITM website. Here you can find all the download links for the tools, as well as how-to-use videos.
A list of all the free and member only tools available on Great Ideas – contains over 20 tools, premium templates, and games – all in one handy place.
Flipped classrooms can improve learning outcomes for students. Check out my top 11 tips for flipped classroom when teaching marketing.
The use of teaching games and gamification in marketing education is a natural fit and is a growing trend. Find out more about these important topics and find suitable games, tools, and tips.
Teaching marketing effectively is a challenging profession, so as a guide, please check out my top 10 handy tips for teaching marketing.
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