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Marketing and Society case study

In 2016, a new module was introduced and made available to second-year students on the BSc Business Management (Marketing) programme.

It was developed, as part of wider curricula changes, to further embed our public value mission and principles into our degree programmes.

The Marketing and Society module, developed and delivered by Dr Carolyn Strong, covers a wide range of topics concerned with the role and impact of marketing in society, and on a variety of stakeholders. Its purpose is to stimulate new ways of thinking and encourage students to consider the social consequences of marketing practice and operations while providing them with an opportunity to work on a live project with local organisations.

First semester

In the first semester students engaged with topics such as the role and consequences of marketing in society, pressure groups, customer resistance and civil society organisations. Cause related marketing and social marketing were also key areas of focus and discussion.

Current and developing theories and methodologies were analysed and studied before being put into practice through the use of case studies. This is where class participation and peer debate played a significant role, enabling the students to consider and examine their perceptions of ethical and social marketing strategies, balanced against the differing views of their classmates.

Second semester

During the second semester, students were introduced to progressive and socially responsible marketing strategies (e.g. Social Enterprises) and asked to consider and analyse their impact, successes and disadvantages. This semester also included more case study work - a live case, a guest speaker led case study, and a visit to a small family-run business in Pembrokeshire.

The main objective of the semester was to observe marketing in society and a number of field trips were arranged to demonstrate to the students how organisations (which included the Wales Millennium Centre and Oxfam) develop and implement their marketing strategies and tailor them to their audiences, stakeholders and corporate values.

Live project

The live project requires students to work in teams to create a social marketing campaign on behalf of a local organisation – translating classroom theory and debate into practical and creative new business approaches. Students have worked with Challenge Wales, YMCA Cardiff and a Welsh Baccalaureate School.

This element of the module is popular with students who relish the opportunity to take their learning and apply it to real-world business issues and objectives, providing invaluable professional experience in creating campaigns, pitching ideas and managing client expectations and feedback.

"This module has been the best that I’ve undertaken since being at university. The small class teaching environment encourages conversation and discussion both with the lecturer and your peers. If you are interested in marketing, each of the topics studied will be of great value to you and the lecturer ensures that the teaching matter is informative, relatable and highly applicable to the group project. Working on the real-world project is unique and very fun while the opportunity to visit businesses in Wales on field trips provided a great insight into live business examples of marketing practice in action."

Callum Noad, BSc Business Management (Marketing), 2017

Challenge Wales

Challenge Wales is a charity that works with young people to help develop their life skills and employability. This is achieved through sailing on Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship. Challenge Wales also offers voyages on a commercial basis, which funds the charity’s work.

The student team assigned to Challenge Wales was tasked with creating a communications campaign targeting the University’s student body and the Student’s Union management. The brief asked them to develop a strategy to increase awareness of the charity’s tall ship voyages for team-building purposes, paying particular attention to how it can increase confidence and motivation.

Amongst the materials produces as part of the campaign was a boat-shaped information flyer, which was very well-received by the client.

YMCA Cardiff

YMCA Cardiff works across South East Wales and aims to make a positive difference in the community. It works in two specific areas - youth and community and housing and homelessness.

The student team assigned to YMCA Cardiff was tasked with creating an awareness campaign the organisation’s retail outlet in Roath, Cardiff. The objective was to increase understanding of the organisation’s work and how the retail outlet, and its revenue, underpins wider community engagement. As part of the process, the team spent time with YMCA employees and volunteers and met with Cardiff’s homeless community.

This experience informed their knowledge and understanding of the social issues present across the city. It provided them with invaluable insight and help to create a more relevant, empathetic and powerful campaign. Client feedback has been excellent and YMCA Cardiff has confirmed it wants to work with the Business School and the new module cohort in the 2017/18 academic year.

In addition to receiving strong client feedback, the student response to the new module has been overwhelmingly positive with the first semester generating a 100% satisfaction score, and comments reflecting that the exploration of social impact, and the different perspective it produces, is beneficial when applying for jobs and entering the marketplace.

The module has been designed to develop their communications and team-work skills, increase their confidence and provide them with professional experience of working ‘in the real world’ managing projects, workload and client relationships.

“The team of students I worked with were eager, conscientious and great company. The entire project was very useful and provided us with valuable insight as to how others (the students) see our organisation, while the exhibition which was arranged was great fun and an opportunity to engage with many new people. I was surprised to find that many knew little or nothing of the YMCA until the event – even though we have been providing services in Cardiff since 1852! It brought home to us the importance of creating defined marketing strategies for our projects as well as taking time to celebrate our strengths and values. The report that the students produced at the culmination of the project was interesting and assured and its recommendations have been noted and well-received. Our experience with the students was a very positive one, and we would be very happy to take part again in the coming academic year."

Mandy Caddy, Finance Development Manager, Cardiff YMCA Housing Association