Spring 2 Duke MBA: Deep Dive into Marketing Part 2 Marketing Strategy

Taking Christine Moorman's Marketing Strategy course was essential to building my skills as a business thinker. Marketing has really evolved in recent years and is being more tied closely into business strategy. Focusing on the customer, then, is the role of any good marketing strategy and is thus key to a sustainable competitive advantage for a company.

The book

In fact, Chris has wrote a book on this, entitled "Strategy from the Outside In: Profiting from Customer Value". In it, the authors give case studies on how companies from all industries create strategies that offer customers value and how this has allowed the companies to thrive. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in an MBA or is seeking a business role.

The course

The course was very structured. We typically spent the first half of class going over the insights of the assigned case. Through answering these questions, a lot of successful marketing insights were shared. Because this portion of the class was largely discussion based, students benefit greatly from one another's experiences.

The second half of each class was a lecture that goes over the main topic of the class, and ties in closely with the book. One of my favorite aspects of the course was having the opportunity to ask questions to the professor. While Google is great for finding information, the MBA classroom experience is the place for debating business insights.

Relevance to health care

Another thing Chris did that I really appreciated was the inclusion of many health care examples. Typically health care examples are not included in marketing courses, or really any MBA course, due to the complexity of the industry. However, many of the insights in this course did come from pharma and device companies, which was very helpful for me to start thinking about how the skills I was learning could be translated into my potential future role as a pharma marketer.

In fact, one of the things I was doing in class was to apply my learnings into health care. One skill set the health care industry needs right now is experience from other industries, in particular consumer marketing. In health care, you often have to ask, "who is my customer"? Is it the patient, the doctor, or the payer? In reality, it is all three, but there has been a shift in focus from the doctor to the other two. As the consumerization of health care continues, it becomes more important to be aware of best practices in the consumer industry and being able to align your business strategy with new customer models.

Helpful to the internship

As I stated in Part 1 of the series, I decided to focus on marketing in Spring 2 to strengthen my fundamentals in this function. 6 weeks into my marketing internship at Bristol-Myers Squibb, I have to say that this decision was a good one for me, especially as I had a non-traditional MBA background. Taking these courses allowed me to hit the ground running, and will offer tremendous long term value as I continue to absorb and grow as a business person.

Seriously, if you haven't read the book, get it here. While you're at it, also pick up "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant".

Read Spring 2 Duke MBA: Deep Dive into Marketing Part 1 Product Management here.


  1. I've read Dr. Moorman's book and it is a fantastic read. highly recommended

    1. Yes, I agree. I think the book is a must read for all people in commercial roles.

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