Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Münster in Germany, Sonja Gensler has introduced DIGITAL MediaPRO this year with her MSc marketing students.
This business game illustrates media and digital challenges and pushes participants to understand consumers in the age of digital transformation.
“[My] students reacted well, they really liked it. They appreciated the gaming character, they felt engaged,” Dr. Gensler said.
An engaging pedagogical challenge
Only two weeks after the release of DIGITAL MediaPRO, Sonja Gensler decided to integrate it in her curriculum at the last minute. The outcome was very positive as using this method instead of a case study turned out to be a more interactive and captivating way to teach concepts.
“I would have gone with a case study about how to allocate marketing budgets, but I thought a simulation might be more engaging than discussing a case, and actually the students agreed.”
For her, it was also an opportunity to link her course material with a more practical approach. It’s a dimension she feels very important to provide, since her students “are in their mid-20’s and have usually no extensive business experience”, she said.
A half-day business experience
Dr. Gensler introduced DIGITAL MediaPRO in a course that deals with integrative management of communication and distribution channels. “During the first sessions of this course, I discussed with the students how consumers react to persuasive attempts, what communication options are currently used, and what we know from research about the effectiveness of the different communication options. Then, the students played Digital MediaPRO for a half-a-day session. After that, I discussed some modelling approaches to allocate marketing budgets.”
She felt that DIGITAL MediaPRO was easy to use. “It’s short, straightforward,” she said. She allowed students to form teams of 3 to 4 people. “They started the game around 1pm, and finished at 6pm. It is very important to play it in a certain time frame.”
A true impact
During the exercise, Sonja Gensler made herself available to answer participants’ questions. “Sometimes it can be a struggle for them to deal with all the information,” she said. She also realized that the beginning of the game is crucial for participants to elaborate a successful strategy.
For participants, DIGITAL MediaPRO has a true impact, she evaluates. “They learn to manage the information. While they deal with an excessive amount of data in a short period of time, they have to combine different information sources, pick what is relevant to them, structure and make sense out of them. That’s very formative.”
DIGITAL MediaPRO also allows students to look at customer journeys and identify different media habits.
“Participants learn to make decisions that are relevant to their target. They understand that if you do not consider your customer’s journey, the media [strategy] becomes less effective. That’s a key learning.”
Ultimately, with this simulation, students are experiencing the importance of a sound strategy, observes Sonja Gensler.
“To win the game, they need to think about the strategy upfront, and not shifting from one round to another.” That’s always a good lesson to learn.