Teaching and learning

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 27 April 2012



Shapiro, S.J. (2012), "Teaching and learning", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 4 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/jhrm.2012.41204baa.002



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Teaching and learning

Article Type: Teaching and learning From: Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Volume 4, Issue 2

In the immediately preceding issue of JHRM I announced the establishment of a new Teaching & Learning section. This was being done to encourage the further pedagogical use of materials either on the history of marketing thought or the history of marketing practice. I closed this announcement with a request that the JHRM readership help identify any and all relevant material. “If you have sources to suggest or ideas to share, please contact me.”

That Call, followed by a similar request on ELMAR, an e-mail list for marketing professors, has to date not generated all that much of a response. That suggests this column must be more proactive in identifying pedagogical opportunities. So be it. A response from Tom Powers, however, reported on how his recent JHRM article. (Volume 2, Number 4), “Alfred Sloan’s 1921 repositioning strategy” had been used in a variety of traditional course settings. This was one of the types of usage I anticipated and one that very definitely should be encouraged. Consequently, the next T & L section will identify a number of articles on the history of marketing practice that could be used in a similar way.

Brian Jones also shared with me both a description of his course in Marketing History and the associated course outline. The example he provided is a very useful one, so much so that the remainder of this column presents an abridged version of Brian’s course description.

Brian has taught an undergraduate course in marketing history at Quinnipiac University for the last several years. It is an elective course intended for marketing majors in the business school. However, both marketing business majors and students in mass communications have also taken the course. The only prerequisite is Introductory Marketing. The course is titled simply “Marketing History” and it is offered once every academic year. Enrolment is usually 20 to 25 students. For more detail, see the course syllabus posted on the CHARM web site at www.charmassociation.org/ under “resources”. What follows is just a brief overview.

As an undergraduate course intended for business students who may only have taken its prerequisite, Introductory Marketing, this marketing history course shares many topics and basic structure with any typical marketing principles course. That, in part, is what convinced Brian’s department colleagues of the value of offering a course in marketing history to undergraduate business majors.

The assigned reading materials include Strasser’s (1989; reprinted in 2004) Satisfaction Guaranteed: The Making of the American Mass Market and a few chapters from Blaszczyk’s (2009) American Consumer Society, 1865-2005. Strasser’s book is organized around basic marketing strategy topics such as branding, channels of distribution, product development, market research, promotion, and retailing. As the title suggests, Blaszczyk’s book deals with consumption behavior but Brian assigns only those few chapters that focus on a time period similar to Strasser’s – the late nineteenth century through mid-twentieth when mass marketing was being developed in America. In this way, these two books complement each other and match up nicely with the basic marketing ideas already familiar to students.

A strong sub-theme in this course examines how pioneering entrepreneurs such as R.H. Macy, H.J. Heinz, the Kellogg brothers, Richard Sears, Milton Hershey, and others created brands that became household names and, in the process, revolutionized marketing practice in America. For that material Brian relies on the outstanding Arts & Entertainment (A&E) series “Biography”. His class also watches and discusses an award-winning, three-part documentary on the history of the “Cola Wars” produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The course is run as a seminar where students discuss either assigned readings or the video segments mentioned above.

There are two major assignments in the course. The first requires students to sample and analyze print advertisements from the online Ad*Access database hosted by the Hartman Center for Advertising and Marketing History at Duke University, http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/adaccess/ A wide range of product categories is included in that wonderful resource, but Brian’s students are restricted to working within the “beauty and hygiene” group of products. This category offers the widest historical scope covering the period roughly from 1900 through the 1960s. The second major assignment includes two options. Students must either read and review an approved book on business history or research and write a short biography of someone whose career has been based primarily in marketing.

That, in short, is how the founding editor of JHRM has structured his specialty offering on marketing history. I look forward to others sharing with me, and then through me with the JHRM readership, how they are pedagogically embodying marketing history in their courses.

Stanley J. ShapiroSimon Fraser University

Related articles