Introduction to Marketing

Home Admissions Course Guide Introduction to Marketing

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.

MKT B250

Introduction to Marketing

Welcome to MKT B250 Introduction to Marketing. In the weeks ahead, you will be introduced to the fascinating world of modern marketing. You will come to know that marketing is all about creating customer value and building profitable customer relationships. Organizations that do these things right will reap the rewards in terms of market share, profits and customer loyalty. With the support of the textbook and the study units, we will take you through the course in a practical and enjoyable way.

MKT B250 is an introductory course for those who want to pursue further studies or a career in marketing, and those who want to make better business decisions with the support of marketing knowledge. You will be exposed to an overview of the core concepts, principles and tools of marketing, and the opportunity to develop a marketing plan with what you have learned.

We hope that the course will give you insights into the importance of marketing as a business function, as well as to you as a consumer.

This course has four critical learning outcomes. The focus is to provide you with opportunities to apply the marketing principles and concepts. You will learn that marketing is all around you, and you will be guided to 'see' marketing 'in action' in real life.


Course aims

MKT B250 aims to give you an introduction to marketing in businesses. Through the development of a marketing plan, students are provided with the opportunity to apply marketing principles, theories and concepts to a range of decisions marketers face.


Course learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • analyse marketing opportunities and plan ways to gather information about consumers, competitors and the marketplace for effective marketing planning;
  • describe and segment consumer markets in respect of their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural characteristics, and forecast the segments' potential;
  • analyse decisions on the four marketing-mix elements — product, price, place and promotion — based on concepts and theories; and
  • apply the marketing concepts learned to develop a marketing plan for a particular marketing objective/set of objectives and justify all the aspects of the integrated plan.

The learning outcomes describe what you will be able to do as a result of the prescribed learning activities. As you proceed through the study units and textbook readings, keep these in mind and ask yourself how the material being studied is helping you to achieve these learning outcomes.


In addition to this Course Guide, the course has the following important components. Please ensure that you have all of these materials available.


Study units

This course consists of five print-based study units. These study units are designed to clarify and reinforce key concepts from the textbook and provide additional examples.

In each unit, some marketing concepts are presented through videos to illustrate the selected topics in greater detail. You will be guided to access the video presentations on the Online Learning Environment (OLE) in relevant parts of the units.

Unit 1 introduces you to the marketing process, the development of customer-driven marketing strategies, and marketing's role in strategic planning. In this unit we address some of the major criticisms of marketing, find out why marketers should adopt sustainable marketing programmes and discuss some of the ethical issues marketers face.

Unit 2 introduces you to the internal and external environments within which marketers operate, and how they present both opportunities and threats. We review the marketing research process used to gather information, and look into the decision processes and factors influencing consumer buyer behaviour. We also discuss the process of creating a customer-driven marketing strategy through STP: segmentation, targeting and positioning.

Unit 3 introduces you to the strategic options available to marketers when developing their product and pricing strategies. We review the range of decisions marketers face in creating, branding and marketing both goods and services. We also look at the range of factors marketers consider when setting prices, pricing new products and changing prices.

Unit 4 introduces you to the decisions faced by marketers when developing their distribution and promotion strategies. We review the roles played by different channel members and how distribution strategies are developed. We also look at the five promotional tools marketers use to communicate with consumers and how they work together to formulate an integrated marketing communications strategy.

Unit 5 addresses the areas of budgeting, implementation and evaluation of marketing programmes. We review how marketers forecast revenues and costs, determine appropriate organizational structures, and use marketing metrics to evaluate performance and determine corrective actions.

You are also given a 'holistic' view of a sample marketing plan, bringing together what you've learned in the entire course.


Set textbook

The set textbook provided for MKT B250 Introduction to Marketing is:

Kotler, P, Armstrong, G, Ang, S W, Tan, C T, Yau, H M and Leong, S M (2017) Principles of Marketing: An Asian Perspective, 4th edn, Pearson.

MKT B250 Introduction to Marketing is designed to take full advantage of the prescribed textbook, which illustrates up-to-date marketing concepts with topical examples and a global focus, providing you with an array of in-chapter exercises and end of chapter application. You will also find a lot of company cases drawn from the Asia-Pacific region.


Online Learning Environment

This course is supported by the Online Learning Environment (OLE). There you will find course material and the latest course information. You can also make use of the platform to communicate with your tutor, Course Coordinator and fellow students. For details about the OLE and how to access it, please refer to the Online Learning Environment User Guide.


Assignment File

Details of your assessment can be found in the separate Assignment File included in the course materials, or on the OLE. Overview information is provided in the section entitled 'Assessment' in this Course Guide.


Presentation Schedule

The Presentation Schedule is available on the OLE. This schedule provides you with the due dates of your assignments, as well as tutorial dates.



Tentatively, there are four online quizzes (10%) and one assignment (30%) which together are worth 40% of the total course score. The final examination constitutes the remaining 60%. Your Course Coordinator and tutor will keep you updated on the assessment strategy for this course. Updates, if any, will be made to the online version of the Course Guide on the OLE.


Online quizzes

There are four short online quizzes covering Units 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively. Each online quiz is worth 2.5% of the course score, and altogether they account for 10% of the course score. The questions in the online quizzes are multiple-choice questions which are designed to test your understanding of the concepts presented in each study unit.

The online quizzes will be available on the OLE for a period of time (details will be posted on the OLE), and you can only do the quiz during that time. Within the specified period, you can take as much time as you need to complete the quiz, but you will need to submit your answers before the quiz closes. Once you have submitted your answers, you will not be able to change or re-submit them again. If you open a quiz on the OLE but do not attempt it, you will get zero marks for that quiz.



The focus of this course is on the application of marketing knowledge, and your assignment is about preparing a marketing plan (specific instructions are available in the Assignment File).

A sample marketing plan is provided in the textbook, and each study unit also contains a section on 'Developing a marketing plan', which will take you step-by-step through all the key elements of the task.


How to submit assignments

You must use word processing software (such as Microsoft Word) to prepare the assignment, and submit it via the Online Learning Environment (OLE). Your assignment must be uploaded to the OLE by the due date.

After the assignment is submitted via the OLE, it is your responsibility to ensure the submission is successful. Application for extension due to any problem with uploading will not be accepted. The University cannot accept any responsibility for assignments that are not received by your tutor due to any problem with submission via the OLE. As a precaution, you are advised to keep a copy of the assignment you have submitted.

According to the University's policy, no extension of the due date will be allowed for this assignment. This policy will be strictly enforced. Any late submission of the final assignment will result in the score of the assignment being adjusted to zero.


Final examination

The final examination is a two-hour, closed-book examination. The format and type of questions will be similar to the Specimen Examination provided on the OLE.


Course marking scheme

Assessment for this course is as follows:


AssessmentCourse area coveredWeighting
Online quizzes (5 in total)Units 1, 2, 3, 4 and 510%
AssignmentUnits 1, 2, 3 and 430%
Final examinationUnits 1, 2, 3, 4 and 560%
Total 100%


Course overview

The course is organized as follows:


UnitTitleStudy time
1Introduction to marketing and marketing plans2Online quiz 1
2Understanding the marketing environment and consumers2Online quiz 2
3Product and pricing strategies2Online quiz 3
4Distribution and promotion strategies2Online quiz 4;
5Budgeting, implementation and control1Online quiz 5


Use of case studies

Case studies are a useful and increasingly popular form of learning and assessment in HKMU's School of Business and Administration. In this section, we will look at why case studies are used and then suggest some learning strategies that you can use to approach case studies. We will also briefly discuss some problems that you may encounter as you learn from case studies.


What is a case study approach to learning?

One main purpose of a case study is to explore an issue or a number of issues in relation to an organization. The intention is to get you to carefully diagnose an organization, focus on the key problems and suggest how they might be resolved. Often the case is a real-life account of an organization which you are required to analyse in order to focus on a problem. Usually, the information provided is incomplete and you are expected to observe developments in the organization over a period of time. The case study approach is an excellent opportunity for you to actively apply conceptual knowledge and material that you have read to the reality of an organization.

At HKMU, case studies may be used as part of assignments, exams, study units or day-school exercises. You are normally given some information about a company (this could be both text and graphical information, such as figures and tables). You are then asked to think about some problems related to the company and to use concepts and apply theories that you have learned in your course to propose possible solutions for the company.

Let's have a look at two kinds of case study questions that you might be asked to work through in your course. The first example is quite structured, while the second is much more open-ended.


Two examples of case study questions

  1. Read the case study entitled 'ABC Consultants' and consider the following issues:
    • Based on your understanding of the resource-based model, what measures could be taken to improve ABC's returns?
    • Drawing on your broad understanding of the consultancy industry, assess ABC's relative competitiveness and its profit potential.
    • To what extent do internal factors account for ABC's financial weaknesses?
    • Based on your assessment of ABC's financial weaknesses, formulate a new strategic intent and develop a mission statement for ABC.
  2. Read the case study entitled 'XYZ Industries'.
    • Identify the key problems that are currently faced by XYZ's management.
    • Propose viable solutions to these problems.

Why case studies?

As you can see from the above examples, a case study approach to learning requires a great deal of thinking and often will not easily yield a quick 'wrong' or 'right' answer. However, case studies are good preparation for dealing with real-life business problems. Some cases may be short and relatively simple, others longer and more complex. The purpose of both types of cases is the same: to give you an opportunity to develop your skills in analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the organization under examination, to consider the processes at work within the organization, and to make decisions about future actions.

Case studies are not meant to replace textbooks, but rather to prompt you to draw connections between theories and practice, and to apply abstract ideas, concepts and principles to specific concrete situations. Ultimately, through case analyses, you will develop a number of skills that are crucial in business. In particular, they will help you to:

  • analyse complex, unstructured, sometimes ambiguous situations;
  • identify critical issues and problems;
  • question your own and others' assumptions;
  • improve your problem-solving skills;
  • develop your ability to find alternatives and make informed decisions;
  • make decisions with incomplete information and think strategically;
  • self-educate yourself and draw on a broad range of resources and knowledge; and
  • present and justify your recommendations in writing.

You may find that there are many possible 'right' answers to the questions in a case study. This illustrates that there is often no single best way to responsibly manage and solve real-life business problems.


Some guidelines for analysing case studies

The following strategies should help you to successfully analyse case studies:


1 Read the case and become familiar with the facts

First, skim-read the case to obtain a general understanding of the main point(s). Highlight or underline the pertinent points as you read.

Read the case again, and this time note down the critical facts (such as names, time sequences and where events occurred). Try to understand how events have influenced decisions. Identify the important individuals or stakeholders and try to assess the importance of the supporting information in the case. How reliable is this supporting information? Are there any gaps in the information given?

Make a note of any questions that you may have as you read through the case.


2 Assess the context of the case

Try to understand the environment of the organization and the wider context of the case. Ask yourself questions about:

  • The state of the organization: What is the state of this organization — good, bad or in- between? Usually this involves thinking about interpersonal relationships and assessing production or financial problems.
  • Key players and systems: How do people and systems operate in this organization? Why do they operate like this? Are the systems undergoing change? How successful are the changes? Is there anyone who may sabotage a future strategy? Is there someone who can ensure the success of a future strategy?
  • Significant trends: How does this industry operate? What are the main or unique characteristics of the industry? What were they five or ten years ago, and what are they likely to be in the future? What impact are certain trends likely to have on the organization under investigation? How does this organization's performance compare with that of its competitors?
  • Constraints: Clearly identify all constraints in the case. A constraint may be viewed as anything (usually beyond the control of the organization) that may prevent an otherwise feasible course of action from becoming a success. What is outside the control of individuals in the case study? For example, it is unlikely that any company or individual in Hong Kong could prevent a foreign government from imposing tariff barriers on imports.

Doing a SWOT analysis is a good way to get a better understanding of the organization and the context or environment in which it is operating.\

A SWOT analysis considers the Strengths and Weaknesses of the organization, and the Opportunities and Threats which the organization is facing in the external environment.


3 Recognize the case's symptoms

Read the case again and as you read, try listing all the symptoms of the case. The symptoms of a case are not the problems, but they may help you to identify the problems. Symptoms are all the things that are undesirable or that are not as expected. For example, falling sales could be a symptom of several problems, such as poor market segmentation, poor product quality, or problems in a supply chain. At this stage of your analysis, you should just try to observe all the symptoms and avoid prematurely identifying problems or suggesting solutions. (Like a doctor during a medical consultation, you would first need to observe and note all the symptoms of your patient before giving a definite diagnosis of the problem.) Then think about how the symptoms may be interrelated. Relationship diagrams, like the one below, may help you to see the relationships between symptoms.




4 Diagnose the case's problems

After getting a good grasp of the symptoms, you're ready to determine key issues that need to be analysed more closely. You are now diagnosing the situation like a doctor diagnosing a patient's condition. Ask yourself, 'What seems to be the trouble in this organization?' and make a list of what you now perceive to be the key problem(s). You will probably need to go back to the details of the case, and as you do this, you may add to or refine your list of potential problems.

If there are several problems, you will need to order and prioritize them. You might want to number the problems according to your perception of their importance, or make a matrix, like the one below, showing the relationships between various criteria and each problem.


CriteriaProblem #1Problem #2Problem #3
Importance: what will happen if the problem is not addressed?   
Urgency: how quickly must this problem be solved?   
Centrality: To what extent does this problem cause others?   
Solvability: Can this problem actually be solved?   


Also try to establish if there are relationships or themes in common among the problems. Perhaps different problems in your list are actually variations of a broader central problem.

Ask yourself what assumptions you have made about the case. Are these assumptions reasonable and supported by facts? Would other people objectively suggest the same problems based on the facts you have? Are you suggesting problems that are not supported by the facts of the case?

After you have considered and prioritized the possible problems and questioned your assumptions relating to these problems, you should write a statement of the problems as you perceive them. Avoid suggesting solutions at this stage.

Once you have a problem statement, you need to find evidence in the case to support your problem diagnosis. Also, try to identify ideas, concepts and theories from your textbook and course units which help to explain what is happening in the case.


5 Formulate criteria for a 'good' solution and identify possible constraints to solutions

Before you propose a solution, you need to consider the characteristics of a 'good' solution. Obviously, your solution should bring benefits, such as improved productivity, reduced costs or greater profits. However, it also needs to be viable and be able to accommodate the constraints that you have already identified. For example, you should ask yourself, 'Is the solution legal? Is there a budget for this solution? Does it conflict with the organization's culture?'

Try to brainstorm alternative solutions. Aim to generate a broad and creative range of options and then try to rate each according to various criteria.

The following matrix demonstrates how this can be done.


 CostEase of implementationImpact on organization cultureImpact on profits
Option 1*******
Option 2*********
Option 3*******


Also refer to ideas, concepts and theories from your course materials as you consider and assess each possible solution.

It's often wise to propose a solution that allows for plausible alternatives if it should fail. Managers use the term 'satisfice' when they are considering acceptable alternative solutions — that is, they consider whether a solution is able to satisfy the situation while also making some realistic sacrifices to existing constraints. Such a solution is a satisficing one rather than a maximizing one.

Finally, don't forget to consider the possibility of taking no action. What will actually happen if no action is taken? Are any (or all) of the solutions less viable than taking no action at all?


6 Recommend a viable solution

After you have assessed the merits and pitfalls of each alternative solution, select the best solution for the situation.

Remember that the solution needs to be viable. Can the recommended solution be introduced? Are there the resources and the willingness to implement it? Be realistic about what may work. Explain why it is the best solution within the constraints of the existing context and explain how it can be applied to the organization. Suggest a time frame for the solution's implementation.

Outline possible strategies for implementing your solution, either partially or completely. You should consider as many feasible courses of action as possible before choosing the one that seems the most likely to succeed. The more ideas you have, the greater your chance will be of finding a solution that will work well. The complexity of most organizational problems means that it is highly unlikely that one idea alone will correct the situation. Usually a combination of actions is required, and these need to be funded differently, timed carefully and staffed as necessary.


7 Present your solution as a written recommendation

Review your final solutions and then prepare a set of written recommendations. These should clearly outline your proposed solutions in relation to the problems that you have identified. Your recommendations should also include details of why these solutions are the most appropriate given the circumstances and constraints of the case. Finally, you need to clearly state how and when your proposals will be implemented.

Your tutor and your course Assignment File can provide some guidelines on how to present your recommendations.


Some mistakes to avoid as you analyse cases

When you first tackle case studies, you should be careful to guard against the following mistakes:

  1. One of the most common mistakes made in case analysis is repeating or simply summarizing the facts of the case. Your tutor is already very familiar with the case details, so you do not have to restate them. You are required to use and analyse the facts, not repeat them. Your analysis should contain only enough case material to support your arguments. Therefore, be analytical!
  2. You may often be tempted to just deal with symptoms and ignore the causes of the problems. It is very important to analyse the background of the case (and the climate in which the events of the case unfold).
  3. Avoid discussing problems in isolation and do not overlook their interrelatedness. If you try to think in terms of 'systems' rather than individual problems, you will be more likely to avoid this pitfall.
  4. Students often fail to state the assumptions underlying their analysis. If any important assumptions have been made, have you questioned them and are they reasonable and appropriate? Avoid using and interpreting case material selectively in order to justify a preconceived solution.
  5. Practical limitations and constraints may sometimes be overlooked. For example, a recommendation that a whole team be fired is probably unrealistic.
  6. A very common mistake is poor integration of the facts in the case with the concepts, principles and theories in the textbook. Such integration is vital. Ask yourself if relevant theories from your course have been fully and constructively applied.
  7. Finally, recommendations are too often not spelled out in detail or are unrealistic. A timetable for implementing them is also often omitted.

Analysing cases poses many challenges and this is one reason the case study method is so rewarding. It is a very active form of learning. It offers you a risk-free opportunity to gain managerial and organizational experience and should greatly increase your confidence to make informed decisions in the real world.

Good luck and we hope you enjoy working through the cases that you encounter!

In MKT B250 Introduction to Marketing, you are provided with a range of materials to assist your learning. Your most important resources are your course textbook and the five-unit study materials. The Online Learning Environment (OLE) also comes with an ePub version of the study units and videos of selected marketing topics. Taken together, they provide you with the marketing knowledge you need to master, as well as many local and international examples designed to bring the concepts to life.

You will get the most from this course by following the study materials, completing the textbook readings and working through the activities and assignments unit by unit. As soon as you can figure out a system that works for you and apply it consistently, you will be able to progress steadily and enjoy your study of marketing!


Tutors and tutorials

Students may choose to attend the live online tutorials provided for this course. While attendance is not compulsory, they are great opportunities for you to meet with other marketing students, discuss topical issues, and get prompt answers from your tutors to course-related questions.

You may also contact your tutors by phone or email if:

  • you do not understand any part of the study materials or assigned readings;
  • you are having difficulty with the study unit activities; or
  • you have questions about assessment.

MKT B250 Introduction to Marketing is designed to provide you with the theories, concepts and tools needed to address real-world marketing problems and prepare marketing plans.

The course includes five study units and a set textbook. It is supported by live online learning sessions and the OLE.

Good time management and a regular study habit are the keys to success in distance learning. You are encouraged to draw up your own study schedule before you start the course, and follow it consistently throughout the term.

Remember that although you are responsible for your own study, the staff members of Hong Kong Metropolitan University are here to help you. If you experience difficulties with any aspect of your course, contact your tutor or your Course Coordinator.

Good luck, and enjoy the course!

If you wish to defer your studies of this course until a later date, you should apply for deferment of studies. For the regulations governing deferment of studies, please refer to your Student Handbook. If you have applied for deferment of studies, you should continue with your studies of this course and submit the required assignments until formal approval is given by the University. Should you have difficulties in submitting an assignment, you are advised to liaise with your Course Coordinator and apply for an assignment submission extension. Students who have been granted deferment of studies will not be allowed to submit assignments due before the date that their application for deferment of studies is received by the Registry.

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