MKT 575: Marketing Strategy for Innovation & Sustainability

The world's most valuable companies succeed because they make innovation a fundamental part of their business strategy. While the marketing strategy sets the direction for the future, the innovative power within the company ensures that new products and services are developed, new processes are designed, and new business models are created. The global economic system is straining available resources, and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sustainable business practices. To account for these market dynamics, marketing strategy and innovation have a vital and unique role to play in creating a more sustainable society, as most of consumers’ material needs are met through marketing systems. Sustainable innovation and marketing strategies then involve the process of creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers in a way that preserves or enhances both environment and human capital in the process of value creation and delivery.

Learning outcomes
For participants seeking knowledge in marketing strategy and innovation, this course explores the complex challenges organizations face in bringing sustainable innovative ideas to market successfully. How does a business interact with sustainability issues from an innovation strategy perspective? Which marketing strategy and marketing program should be employed to ensure rapid customer adoption and successful go-to-market? What are the most effective consumer insights and methods to support sustainable innovation endeavors? These questions will be addressed in a two-day course combining theoretical insights, case study exercises, and a collaborative design thinking exercise. At the completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • identify challenges for sustainable innovation, especially recognizing current consumption trends, and identifying barriers to and benefits of sustainable consumer behavior,
  • evaluate the role sustainable innovations play for companies,
  • assess strategies for creating, communicating, and delivering value for a sustainability focused brand by identifying consumer segments and values relevant to sustainability issues and understanding consumer responses to sustainable products and practices, and
  • apply design thinking as a methodology for understanding customer needs and creating innovative sustainability solutions.

Necessary prerequisites

Recommended prerequisites
Knowledge of marketing fundamentals (Bachelor level knowledge)

Forms of teaching and learningContact hoursIndependent study time
Lecture2 SWS4 SWS
ECTS credits3
Graded yes
Form of assessmentCase Study Assignment (50%), Design Thinking exercise & presentation (50%)
Restricted admissionyes
Further informationStudent Portal
Performing lecturer
Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuester
Prof. Dr. Sabine Kuester
Frequency of offeringSpring semester
Duration of module 1 semester
Range of applicationM.Sc. MMM, M.Sc. Bus. Edu., M.Sc. Econ., M.Sc. Bus. Inf.
Preliminary course work
Program-specific Competency GoalsCG 1, CG 2, CG 4
LiteratureEach student will need to purchase a case study booklet containing copyright material (6 Euro).
Lecture slides will be provided digitally on ILIAS.
Mandatory Readings
• Better World Fashion: Circular Economy and Competitive Advantage (Case Study W19238-PDF-ENG)
• Beyond Meat: Changing Customer Behavior in Food Consumption (Case Study W19734-PDF-ENG)
• Duhaime, Ann-Christine (2017), Our Brains Love New Stuff, and It's Killing the Planet (Article H03J9Z-PDF-ENG)
• White, Katherine, Hardisty, David J., and Habib, David J. (2019), The Allusive Green Consumer, Harvard Business Review (July-August 2019) (Article Reprint R1904J)
Complementary Reading
• Carvill, Michelle, Butler, Gemma, and Evans, Geraint (2021), Sustainable Marketing: How to Drive Profits with Purpose, Bloomsbury Business
Course outline
  • The Role of Innovation and Innovation Strategy
  • Case Study: Better World Fashion: Circular Economy and Competitive Advantage
  • Introduction to the Design Thinking Exercise for Better World Fashion
  • Innovate for Sustainability
  • Case Study: Beyond Meat: Changing Customer Behavior in Food Consumption
  • Challenges in Strategic Innovation Management
  • Product Failures – Why They Occur and What to do About it
  • Wrap-Up
Course updates and detailed course information can be found in the course syllabus on the chair's website.