Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage, you will:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of customers and what motivates buying behavior
  • Position new products and services and evaluate the effectiveness of current positioning strategies
  • Understand the value of your brands and how to build, develop, and leverage that value
  • Maximize consumer engagement through experiential marketing
  • Conduct quantitative analyses to make — and support — marketing decisions
  • Understand your role in a fully integrated, strategic marketing plan

Experience & Impact

Academic Director Jagmohan Raju on becoming more customer-centric.

In Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage, Wharton’s top marketing faculty — who represent a wide range of research areas and expertise — will give you a clear understanding of core marketing concepts. These concepts will help you better align with your customers, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and create a strong and effective marketing plan. You will join a learning community of participants from a variety of industries, geographies, and functional areas. The program uses quantitative and qualitative methodologies, case studies, lectures, and hands-on exercises that allow you to interact with faculty and peers throughout the week.

You will gain the knowledge and skills that drive better decision making and build a common vocabulary to help you communicate those decisions effectively across the organization.

Session topics include:

  • Positioning New Products and Services
  • Maximizing Customer Engagement
  • Smart Pricing Strategies
  • Designing a Communication Campaign
  • Online Advertising: Communication vs. Marketing
  • Managing, Leveraging, and Extending Brand Meaning
  • Channel Strategies
  • Customer Analysis for a New Product Launch
  • Innovate vs. Follow: Strategic Considerations

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Guest Speaker

Pauline BrownPauline J. Brown
Advisor, Lecturer, Author

TThroughout her career Pauline Brown has helped to acquire, build, and lead global consumer and retail brands. She is the former chairman of LVMH North America, where she provided regional leadership for 70 brands in five sectors, including fashion and accessories, watches and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics, wines and spirits, and selective retailing. While at LVMH, Pauline also served on the board of the company’s private equity arm, L Capital, as well as the boards of several subsidiaries, including Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Fresh Cosmetics, and the luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi.

Pauline left LVMH in 2016 to join the faculty at Harvard Business School, where she designed and taught a new interdisciplinary course called The Business of Aesthetics. In 2018, she was approached by HarperCollins Publishers to write a book based on the course. Her book, entitled Aesthetic Intelligence, was released in late 2019.

Pauline is currently an executive-in-residence and lecturer at Columbia Business School, and she also hosts a weekly talk show on SiriusXM called Tastemakers, on which she interviews creative leaders, innovators, and influencers.

Prior to LVMH, Pauline was a managing director at the global private equity firm The Carlyle Group, where she helped to build the firm’s consumer and retail practice. While at Carlyle, Pauline invested in and served on the boards of several portfolio companies, including the European sportswear brand Moncler and the American beauty brand Philosophy.

Earlier in her career, she held senior executive positions in the global cosmetic sector, including the senior vice president of strategy at Avon Products and vice president of M&A and new business development at the Estée Lauder Companies. She began her career as a strategy consultant at Bain & Company.

Since 2008, Pauline has been a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, which seeks to develop the next generation of community-spirited leaders. She also serves on the board of the Parsons School of Design as well as on the boards of several corporate and entrepreneurial ventures.
Pauline received a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Wharton School, and she is a member of Wharton’s Executive Alumni Board.

Who Should Attend

Professor Jagmohan Raju talks about who should attend this program.

Executives from across your organization will benefit from this program, particularly non-marketers who have been given increased responsibility for marketing and planning and need to learn how to evaluate the performance of their marketing functions. Also, managers in any area involved in the development and management of new products will benefit, including those from divisions such as engineering, operations, research and development, finance, accounting, sales, and public relations.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Strategic Marketing Essentials participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Strategic Marketing Essentials participants by job function

Participants by Region

Strategic Marketing Essentials participants by region

Plan your stay in Philadelphia

Plan Your Stay

This program is held at the Steinberg Conference Center located on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. Meals and accommodations are included in the program fees. Learn more about planning your stay at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus.

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


Jagmohan Raju

Jagmohan Raju, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Joseph J. Aresty Professor; Executive Director, Wharton Co-Sponsorship of Indian School of Business; Professor of Marketing; Vice Dean, Wharton Executive Education

Research Interests: Competitive strategy, pricing, retailing

Ron Berman

Ron Berman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Assistant Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Online marketing, entrepreneurship, marketing analytics, search engine marketing, game theory, industrial organization

Jonah Berger

Jonah Berger, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Consumer decision making, social contagion, social influence, viral marketing

George Day

George Day, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Geoffrey T. Boisi Professor Emeritus, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Competitive strategies in global markets, strategic planning processes

Raghura Iyengar

Raghuram Iyengar, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Miers-Busch, W’1885 Professor, Professor of Marketing; Faculty Director, Wharton Customer Analytics (WCA), The Wharton School

Research Interests: Pricing, social influence, social networks

Barbara Kahn

Barbara Kahn, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor; Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Brand loyalty, consumer choice, customer-relationship management

David Reibstein

David Reibstein, PhDSee Faculty Bio

William Stewart Woodside Professor; Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Brand equity, marketing metrics, competitive marketing strategies, product line strategy

John Zhang

Z. John Zhang, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Tsai Wan-Tsai Professor; Professor of Marketing; Director, Penn Wharton China Center

Research Interests: Channel and retail management, pricing strategies


Before I took Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage, being in a corporate support function, I thought most of marketing was smoke and magic. We spend hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing every year, and it was difficult for me to see the value. The program showed me through data what that value is and will be. Without it, you have no signal, and if you have no signal for even a short period of time, you become irrelevant.

The deep subject matter expertise of the faculty doesn’t begin to explain how phenomenal they are. They have access to new research no one else has and they’re in the field working with companies. The practice and learning for them is a continuous loop — it feels like they are a couple of years ahead in terms of knowledge. They’re the reason for Wharton’s reputation. While they all have different teaching styles, what they have in common is making it real. Professor Raju uses new, real-world examples with brands that everyone recognizes. It’s completely relevant and easily resonates with you. The program gave me a much greater appreciation for how important marketing is, and provided me with real-world tools for evaluating the effectiveness of our marketing programs.”

Matthew OwenbyChief Human Resources Officer, Aflac, Inc.

My background is in engineering, and I have not had formal business training. Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage gave me a great base to have better conversations and a better understanding with our product owners. Because my role as IT director is internal facing, I wanted to come away with strategies and techniques I could use to take internal projects forward. I now have a better ability to evaluate why we do things in more grounded ways.

The horsepower of the professors in the program was really impressive. It wasn’t just about their achievements and research, but they taught the program to help you apply the concepts in any line of work or industry. The case studies they chose and the discussions they spawned were also very impactful. I have already begun to leverage some strategies associated with target audiences and messaging that I learned by applying them to change management efforts. I’ve gotten far more out of the program than the week I invested in it."

Greg ThompsonDirector, Enterprise IT, EnPro Industries

I needed a program that not only focused on the what of marketing — the tactics — but also on the why. I wanted a strategic view that included the impact of various decisions and how best to integrate decisions in areas such as customer segments, go-to-market, price, channels, and communication. I went back with a very deep understanding and not only shared what I learned with colleagues, but also implemented some of the key learnings quickly. We are now asking the right questions and seeing a phenomenal change.

The program goes well beyond tactics and the four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion) of marketing. It’s a semester of knowledge condensed into a week. You not only get to think about many issues involved in marketing in a different way, but you come away with very specific actions to take. The payoff from the program has been enormous just four weeks after I completed it.”

Amar Pandit, CFA, CFPFounder, Happyness Factory

One of the most valuable insights from taking Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage was learning how to price a product or service offer. The group exercises were very engaging and entertaining. We had one exercise where we were in an oil company and had to decide how to price our barrels in a country where there were a lot of competing parties. That was really challenging. It was also fun since I’m a very competitive person.”

Eric SabatoWestern Regional Sales Manager, Carber Holdings Inc.

Like a lot of companies, we weren’t very strategic about looking at how beneficial marketing is to our company and to our bottom line. The pricing discussion, the analytical part, and the case studies were all hugely beneficial. The one line I will remember from the week was a 1 percent price improvement creates operating improvement of 11.15 percent. We’re taking a real hard look at pricing for next year. We manufacture high-quality products, so we can command some small premium for that without losing all of our business.

Also, we did not have a specific marketing manager, so I’ve decided to hire someone for that role. My CEO went on this course a year ago and encouraged me to attend. I would certainly encourage whoever I hire as a marketing manager to take the course. I think everyone in the class came away with something beneficial from the week — to challenge themselves to think differently about some part of their business.”

Alan KellyDirector of Commercial Development, Bimeda Inc.

I found the course to be well packaged and one that gave me new and enriching insights into the various facets of marketing. The course content addressed the evolving scenario and challenges in the industry that have prevailed over the years on a global perspective. It was a refresher course as it helped me build on the concepts that I learnt while doing my MBA. This course truly helps a manager with the necessary tools and wherewithal that will equip him to face the challenges in today’s dynamic, innovative, and competitive marketplace.”

Vijay RamachandranSenior Manager, Reliance Industries, Ltd.

I founded Bloke, a men’s fragrance company, five years ago. It was always my dream to go to Wharton, because it’s the best of the best. I thought it was time for me to step out of my comfort zone of being creative, and become more knowledgeable with what Wharton could teach me. I took the Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage course to gain a competitive edge.

Taking a Wharton course had a big impact on my career. Three days after I got back from the program, I got hired as a consultant to do fragrance work in Australia. People were saying things to me like, 'You’re so talented, and you went to Wharton.' In addition, the men’s underwear line that I recently developed is getting released at New York Fashion Week in September. I’m very good at what I do, but I’m a designer, a dreamer. Wharton gave me the vernacular and the tools to be more effective when I speak at business meetings.

In the program, I felt like there were participants with both more and less knowledge and career experience than me, yet no one looked at each other any differently. We all learned from each other, a hundred percent. There were people in very different industries from mine: oil and gas, the shipping industry, you name it. I’m still in touch with people from the program on LinkedIn and am glad that I developed a network from the course.

Every professor was amazing. However, Jonah Berger was my favorite. Barbara Kahn was also an inspiration. I have never felt so challenged — in a good way — in my life. I’m considering taking another Wharton Executive Education course in the near future."

Christopher ValianteCreative Director and CEO, Bloke NYC

This program has a unique blend of world-class faculty, an integrated curriculum, and in-class exercises that taught us how to apply key learnings. The evening exercise on break-even analysis was invaluable to me. It was great that each professor could relate to the others’ presentations to continuously drive home the key learnings until the very final session.”

Mark HayesProject Manager, Aetna

Without a doubt, the Strategic Marketing for Competitive Advantage program was most valuable. The quality of the information and faculty, coupled with the interaction with the other participants, exceeded every other program I have attended during my entire professional career.”

Keith EnsingerDevelopment Manager, Decorative Coatings & Adhesives

My learning came not only from the professors and class material, but from a really diverse group of classmates from a wide range of industries — city government, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, health care, and retail. Also, the case material was stimulating and gave me a chance to challenge myself way beyond my own business experience.”

Kim SeamanMarketing & Communications Coordinator, Seaman Corporation

Date, Location, & Fees

April 25 – 30, 2021Philadelphia, PA$11,280

Download the program schedule, including session details.

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Fees for the on-campus program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

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