Fields of Study



Marketing is an essential, highly dynamic business discipline supporting the creation of value for customers, in turn benefiting and creating value for the organization, its owners and stakeholders.

As a business function, marketing is more than a "department" or the responsibility of one or more individuals or groups - it is an organizational mindset. In successful companies, brands and causes, a marketing mindset permeates the organization and how it analyzes, plans, executes and assesses performance. Why? Because without customers and delivering customer value - there is no business model!

Smith students pursue career paths in for-profit or commercial settings (e.g. sports, fashion, packaged goods, software, entertainment, consulting), as well as not-for-profit or social cause settings (e.g. public service, charitable organizations) In for-profit settings, value is typically derived from the exchange of monies for the benefits provided by products or services. In cause-based settings, value is derived from personal actions taken (e.g. changing behaviours, participating in a cause) and the resulting broader social benefits (e.g. reduced healthcare costs). Whatever the setting, marketing mindset is a critical organizational success factor.

In the Smith marketing program, our approach is to focus on a triangle of competencies that, when crafted together, facilitate creation of value for customers and the firm. As a business student, regardless of whether or not marketing is your chosen career path, you should strongly consider courses beyond the required first and second year marketing courses, COMM 131 and COMM 132.

Marketing diagram

Marketing Value Triangle

Smith marketing courses are organized around three points of the value triangle. Students wishing to specialize in marketing should consider courses from all three points. Possible course combinations are summarized in the charts below.

Customer Value

In the following section, we briefly summarize courses available in each area and how they relate to the three cornerstones of customer value.

Understanding the meaning of value
In this area of competency, courses explore how consumers and organizations approach the purchase of goods and services. In COMM 336 (Consumer Behaviour) we examine how and why consumers place value in brands and/or ideas, who buys what products and services, and why. In COMM 332 (Marketing Research), students learn how organizations acquire insight and knowledge related to markets and customers, and how properly designed and executed, market research brings value to the firm and consumers through improved strategic and tactical decisions.

Creating and managing value
This area of competency focuses on the managerial and business strategy aspects of marketing - how companies actually design, develop and bring products and services to market. In COMM 333 (Marketing Strategy) we dig into the strategic planning process and how marketers measure, evaluate and adjust strategies based on effectiveness. We examine strategic decisions related to selecting target markets, segments and the positioning of products to offer a compelling value proposition. Students specializing in marketing should supplement COMM 333 with COMM 431 (Advanced Topics in Marketing) which focuses on the bridge from marketing to business strategy and the pressures placed on marketing departments due to prevailing business conditions. Underlying all marketing strategies are the ethical and social responsibility implications of decisions. These implications are examined in detail in COMM 338 (Marketing Ethics) a course which also contributes to the Certificate in Socially Responsible Leadership.

Communicating and delivering value
The courses in this grouping focus on how marketers use elements of the "four P's" (still relevant!) to facilitate the buying process and the actual delivery (going-to-market) of value. The evolution of technology and media has enabled an unprecedented level of consumer engagement - and consumer control in the buying process. Marketers must create conditions facilitating our customer's ability to find, access and assess trusted information prior to making a purchase decision. In COMM 335 (Marketing Communications) we focus on the development of integrated marketing communication strategies that help organizations present a cohesive impression of their brands, providing consumers with information (and channels) that support their buying or brand engagement process. In COMM 434 (Sales Management) we examine the key aspects of professional sales - without which few products would actually make it to the shelf. The course delves into how organizations plan, organize, staff, direct and evaluate the sales function. COMM 439 (Business-to-Business Marketing) is highly relevant to any student thinking of marketing outside of consumer goods. This course examines the unique challenges and complexities of businesses marketing to, or supplying other businesses.


The following table aligns our course offering with a sample of typical marketing career paths. The combinations are presented for illustrative purposes and students are free to design their own customized curriculum and should examine other functional areas for courses that will contribute to their experience.

Career Path OptionsUnderstanding the Meaning of ValueCreating and Managing ValueCommunicating and Delivering Value
Brand or Product Management, Marketing Management COMM 332, 336 COMM 333, 338, 431 COMM 335, 434
Advertising / Marketing Services COMM 332, 336 COMM 333, 338 COMM 335
Market Research COMM 332, 336 COMM 333 COMM 335
Sales Management COMM 336 COMM 333 COMM 434, 439
Consulting COMM 332, 336 COMM 333, 338, 431 COMM 434, 439
COMM 332 Marketing Research
COMM 333 Marketing Strategy
COMM 335 Marketing Communications
COMM 336 Consumer Behaviour
COMM 338 Marketing Ethics
COMM 339 Channels and Internet Marketing
COMM 431 Advanced Topics in Marketing
COMM 432 Brand Management
COMM 433 Marketing Analytics
COMM 434 Sales Management

Course offerings vary year to year, the course term is subject to change, course enrolment is limited, and courses may be cancelled due to instructor availability or low enrolment. Use SOLUS to get the most up-to-date course offerings.


Please refer to the faculty profiles for individual research interests and publications.