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Essay Topic Ideas for a Course in Marketing

Think of an essay for a course in marketing as a symbol for marketing itself: Through the act of describing, arguing, illustrating, or analyzing a particular topic, you are in essence communicating the value of your essay to your audience. Marketing is the means by which we make a customer aware of the value of our product or service. So in this regard, effective essay writing and successful marketing strategies are quite similar.

If your instructor is allowing you to select your own essay topic, you'll want to choose something that is meaningful to you. As with any other type of essay, choose a topic that you can readily research and that you can sufficiently cover in the limited space of your essay. This first process of topic selection will be one of the most important determinants of the success of your work. Here are eight ideas to get you going:

Use marketing ethics to argue that marketing is good for consumers, competitors, and society as a whole.

Some would argue that marketing, by definition, is evil because it takes away the ability of the consumer to make an uninfluenced decision, it causes unethical competition, and it encourages society to be wasteful. How would you refute these opinions? How can we avoid making stereotypes and invading the privacy of the market audience? Consider how selective marketing could be considered exclusive, and discuss alternatives. What special considerations should be taken for vulnerable market audiences, such as children? Establish some good guidelines for an ethical marketing philosophy.

Discuss a product or service in terms of its economic utility.

Marketing provides to consumers many different types of economic utility: form, place, information, time, possession, task, etc. How does marketing contribute these kinds of utility to a product? What might a marketing team do to ensure that the finished product meets the needs of the consumers in terms of its benefits, such as lower cost and/or better productivity? What options (financial options, for example) are available to increase the product's possession value? How can a good supply chain add time utility, and what are some ways to increase the time value for a product or service?

Analyze a target market strategy for a particular product.

Consider the makeup of the target market, including their geographic location, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, loyalty, etc. How might you group them based upon their reasons for wanting the product? What barriers and advantages to entering the market could you encounter? Mass marketing can sometimes be effective, but differentiated or concentrated marketing may allow you to be more effective on different segments of the market. If you plan to directly market a product, what kinds of databases might be purchased to help the sales team? Keep in mind the psychological nature of target marketing; that is, what can a marketer do to customize his/her message for a particular target in order to create brand loyalty?

Specify an objective for a particular business project, and determine whether or not it is attainable.

In stating the objective, it may be helpful to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (a SWOT Matrix). What internal and external factors will be favorable and/or unfavorable in terms of reaching your goal? Consider the value chain of your company, and analyze its strengths and weaknesses. What external opportunities and threats will be presented to the company? What kinds of research (such as a focus group or a survey) would be helpful for your marketing manager to conduct an accurate market analysis for the project? If you determine that the objective is not attainable, what alternative objectives might you then consider for further analysis?

Illustrate how effective communication skills are mandatory for successful marketing.

Verbal and nonverbal communication skills are paramount in importance for making your company's message known. Discuss how to be a good listener. What are some helpful tools you can use for effective formal speaking (for example, you can structure your ideas through enumeration, cause and effect, compare and contrast, etc.)? What are some important skills and characteristics to utilize when talking on the phone to a potential associate? When drafting a business letter, how can knowing your audience, purpose, and subject help you to be more persuasive? Consider today's global economy, with its diverse languages and customs, and discuss some of the obstacles and skills necessary to communicate within it.

Discuss the different ways technology applications affect marketing.

Computer software and applications designed specifically with marketing in mind satisfy many needs. How are point-of-sale, accounting, record keeping, etc. needs met by technology? Specifically address the Internet, including the importance of email and the Web, intranets, and especially ecommerce as it pertains to marketing. With the access and affordability of such technologies, what does it all mean for small businesses as well as large corporations?

Argue that the approach is the most important step in the sales process.

Before you can determine a prospective customer's needs, introduce the product, overcome objections, and eventually close the sale, you need to make a successful approach. Establishing a common point of contact with a prospective client, building a relationship with the person, and moving towards product introduction are what this step is all about. How is a business-to-business approach different than a retail approach, and are there similarities as well? Since it can make or break the sale, the approach must be carefully handled.

Discuss the process of suggestive selling for a particular product or service.

A good closer pays close attention to important clues, such as body language or comments made by the customer, in order to generate more revenue through suggestion selling. When is the proper time to suggestive sell - and how can you be careful to avoid "blowing" a sale by being too pushy? Discuss why it's important to keep the customer's point of view in mind, and give him/her good reason for the add-on sale. How do you cross-sell and up-sell, and what are some of the after-sale activities you can use to build repeat clients? Describe a customer relationship management (CRM) system that could work for your product or service.

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