How and Why I Started the Great Ideas Website

Welcome to Great Ideas for Teaching Marketing

Here’s the Back Story

My name is Geoff Fripp and I’m the founder and contributor of all the activities to Great Ideas.

This is a website I first set up in 2012, a long time ago now, and initially was based on the activities that I put together when I first started teaching.

I started teaching at university part-time when I had a corporate job in the 1990s, before moving to “full-time” lecturing in 2001. And since then, I’ve done a lot of teaching.

I’ve taught at 10 different universities in Australia, and I honestly have no idea how many lectures I’ve done. I think it’s somewhere around 1,800 lectures in total.

I soon learned, because as you would probably know, when you first start out and get your first teaching gig, they usually say to something like:

  • “Go off and teach introduction to marketing at undergraduate level. Here’s the class list. And good luck with it”.

There’s no instruction, no teaching development, no tips, no ideas, you’re just thrown in. Well, it was for me anyway.

And I quickly learned from the first semester that the good-old chalk and talk, the way I was taught as a student in university, just wasn’t effective with student learning. In fact, chalk and talk is probably the LEAST effective approach to teaching!!!

When I got to the end of my first semester I thought that I had done a great job going through the textbook and explaining  the theory and even throwing a few examples in.

But… when I got the student exams back, I realized that I’d taught these students very little. Many struggled to answer basic questions about core marketing concepts – even though I had “talked” about them in depth.

As a result, that first semester of pointless chalk and talk “teaching” ( if I can call it that) was the genesis of Great Ideas for Teaching Marketing.

So out went chalk and talk and I set about developing activities and role plays and simulations and games to try and create student interaction, student engagement, and also get them thinking about marketing decisions. Much of this approach we would call flipped classroom teaching today – but I didn’t know that at the time – I was just trying to find a way to help students learn and understand marketing.

But there was another surprising and unexpected benefit of my shift to interactive teaching – that teaching became far more fun and engaging for me as well. Yes, that’s right. Teaching uses tools, games, discussions, debates, and the rest, is a win-win for both the educator and the students.

Helping me develop many of these teaching resources was my 20 years plus corporate and entrepreneurial marketing experience. I had worked in marketing for six large firms (primarily in the financial services sector) and I had founded a successful (eventually) small business.

This gave me a wealth of practical marketing decision-making knowledge, along with many successes and failures to draw upon.

This real-world marketing background was critical in designing and developing many of the teaching exercises on Great Ideas. This is because marketing is practical. In my view, marketing can only be truly learned by application.

Sure, in marketing you can look at the theory in a textbook and say, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.”

BUT… when you’re in the room and you’ve got to make a decision, “Should we do this or that? Or how should we design the product? Or how much do we spend on the campaign?”

Suddenly its a different ball game. There’s always for and against and always supporters and detractors sitting around the table. And as you will see from a number of the teaching activities on Great Ideas – many times, despite research and considered decision-making – we still get it wrong as marketers.

A big part of my efforts of Great Ideas is to make marketing real and bring it alive, and make it a situation. A good example is the New Coke activity (Case Study 1, Case Study 2.) This is a classic case study that all marketing students should know about!

As a reminder, this case study from the 1980s, when Coca-Cola withdrew their flagship Coca-Cola product from the market and introduced “New” Coke.

Sure, using top-level consideration only, you can look back on it and go:

  • “Why did they do that? That makes absolutely no sense. That’s their flagship brand, it was 100 years old. Why would you play with that?”

BUT… if you take your time back and put students in that room and given the information they were working with (as per the two case studies above) suddenly that’s a very different, complex decision. It’s not as easy. Personally, I think that Coke made the right choice, given the marketing environment at the time.

And that’s the prime purpose of Great Ideas – to make your students better marketers,¬†with challenging, interactive, and engaging teaching activities.

Hopefully you get a lot of benefit from Great Ideas and good luck with your teaching!

Geoff Fripp


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