Essentials of Marketing

Building a Foundation for Marketplace Success

Kellogg knows that successful marketing professionals must be competent in sound marketing strategy, robust tactical practices and solid quantitative analysis. Our Essentials of Marketing online program has been designed to align with the competencies needed for success. This program introduces participants to critical marketing concepts, elevates their strategic thinking, allows learners to master problem-solving techniques, and become skilled in the use of customer and market information in developing superior marketing recommendations.

First, you will focus on creating a solid marketing strategy (Modules 1 – 6) which is fundamental for achieving a sustainable advantage in today’s highly competitive business environment. You will learn to build a foundation for marketplace success utilizing customer insights, identify your target audience and effectively position your brand to create a strategic foundation for achieving your business goals.

Now that your marketing strategy is in place, you’re then ready to explore the frameworks and tools that will bring that strategy to life (Modules 7 – 12). Kellogg’s renowned faculty will teach you how to make key tactical decisions in support of your marketing strategy and help you become better skilled in product development, brand management, marketing communications and digital marketing.

Incentives available for groups and teams of four or more attending open enrollment programs. Learn more

Online Programs

Who Should Attend

  • Managers in marketing-related roles with 2-8 years of experience who are looking to enhance their marketing skills
  • Emerging leaders who are in a marketing role as part of an organizational rotation assignment
  • Ideal for teams within an organization who want to communicate in a common marketing language

Key Benefits

At the completion of this program, participants will have the skills to:

  • Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy
  • Select optimal marketing tactics based on sound data analytics and customer insights
  • Deliver persuasive recommendations using a structured and disciplined framework
  • Communicate in a common marketing language

Program Content

Module 1: Understanding the Role of Marketing

  • Discover what is critical to marketing success
  • Learn why beginning with tactics often fails
  • Explore the 3 C’s and understand their importance in achieving your marketing goals
  • Understand why the customer is the foundation for all marketing decisions

Module 2: Identifying Customer Insights

  • Pinpoint what a customer insight is, how to access it and why it’s important
  • Understand how to develop customer empathy and identify mindsets
  • Use a consumer index to determine which customers are more or less likely to purchase

Module 3: Developing Marketing Goals

  • Define the elements of a comprehensive marketing goal
  • Learn to utilize consumer behavioral goals to grow revenue
  • Perform a breakeven analysis

Module 4: Segmenting Markets

  • Discover how segmentation helps align organizational strengths with customers’ needs
  • Identify characteristics that may be used to classify consumers
  • Determine consumers’ needs within each segment
  • Understand how matching offerings to a segment differs between and among competitors
  • Explore the elements of an effective segmentation study

Module 5: Selecting Target Customers

  • Understand why targeting is important
  • Learn how the concepts of measurability, actionability and substantiability apply to target selection
  • Explore how big data can improve Customer Lifetime Value

Module 6: Positioning Your Brand

  • Understand what constitutes brand positioning and the fundamentals of a strong brand positioning statement
  • Identify a frame of reference and point of difference in the marketplace
  • Analyze a brand position by applying the value equation
  • Discover why and how a brand position may be refined over time

Module 7: Making Product Development Decisions

  • Identify the best path that leads to business growth for your organization through volume growth, new product expansion in existing markets, expansion into new markets, or new-to-the-world product and services development
  • Learn the basic methods and pitfalls of forecasting market penetration for existing and new products

Module 8: Making Brand Management Decisions

  • Understand the role of brands and the benefits they bring to an organization
  • Explore the concept of brand design and its relationship to the customer journey
  • Learn the advantages and risks associated with extending a brand
  • Define and calculate the impact of cannibalization

Module 9: Making Pricing Decisions

  • Understand the concept of Willingness to Pay (WTP) and its importance in determining pricing strategy
  • Explore the WTP demand curve and its representation of customers
  • Learn how positioning affects WTP and pricing strategy
  • Analyze opportunities for segmented pricing

Module 10: Making Distribution Decisions

  • Utilize market segmentation analysis for distribution channel design
  • Learn how to use channel benefits and channel segmentation analysis to evaluate a major market decision
  • Determine the value and functions of intermediaries and the role of incentives in channel design

Module 11: Making Marketing Communications Decisions

  • Utilize the creative brief as the foundation of your creative strategy
  • Understand the concept, value and issues associated with sustaining your position through laddering
  • Learn to apply the ADPLAN framework to evaluate advertising
  • Discover how to choose appropriate media forms for promoting your product or service
  • Gain insight into creating and managing successful client-agency relationships

Module 12: Making Digital Marketing Decisions

  • Explore the modern digital marketing eco-system
  • Gain insight into how marketing platforms mature and how each stage of maturation presents benefits and risks to marketers
  • Learn to leverage customer journey mapping as a tool for customer touchpoint identification and prioritization
  • Discuss the term “experience,” describe why it matters, and use it to create differentiating value for your customers


Eric T Anderson - Polk Bros. Chair in Retailing; Professor of Marketing

Sue Ellen Bohac - Co-President, SMI-Alcott

Timothy Calkins - Clinical Professor of Marketing; Associate Chair of the Marketing Department

Alexander Chernev - Professor of Marketing

Anne Coughlan - Emeritus Professor of Marketing

Kent Grayson - Associate Professor of Marketing; Bernice and Leonard Lavin Professorship

Julie Hennessy - Clinical Professor of Marketing

Lakshman Krishnamurthi - A. Montgomery Ward Professor of Marketing

Aparna Labroo - Professor of Marketing

Mary O'Brien Pearlman - Clinical Associate Professor of Marketing

Alice Tybout - Professor Emeritus of Marketing

Florian Zettelmeyer - Nancy L. Ertle Professor of Marketing; Faculty Director, Program on Data Analytics at Kellogg


What is the program about?

Essentials of Marketing introduces participants to critical marketing concepts, elevates their strategic thinking, and allows learners to master problem-solving techniques and become skilled in the use of customer and market insight that is the core of developing superior marketing proposals.

Is this program applicable to both B2C and B2B marketers?

The cases and exercises featured in the program are B2C focused. However, most of the program's topics are also applicable to B2B marketing such as segmentation, targeting, positioning, pricing and communication strategies.

What is the learning experience?

Your learning experience will consist of frameworks delivered via video lectures, real world examples and case studies, application of frameworks through weekly activities, assignments, discussion boards and facilitator engagement.

What is the program format?

Essentials of Marketing consists of 12 modules delivered over 14 weeks online, with a short break between modules 6 and 7. Learners can expect to dedicate 6-8 hours per week to watch videos, complete assignments and participate in discussions. Modules are opened at the beginning of each week and there will be 3-5 assignments to complete per module. Each module will have a final quiz. While the modules do not close, access to assignments is closed following the due date.

Could a learner choose to opt out of some topics?

No. This is an online program in which a topic module is introduced each week and the learner will be expected to watch the video lectures, complete the exercises/activities and take the final quiz at the end of each module to progress to the subsequent week’s topic.

Are any of the sessions delivered in real time (live)?

There will be 2-3 live sessions, led by faculty and/or subject matter experts, delivered during the course of the program via a video conferencing platform. These sessions provide learners an opportunity to listen and ask questions, and while they are valuable in enhancing the overall experience, attendance is not mandatory. All live sessions are recorded for later viewing.

What methods will be used for grading and evaluations?

A Kellogg facilitator will review assignments, discussions and exercises to determine participants’ understanding of the material.

How much time is allocated to complete assignments?

The due date for submitting assignments is typically within 7 days of the module opening, but can be as long as 14 days, depending on the scope of the assignment. However, learners may request deadline extensions to accommodate for business and personal conflicts that may arise during the program timeframe. Reach out to the program facilitator to discuss any challenges you may have in completing assignments.

Can participation in this program be counted as credit toward a degree, either at Kellogg, Northwestern University or another academic institution?

No. Executive Education offers only non-degree programs and each participant receives a certificate of completion at the end of the program. This certificate does not count as credit toward a degree. In addition, at this time, our online programs do not count as credit toward a Kellogg Executive Scholar Certificate.

Does the program offer community engagement for learners?

Yes, participants can create a profile and connect with others through a discussion board where learners in the cohort can post questions to their peers or the facilitator. Office hours will be held during the program and all participants are welcome to join in with questions or to discuss assignments.

What are the requirements for accessing the program?

  • Valid email address
  • Computing device connected to the internet (Mac/PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone)
  • The latest version of your preferred browser to access our learning platform (Chrome and Firefox are preferred for accessing Canvas)
  • Microsoft Office and PDF viewer to access content such as documents, spreadsheets, presentations, PDF files, and transcripts

Does the program offer a certificate?

Yes. Participants will receive a digital Certificate of Completion from Kellogg following a successful conclusion to the program. Since this program is graded as a pass or fail, participants must receive an 80% to pass and obtain the certificate. This digital certificate can be shared with colleagues and posted on LinkedIn. (PLEASE NOTE: We do not provide reports of assessments, or “transcripts,” since this is a non-degree program.)

Additional questions?

Please contact us by calling 847-467-6018 or email us at

Personal Consultation

Please contact us to schedule an advising session

Upcoming Session

August 19 - December 8, 2024

Start: August 26 at 12:00 AM

End: December 8 at 12:00 PM

Accepting registrations through August 25


Kellogg School of Management

James L. Allen Center
2169 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208