04-612-Carnegie Mellon University Africa - Carnegie Mellon University


Market planning and business strategy

Course discipline: Business
Units: 12
Lecture/Lab/Rep hours/week: 4 hours lecture/week
Semester/year offered (fall/spring, even/odd years): spring, all years
Pre-requisites: none

Course description:
Many ideas or inventions emerging from research labs or private entrepreneurs never make it to the market. In this course we will cover the many challenges faced by ideas during their research, development and commercialization phases. 
Market planning is the business function that deals with discovering and meeting customers’ unfulfilled needs and market demand. Market planning should be customer and market based to guide strategic decision making for the business. Market planning in high-technology markets poses its own unique problems due to the market and technological uncertainty and the competitive volatility of high-tech environments.
We will cover in detail the process used for developing a market driven business strategy and maintaining a business plan. The process starts with the understanding of the marketplace that the enterprise decided to serve through market analysis, the segmentation of the marketplace based on the customers’ needs (market segmentation), the selection and prioritization of the product segments (portfolio management) and the development of objectives and strategy for each segment selected (strategic planning). Finally the tactical actions to implement the strategy are documented in a business plan to ensure integrated execution of all tactical elements.
The course will be illustrated by real examples from the IT industry.
Guest speakers will be sharing their personal experience on specific topics of the course.
Students will perform market analysis and collaborate to real business plan development with local enterprises. 

Learning objectives:

The primary goal of this course is provide students with a basic understanding of the key steps in the development of a business plan through practical experience.


On the successful completion of this course, you should:
  • Have a basic understanding of the key steps of the market planning process 
  • Be able to perform those steps
  • Understand the quality criteria of that process
  • Understand the business value of market planning
  • This course objective is not to train market planning experts, instead the goal is to introduce students to the market planning concepts to encourage them to further educate themselves in that area. It takes years of practical experience to become a market planning expert.
  • This course is focusing on market planning for IT goods and services.

Content details:

The course will cover the following topics:
  • Research and innovation
  • The Valley of Death
  • Integrated development process
  • Digital marketing
  • Mission and goals
  • Market assessment
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market segmentation
  • Portfolio management
  • Technology adoption life cycle
  • Profit zone
  • Strategy definition
  • Risk assessment
  • Value proposition
  • Marketing mix
  • Business plan

Delivery: Face-to-face

Faculty: Michel Bezy