This is a simulation game for individuals in Principles of Marketing. It goes over a variety of marketing concepts and give students a chance to understand marketing by allowing them to participate in a case analysis in the form of a game. he LINKS Marketing Principles Simulation is a team-based, competitive activity in marketing management that requires participants to analyze, prepare, meet and discuss their actions/responses to marketing situations.
As stated in the LINKS information, the major learning goals are to: (1) Assess market opportunities, (2) Formulate and execute marketing strategy, (3) Determine market entry strategies and tactics, (4) Enhance and encourage fact-based analysis and decision making, (5) Learn competitive analysis, dynamics, and rivalry, and (6) Cope with environmental uncertainty. The overall objective is to put marketing into practice through simulation.
Target Student Population:
As indicated on the website, the simulation is designed for the first marketing course in undergraduate or MBA programs.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The simulation indicates that no prerequisite knowledge is required, as it is an entry-level course supplement. It is suggested that this exercise be combined with other learning activities throughout the semester. It should be noted that LINKS offers additional simulations that could be utilized in advanced courses. NOTE: Instructors should review comments contained in this review prior to determining needed pre-requisite knowledge.
Type of Material:
Since it is a competitive simulation, this material is best completed by teams and outside-of-class. Overall results and situations, however, could be incorporated into lectures.
The simulation is designed to work directly from the Web, and can be accessed by the participants browser of choice. There is no software to download and install. Microsoft Word is required to read the results document after each round.
Evaluation and Observation
The simulation claims to engage participants in all aspects of marketing, thereby giving new students a well-rounded introduction into the field. Participants learn about strategy, analysis, and marketing mix management, and manage product and service portfolios. They have access to competitive benchmarking, concept tests, price sensitivity analysis, and marketing program experiments. Additionally, the LINKS student pricing seems to be slightly cheaper than similar programs on the market.
The website for this simulation does not provide the instructor with an immediate way to observe a sample simulation, see results reports, etc. It is difficult to analyze the ease of running this simulation or the full effect on the students experience.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Very effective, it makes marketing fun to learn and it challenges one knowledge of marketing. The module can accommodate classes of all sizes. LINKS industries can have as many as eight teams, with simultaneous industries running at the same time. The simulation incorporates a number of marketing concepts, and allows students to make decisions, as well as see the results of those decisions, in an almost real-world setting.
While LINKS includes decision and pricing worksheets to assist the teams, these seem to be more advanced for the typical introductory marketing student. There was significant evidence of financial-related decision parameters and also marketing concepts/terms that would not necessarily be covered in an introductory course. There seems to be significant evidence to support using this in an upper-level marketing course and an MBA program.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The instruction manual provided on the website appears to be thorough, and there are many provided worksheets and tutorials to help the user. Simulations, by design, are interactive and engaging. Students should appreciate the experience of taking theory out of the classroom and actually applying it to almost real-world settings.
Again, there is no apparent way to see a sample simulation, so complete ease of use is hard to assess. Additionally, the manuals and tutorials do seem to be more advanced than for the first marketing course it is designed for.