Experiential Education Archives

group of people with thumbs up - business simulations are where mistakes are encouraged

Business Simulations: where making mistakes are encouraged

Making mistakes simply means you are learning faster.

Weston Agor

Who likes making mistakes? Majority of us probably don’t like making one or try our best to avoid it.

In school, we always thrive to do the best we can to avoid making mistakes in our exams or essays to avoid failing.

At work, would you hire someone who says they often make mistakes or promote someone who constantly does? Majority of employers probably wouldn’t.

Here at Smartsims Business Simulations, we believe that we often learn best and the most when we fail, and make mistakes. This allows us to look back, analyze what and where we have gone wrong and restart. If there’s an opportunity, we can also get feedback from our mistakes. This gives us a brand new start to take action and hopefully never make the same mistake again.

However, realistically, we seldom get a second shot to do all these, right? Professors in universities will rarely allow you to redo an exam you already failed. You won’t get another shot of winning that soccer match you already lost. You would lost an opportunity to get promoted if you missed your quota.

Good news is with Smartsims Business Simulations, failure and mistakes are encouraged!

The foundation of simulation-based learning is that we learn by doing. Our objective is to give students an opportunity to have their own business experience, and mirror what it’s like in the real world. This allows them to take responsibility over their own learning and become personally engaged with the content. They get to manage their own company in a fun and safe environment, while allowing them to learn through trial and error, testing different decisions and strategies.

Every business simulation includes a practice and competitive application. Once students are familiar with the simulation format, their teams develop strategy and make key decisions for their organization. Students use real-time market and business reports to effectively analyze market conditions; develop strategy; and, evaluate the impact of their choices.

All our business simulations provide students with a platform to develop an understanding of business concepts, make strategic and critical decisions, and allow them to see the immediate impact of their decisions.

Here, failure is encouraged and allowed, so that they can try better approaches and methods.

Provide your students with a unique learning opportunity and take your course to the next level with Smartsims. Contact us to learn more.

CRM System in AdSim Advertising Simulation

Customer Relationship Management in AdSim Advertising Simulation

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

Three periods into the simulation and you will be given control of your firm’s Customer Relationship Management strategy.

Customer Relationship Management or CRM is an approach to manage a company’s interaction with current and potential customers.

Retention of Existing Customers is a key part of how to win AdSim and this is your main decision for keeping them satisfied with your Customer Service Level.

Purpose of CRM

The purpose of a Customer Relationship Management strategy in AdSim is to decide which policies you will implement to try and keep Existing Customers loyal to your Digital Camera brand.

You will be able to measure the effectiveness of your Customer Relationship Management strategy through two market research reports:

  • The Customer Relationship Management Evaluation report.

CRM Evaluation Report

Showing your adverts to a focus group of New and Existing customers and asking them to rate your current strategy’s appeal.

  • Competing Products Customer Relationship Management Options.

Competitor CRM report in AdSim

A comparison of your product’s Customer Relationship Management Options with its competition.

CRM Decisions In AdSim

Customer Relationship Management Decisions tab in AdSim Advertising Simulation showing decision screens

In AdSim you are required to make decisions about four elements of your Customer Relationship Management strategy:

  • CRM SYSTEM

Decide whether or not you want to invest in a Customer Relationship Management database system? And if so what type? e.g. Entry level, Mid-Level or Custom Built.

  • WARRANTY

What length of Warranty that you want to offer your customers? E.g. 90 Days, 180 Days, One Year or Two Years.

  • SUPPORT

What level of a customer service do you want to provide? E.g. A manual, a website too, an e-mail helpdesk, or a telephone helpdesk too.

  • LOYALTY

What type of customer loyalty program do you want to administer? E.g. nothing at all, a regular newsletter, a regular photo contest or even a photo school.

On each tab of the decision screen, i.e. CRM System, Warranty, Support and Loyalty you are required to choose which option you think best targets your customers within your budgetary constraints.

Note that each option has a cost associated with it and that amount will be deducted from your Promotion Budget if you select that option. Generally the greater the cost of the option, the more appeal it will have to your market.

Related Articles:

artificial intelligence and smartsims

AI in Education: Smartsims Business Simulations

Disruptor Daily featured Smartsims’ CEO, Dennis Gain to understand how Smartsims is using AI to transform education, and what the future of the education industry holds.

Smartsims began as we wanted to provide students with an experiential learning environment to bridge theories and concepts taught in class with real-life experience (you can read more about our history here).

We use Artificial Intelligence in our simulations through our use of robot competitors to replicate human competitors. This is most especially helpful in online courses that want to replicate a similar experience to students in campus.

One of the benefits of this for students is they are able to demonstrate working in team environments, exemplify an understanding of business problem-solving and fully represent themselves as capable professional candidates.

You can read the full article here:

Measuring Your Firm’s Success in MikesBikes Business Simulation

Your Objective

Your objective is to create wealth for shareholders and so you will be evaluated on the cumulative change in Shareholder Value that your firm generates.

To see the shareholder value of your firm choose the “Financial Results for All Firms” report from the Key Reports menu.

Being evaluated on shareholder wealth is significantly different from evaluation based on net profit, market share, or earnings per share.

Your Aim

You should aim to:

  • Maximize net profit
  • Minimize shareholder investment
  • Minimize risk (associated with high levels of debt)

Due to these multiple objectives, a small niche marketer consistently earning good margins and without much debt may outperform a large heavily-indebted firm with earnings several times greater.

Firms will need to carefully consider these objectives when developing their overall strategy, their marketing, operational and financial plans. Simply increasing in size will not necessarily lead to an increase in shareholder value. You should only invest money (for example in new plant, new product development, or on factory improvements) if you believe that the return on these investments will be greater than what shareholders could achieve elsewhere at the same level of risk (e.g. shareholders can earn returns of 8% by investing in a term deposit). If not, you should instead consider repaying debt, paying a dividend, or repurchasing issued shares.

For more detail on how shareholder value is calculated and how to improve this, see the How to Increase Shareholder Value article.

Devon Palmer from Nova Scotia Community College reviewing AdSim

A Student’s Perspective on AdSim Advertising Simulation

Devon Palmer from Nova Scotia Community College

Devon Palmer (pictured above), a student of Professor Harold Lowe from Nova Scotia Community College has previously used our MikesBikes Introduction simulation in his Business course. Upon completion, he was asked by Professor Lowe to also trial both Music2Go Marketing and AdSim Advertising simulations for his work placement.

The review below is written by Devon. He shares his point of view on the AdSim Advertising simulation and some advice on how to do well in the simulation. He also created a few videos on both Music2Go and AdSim business simulations, which you can watch at the end of his review.


What is AdSim?

Smartsims describes it as such in their AdSim Player’s Manual:

AdSim is a computer-based Advertising Simulation of the Digital Camera division of a Consumer Electronics Corporation.  You get the opportunity to experience and understand many of the key decision required to plan and implement an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Plan.

AdSim will give you the opportunity to have practical hands on experience at making critical advertising decisions and seeing the outcome in a live, interactive case study.”

The goal of the AdSim simulation is to maximize your Cumulative Net Marketing Contribution.

How do you do this?

The first step is renaming your firm. This is available to you both in Single-Player as well as Multi-Player. Being able to make this decision gives the simulation a personal feel, rather than just being “Company #12452”. Your two market segments that you get to advertise and sell your product to are the Existing and New markets. Unlike other simulations that allow you to have multiple products in multiple market segments, AdSim only has the one camera that goes into the two segments.

Media Planning

As this is the advertising simulation, your main contribution is the Advertising Plan. Your main goal is to set your advertising budget and allocate it among the five areas; TV, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers, and Interactive Digital Media. While other simulations, like MikesBikes or Music2Go, also give you this option, AdSim goes a step further allowing you to allocate within those five areas. This is more in-depth and a great addition, especially for an advertising class.

Media Planning Decisions in AdSim

Within the TV advertising you may allocate to four segments, Network TV, National TV, Local Spot TV, and Cable TV. Even further, you can allocate your budget into the Network TV segment into six more segments. These range from Early Morning to Late Fringe times of day.Network Allocations in AdSim

Newspapers have four segments as well, which include, General, Business, Tabloid, and Sunday.

Newspaper Allocation in AdSim

You can also further allocate within the General segment to five geographical regions such as North and South East, North and South West, and Central.

Newspaper Allocation in AdSim

Magazines have five categories that you can advertise in, Women’s Lifestyle, Men’s Lifestyle, Entertainment, Family, and News.

Magazines Allocation in AdSim

The Women’s and Men’s Lifestyle choice further breaks down into four more choices based on the age of the customer. These are, Youth 12-17, Adults 18-34, Adults 35-55, and Adults 55+.

Women's Lifestyle Allocation in AdSim

Radio gives you six station formats to choose from, these are, Contemporary Hit Radio, Urban, Country, Rock, Adult Contemporary, and Newstalk.

Radio Allocation in AdSim

The Country Station gives you the option of allocating your budget between the five geographical regions.

Country Allocation in AdSim

The Adult Contemporary Stations allocated between various peak listening times ranging from Morning Drive to Nighttime.

Adult Contemporary Allocation in adsim

Finally, the Interactive segment is new and unknown in this simulation. It gives you two choices of allocation, Direct Mail and Internet. They recommend experimenting within this segment to see how effective it is.

Interactive Allocation in adsim

After doing multiple simulations and seeing how the advertising plan selections work, I find that AdSim does it best out of all other Smartsims simulations I have used. The option to further allocate my budget into different areas is a great choice and would greatly benefit any other simulation. It is also very easy to use and understand as you just need to make sure your “pie-chart” equals 100%. Reading the reports for Chapter 2 of the Player’s Manual will put you in the right direction on how to effectively use each segment to their absolute best.

Agency Selection

Another part of the AdSim simulation is the Agency Selection. Here you decide on either trusting yourself to choose your media selections in a custom plan. This is a high-risk, high-reward option in my opinion. As you may select the right numbers in the right segments, but if you don’t do that it can be disastrous. I recommend only using a Internal Plan if you do the research beforehand. The other three options for your agency include TV Magic, Print Works, and Radio Can. These have their obvious strengths in one area, or two in the case for Print Works, but are still better than the default plans for each segment. I recommend picking one of these three agencies as they will give you good results when used correctly.

Agency Selection in AdSim

Message Strategy

This is where you pick how you want your digital camera to appear on the market, as well as who you want to target. You have four decisions to make in each of the four categories, Target, Benefit, Proof, and Personality.

To make these decisions all you have to do is click the one you want and then click “Apply.” Target is who you are targeting to sell your camera to – Professional, Amateur, Recreational, or Family. Then you select the Benefit of your camera, Simplicity, Small Size, Picture Quality, or Feature Packed. After selecting your Benefit, you will need to select the Proof, which are, Lens, Focus, Digital Chip, or Direct Printing. The final message you will convey to your customers is the Personality of your camera. The options include Simple and Reliable, Fun and Exciting, Precise and Efficient, or Thoughtful and Nostalgic.

There are reports you can read that give you an insight on which choices to make to maximize in your desired market. Like the other choices you are able to make, these are extremely easy to make and understand as its just a simple click to decide.

Message Strategy in AdSim

Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships is another feature made available during the simulation. The options for these screens are: CRM System, Warranty, Support, and Loyalty. When choosing your CRM System, you are given four options, to not have one at all, an Entry-Level, a Mid-Level, or a Custom system. These decisions require a bit more research than others, but by reading the chapter section about CRM, as well as the reports about it, will help you in making your CRM, if you choose to have one.

The Warranty selection give you the choice of what kind of warranty you’d like to offer to your customers: 90 days, 180 days, 1 year, or 2 years. Support is how your customers will go about fixing any issues with the product. This is offered by a manual, a website tool, an email helpdesk, or a telephone helpdesk. The last option is the Loyalty program. You can choose not to have one, having a regular newsletter, a regular photo contest, or offering a Photo School. Information on making these decisions are available in various market research reports.

CRM in Adsim

Marketing Communications

Later in the simulation, you will be given the opportunity to make the Marketing Communications decisions. This gives you the option of four choices, Sales Promotions, Trade Promotions, Sponsorships, and Public Relations.

Sales Promotions give the customer something a little extra when purchasing your product over the competitors, for example a bonus memory card. Trade Promotions are similar to Sales Promotions but give benefits to a Retailer instead. Sponsorships are a way to boost exposure for your product at a specific event. Public Relations is hiring PR consultants to attempt to promote towards journalist interest into writing reviews about your product. Again, there are reports you can read to give insight into which options to choose and when choosing the options, they are straightforward and simple to make.

Marketing Communications in AdSim

Market Research

Market Research reports are available to purchase every year, with new and updated reports available every year. The price of these reports vary from $25,000 to $50,000 and can give you very valuable information that can help you win. Some reports are more important to buy than others, while some are not worth buying at all, so make sure you know what you’re looking for before purchasing.

I feel the price for these reports are very worth it, especially if you were to purchase a report you didn’t need or felt didn’t give you the right information. There are reports that the Player’s Manual recommends purchasing, and I completely agree as the information that is given is highly useful in dominating the market, especially early on.

Market Research in AdSim

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, I highly recommend the AdSim simulation by Smartsims for any class or business looking for business simulations that have a focus on Advertising. It gives you the right amount of content where it feels complete and spreads it out evenly throughout the rollovers.

For me personally, my class at NSCC Pictou would have greatly appreciated using this simulation during our first semester in our second year, as we had both an Advertising class as well as a Market Research class. It would have fit perfectly in our schedule as well as setting us up for our final semester where we challenged our Management counterparts to the MikesBikes simulation.

I give this simulation a 9.5/10 and again, highly recommend it to any classes or business that would like to use a business simulation to teach the fundamentals of advertising and its affect on the business.

Here are the videos that Devon created for both AdSim and Music2Go:

AdSim Advertising Videos 

Music2Go Marketing Videos 

Related Articles: 
student review on MikesBikes Advanced

A Student’s Perspective on MikesBikes Advanced Strategic Management Simulation

Ruben Chavez (@thinkgrowprosper)

The quote above by Ruben Chavez of Think, Grow, Prosper acknowledges the impact of experience as the best way to learn. This holds true with one of our students, Sharon Capps from University of St. Mary. She’s currently using the MikesBikes Advanced simulation in their Strategic Management course taught by Lisa Parrott.

The review below is written by Sharon. She shares her insight and lessons she has learned from the simulation.


There are some real benefits from this short-term and intense competition between our teams. We do not have time to get complacent, we are doing two rollovers a week now and constantly have to be reevaluating and making new decisions. We are also establishing the brand for our company through our strategic focus.

This game makes us become self-aware of what we do not understand and need to review so we can be more successful in the next round. What changes we make in one area and how they may impact another area positively or negatively.

Each of us are also discovering our strengths within our teams and what we can focus on that sets our company apart. We are also learning how to better evaluate our competitors and analyze what data we can see from the other teams. This helps us make calculated decisions based on what we think their next move may be and plan accordingly.

We are also learning to plan far ahead to anticipate growth and expansion, not just focus on the rollover within the next few days. Another business mainstay we are strengthening is to always focus on what our customers need and want (Kittaneh, 2015).

We are lucky within this game because we get a lot of helpful data in this area, but our teams have to constantly look at where our bikes fall on the perceptual maps.

Sharon Capps on MikesBikes Advanced

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Adrian Cenon University of Auckland student

Student Success Stories: Adrian Cenon from The University of Auckland

Adrian Cenon is a Master’s student and MikesBikes Mentor from The University of Auckland. He was also recently invited by Audrea Warner, professor at the Graduate School of Management to share his experience using MikesBikes Advanced in the Managing People and Organizations course. We thought it would be a great idea for Adrian to share his experience with all of you.

Get to know Adrian more in our interview below as he shares his MikesBikes experience, the challenges and lessons he learned from the simulation.


Tell us about yourself

Adrian Cenon MikesBikes Student

AdrianI’m currently a Master of Management, major in International Business student at The University of Auckland. I have finished a degree in Economics and Education, major in History at De La Salle University.

I have worked in Singapore as an Organizational Development Analyst and as a Global Learning Support Executive. In addition, I was also a Training and Research Officer.

What was your first impression about using a business simulation in the course? 

AdrianI was impressed that my first course in University of Auckland recognized that learning is enhanced by connecting the management theories discussed in class with the dynamic interactions within a team. As well as how they respond to real-life challenges and scenarios incorporated in MikesBikes. Through my previous work experience, I have been an advocate of the 70-20-10 model (by Eichenger and Lombardo) that has been widely used by management consultants and talent development professionals.

Furthermore, I heard a lot of feedback from the previous Cohort that the MikesBikes experience will be a challenging, fun and effective way to enhance my business acumen and leadership skills.

Did your impression of the simulation change as the course progressed? 

Adrian:  Yes, the whole learning journey was more immersive and challenging than what I expected. The level of competition among teams was intense and it required a lot of effort and focus to adapt our strategies based on market trends so we could gain an edge.  I also didn’t expect that it would elicit extreme levels of happiness, excitement and sometimes disappointment as you view the results after each rollover.

How was your experience working on the simulation on your own and eventually with a team?

Adrian Cenon MikesBikes Team

AdrianI would say that MikesBikes engaged my team on a level where we felt that we were running our own company and were accountable for our roles. When I reflect on the experience, I am extremely proud of how our team performed because of four reasons:

  1. We were genuinely passionate about our brand – WindChaser, and how it stood for “Chasing the Right Things” – identifying what is important and chasing it with the best of our abilities. Everyone participated in formulating our Team Goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and strategies.
  2. We had a great team culture and believed in the capabilities of one another. The rigor of analysing various reports (eg. Marketing, Finance, Manufacturing, Research and Development and Human Resources), making decisions, and competing with other teams strengthened our realization that we could only achieve our goals if we functioned as a high performing team. We learned to foster interdependence by aligning our actions with our core values of Passion, Accountability, Respect and Trust.
  3. Third, we dealt with conflicting priorities the right way and demonstrated integrity in how we competed with the other teams. Our team was aware of numerous “strategies” that we could pursue to get ahead and maximise our Shareholder Value (SHV) at all costs. But just like in the real world, you are sometimes faced with a choice to focus on the bottom line or preserve your reputation and relationship with others.

For example, heading to the final rollover, we had the option of extracting as much capital from our partner firm/ subsidiary. The problem was that applying this tactic would hurt their final SHV. Instead of taking full advantage, our team agreed to a reasonable rate with our subsidiary to ensure a sustainable SHV growth for both teams. In the end, this decision came at the expense of our team losing the European market by a narrow margin. However, we didn’t treat this as a setback because we stayed true to our values and enhanced our reputation and credibility among our peers.

4. Even though we didn’t win our market, we believed that the MikesBikes experience brought out the best in each one of us. As the CEO, I learned the importance of empowering your team members to perform their roles but at the same time providing guidance and support when they experience challenging situations. I am grateful to my team for believing in my capabilities and trusting me that we would become better individuals as a result of this learning journey.

Please share your experience in the course as a whole and how the simulation added value and impacted your learning.

AdrianI consider MikesBikes as an effective platform that maximised the learning from the “Managing People and Organisations” course. The different scenarios and complexities provided various opportunities. I was able to utilise my previous work experience and theories I learned in class, and apply them in a simulated business environment.

The experience took me out of my comfort zone as it brought a lot of high and low points which required me to reflect and adapt to changes to effectively lead my team. I consider the lessons learned from the simulation and the course as vital “Deep Smarts” which I would be able to leverage when I continue my career in Organizational Development and Talent Management.

What advice would you give your past self (go back to the time when you were still doing the course and the simulation)? What do you wish you knew back then when you were doing the simulation?

Adrian at UoA Business School

AdrianI would prefer not to give my past self any advice about the course and the simulation. I believe that the process of dealing with uncertainty provided the best opportunity to learn and more importantly, build character. There were several instances where our team spent a lot of time in figuring out how to drive our strategies because we recognized that a wrong move can have significant consequences.  Ultimately, the ability to handle pressure, evaluate the effectiveness of decisions, and manage our mindset proved to be excellent learning points which are applicable in the real world.

Connect with Adrian through LinkedIn.

Sajjad Husain Arastu First Place in the Top 20 MikesBikes Advanced Hall of Fame

Student Success Stories: Sajjad Arastu from The University of Auckland

Meet Sajjad Husain Arastu, a Master’s student in International Business from The University of Auckland. He is currently sitting in first place in the Top 20 MikesBikes Advanced Hall of Fame. His $1,014.11 Shareholder Value  has been unbeatable for two consecutive years now. Since then, he has been consistently trying to beat his own record.  This reminds us of a saying from a Canadian based philosopher and entrepreneur,  Matshona Dhliwayo:

“To be a champion, compete; to be a great champion, compete with the best; but to be the greatest champion, compete with yourself.

The article below is written by Sajjad. Let’s get to know him more as he shares his MikesBikes Experience with us.


The beginning of my journey

Sajjad Arastu from University of Auckland

I’m Sajjad Husain Arastu. I’m from India. I came from an engineering background specializing in Marine Engineering. I was fortunate to get an education in top universities in three different countries namely: India, Malaysia and New Zealand.

Coming from a technical background, I soon realized that the main decision-making ability lies with people who understand business. This motivated me to come to New Zealand and pursue a Master’s in International Business. I wanted to expand my knowledge further, learn the commercial aspects of business and to grow in the industry. The purpose of selecting this course was to gain deep knowledge on the commercial side of the International Business  – focusing on International Trade, Logistics, Global Operations and Consultancy. In addition, I also wanted to gain skills in managing people, operations, research and development, planning and strategy in complex business environments.

MikesBikes Experience

My first course in this program was Managing People and Organisations, which introduced me to MikesBikes Advanced. It was the most exciting part of my learning. I want to thank Professor Darl Kolb for teaching this course and giving us the ability to run our own companies.

When I was doing my Marine Engineering course, I had an experience using a simulation to design ships and learn how to calculate. I never knew that we could run a business using a simulation.

The idea of using a business simulation was very new to me. I wanted to try and understand it in order to help me make decisions in a real business. I came from a technical background with literally no experience in business, so it was tough for me to understand the different business functions.

We first tried the single-player version for a week and then progressed to form our teams, where we managed our companies in the multi-player version. I was selected as the CEO of my company, Cycle planet, because I managed achieve a Shareholder Value (SHV) of  $200 in my single-player version.

Competing against our friends and running my own company was one of the most thrilling experiences for me. The MikesBikes Advanced simulation is a perfect combination of the human-machine interface, which makes use of technology to develop human thinking. This motivated me because, it was exciting as every decision is unique and brings a different outcome. It also gave me an ability to manage and learn from people by competing against their companies.

Invitation to MikesBikes World Champs

The best thing happened to me towards the end of the quarter. Smartsims sent an invitation to participate in the MikesBikes World Champs. I got excited because we were just playing among our friends and classmates, and now I’m given an opportunity to compete against other students from all over the world. I wanted to experience this and develop my understanding further, so I participated in the world championship.

In the world champs, there was a condition where we could not design more than two R&D (Research and Development) projects in a given year. This was something different from the scenario we do in the course. It required a new set of decisions and more strategic planning. My team and I made some mistakes with our strategy and our group ended up in the Top 14 worldwide, which was not bad but gave me more motivation to learn and master the simulation.

My Single-Player Journey to First Place

MikesBikes Advanced Top 20 All Time Hall of Fame

Using MikesBikes for around 10 weeks in the course honed my learning and understanding of business. I was also becoming more familiar with the simulation. After every rollover, I look at the Hall of Fame ranking. I wondered how people could get such high scores and what they did differently.

After joining MikesBikes World Champs,  I decided to play with a target of getting in the Top 20 Hall of Fame. Since I have a technical background in marine engineering, I started to think like an engineer than a business person. I started optimizing my decisions to generate more profit. As soon as I realized I’m spending too much money, I needed to minimize my cost in all aspects of my planning and came up with a new strategy to enter the Hall of Fame. I tried and looked at my decisions very carefully and started optimizing my R&D, Operations and Marketing spend.

As an example, in my initial rollover, the cost of making one Adventurer bike inclusive of all costs was close to $260 which I optimized to as low as $97. This increased my profit margins. Additionally, I also adjusted my Operations, Advertising, Distribution and Finance decisions to reach a Shareholder Value (SHV) of $1,022 with an overall net profit of $73 million which landed me the top spot in the Hall of Fame. 

Impressions on the simulation

When I was first using the simulation, I thought it is just like a game. However, that was not the case. I noticed that every aspect of the simulation is interrelated and it requires strategic planning in aspects such as R&D, marketing and operations. It also involved a lot of teamwork, because we make decisions that involve a lot of planning and some calculations. Some of the decisions in my initial rollovers were just based on trial and error. However, as the course progressed, they became more planned, calculated and forecasts were made more accurately. Working well in your teams is one of the keys to succeed in the simulation.

Value and impact of the simulation in my learning

I got a chance to work with a diverse group of people. I also realized that interaction with your team is necessary in order to share ideas with each other. Every member of the team has specific duties, which is essential to make collective decisions.

In MikesBikes, our firm needed to maintain profitability in order to increase our Shareholder Value over time. This can be achieved by proper planning, understanding the components of business functions and making informed decisions.

One of the main challenges we faced as a team revolved around making the right decisions as some of our members were not aware of some of the concepts. This created misunderstanding among  us when analyzing the reports. Our main priority as a team was to learn and understand our roles and duties to strengthen our relationship with each other. To improve on this, we kept a record of all our previous decisions so that we can focus on modifying these and to achieve better results. In MikesBikes, we are dealing with competitive markets which were hard to predict. Every decision required a large amount of funding.

MikeBikes provided us with a very realistic platform, which is an essential part of my learning and development. As an individual and also as someone that’s part of a team, the simulation gave me an insight in every aspect of the business. It also gave me an understanding of the value of money and how to avoid overspending to maximize our output. The simulation has helped my development in the university.

I want to thank Professor Darl Kolb for always encouraging and motivating me to develop my learning in the simulation through his weekly stock reports. This report showed us how we are doing in class against our competitors.

Advice to my past self

If I were to go back and play the simulation again, I would improve and optimize my pricing and financial decisions. I have not not mastered these aspects yet. As an example, if I keep my prices too high, my competitors will take the market share by offering low prices. Additionally, if I drop my price, I will miss out on potential profits. I need to find balance between pricing my products and knowing when the best time time is to make financial decisions.

Using my MikesBikes Experience in LinkedIn

Sajjad Arastu - Screenshot of LinkedIn account mentioning MikesBikes experience

I want to be an expert in my field and want to grow in the industry. I worked day and night using MikesBikes to develop my learning and understanding of business. I think in this competitive environment, it is necessary to do something different and stand out in the eyes of employers by showing your potential.

I used LinkedIn to demonstrate potential employers that I have great abilities and skills, which I developed over time and would be a great asset to them if they provide me with an opportunity to work with them. It has been eight years till date, and my struggle to find a full-time job has pushed me beyond my comfort level to grab any opportunity to show employers my potential and worth. I believe LinkedIn can market my achievements to the world of employers.

Connect and get to know Sajjad:

Part 2: Common Mistakes in Music2Go Marketing Simulation

Mistakes are the stepping stones to success.

– John C. Maxwell

What are the other common mistakes in Music2Go Marketing?

In Part Two, we’ll talk about the importance of reaching the right customers and how to better allocate your Sales Promotion Mix.

Here’s Part One of the article in case you missed it.

Mistake #4: Misunderstanding the Importance of Reaching the Right Customers

Not understanding this can be a costly mistake as it often leads to incorrectly assigning your Advertising Mix. This can have a negative impact on the demand for your products and can also lead to overspending. Meaning your firm’s profitability is at risk!

How do you know if you are spending your advertising budget inefficiently? Follow through this section, it will show you how to efficiently allocate your advertising budget.

Each market segment is sensitive to different dimensions. View the Market Information report.

Product Dimension Sensitivities in Music2Go

How do I interpret this Product Dimension Sensitivities graph?

The best way to explain it is through an example. If you take the Standard segment, you’ll see it has a high sensitivity to Price. This means that an increase to your price (example setting the price to the maximum) is going to have a negative effect on your sales volume.

What these sensitivities mean is a change in any of these factors, will result in a proportionate change in the consumers’ demand for your product(s).

There are four media choices to develop your advertising mix on: Television, Newspapers, Magazines and Digital Media.

There are two substantial sources of information you can use to determine your optimal advertising mix for a given advertising spend: Advertising and PR Reach by Media Curve and Media Viewing Habits. Both information can be found in the Market Information report.

Each media type can reach a given proportion of its audience for a given investment. This is shown within the Advertising and PR Reach by Media Curve.

The best way to explain this would be to provide an example.

Example: Budget of $4 million on Standard Segment.

Option 1: 42% of the Standard Segment read magazines.

So our $4 million spend would reach approximately 90% (taken from the graph at a spend of $4 million) x 42% (Media Viewing Habits) =  37.8% of the Standard segment can be reached

Option 2: 85% of the Standard Segment can be reached via Digital Media.

So our $4 million spend would reach approximately 50% (taken from the graph at a spend of $4 million) * 85% (Media Viewing Habits) = 42.5% of the Standard segment

Option 3: But maybe we can do better than that still. What happens if we spend $2 million on Newspapers, and $2 million on Magazines?

If we spend $2 million on Newspapers, we could reach approximately 40% of Newspaper viewers and 58% of the Standard segment reads Newspapers. So we could reach approximately 40% (Media Viewing Habits) x 58% (taken from the graph at a spend of $2 million) = 23.2% of the Standard Segment.

If we spend $2 million on Magazines we could reach approximately 50% of Magazine viewers and 42% of the Standard segment reads Magazines. So we could reach approximately 50% (Media Viewing Habits) x 42% (taken from the graph at a spend of $2 million) = 21% of the Standard segment.

So, together our $4 million spent half on Newspapers and half on Magazines would reach approximately 44.2% of the Standard segment, which is obviously a better use of our Advertising budget than the first two options.

As you can see, with the same budget, but a different allocation towards each media channel can make a huge difference in the amount of consumers you can reach.

This is only an example of good and bad marketing mixes. This is far from the best mix you can make. We suggest playing around on different Marketing Mix and see what works best for your strategy and budget.

Mistake# 5: Inaccurately Allocating Your Sales Promotion Mix

Your Sales Promotion strategy will need to vary with the Life Cycle of your product. For instance, Trade Shows and Sales Force training will be important a new product launch, bur progressively less so as the product ages. Your existing product will be in the Mature phase of its life cycle for your first Sales Promotion decision (Sales Promotion decisions are available after the 1st rollover).

It is important that you get your Sales Promotion Mix right, because it helps boost your distribution coverage and distribution index. In addition, some segments are particularly sensitive to Distribution, such as the Standard Segment.

There are 6 types of Sales Promotion activities available to you to promote your products and support your distributors:

  • Trade Shows
  • Salesforce Training
  • Premiums (Gifts)
  • Website/Social Media
  • Point of Purchase Displays
  • Rebates
So, how do I choose a Sales Promotion Mix for my products? 

Remember that each of your products will progress through the Product Life Cycle starting in the Growth phase for new products and then gradually progressing through to the Decline stage over the next six rollovers.

Say we launch a new Youth product this period. This new product will start in the Growth phase of the Product Life Cycle (See Market Information Report > Sales Promotion). Then from looking at the tables above, we can see that our Ideal Sales Promotion Mix for a new Sports product is:

  • Trade Shows – 15%
  • Sales Force Training – 25%
  • Premium (Gifts) – 5%
  • Website and Social Media – 25%
  • Point of Purchase Displays – 25%
  • Rebates – 5%

Total = 100%

That was a simple example, but what happens in the second year that we sell this Youth product? The product will be moved from the “Growth” phase to “Growth – Starting to Mature.” So the optimal Sales Promotion mix will be 1/3 of the way between the ideal Growth and Mature figures in the Sales Promotion Table. That would give us an optimal Sales Promotion mix something like:

  • Trade Shows – 10% (Ideal Growth = 15%, Ideal Mature= 5%)
  • Sales Force Training – 17% (Ideal Growth = 25%, Ideal Mature= 10%)
  • Premiums (Gifts) – 15% (Ideal Growth = 5%, Ideal Mature= 25%)
  • Website and Social Media – 23% (Ideal Growth = 25%, Ideal Mature= 20%)
  • Point of Purchase Displays – 25% (Ideal Growth = 25%, Ideal Mature= 25%)
  • Rebates – 10% (Ideal Growth = 5%, Ideal Mature= 15%)

Total = 100%

You should buy the Distribution Coverage and Sales Promotion Market Research report for detailed information on the Sales Promotion Rating and Stage of Product Life Cycle for all firms in the Industry. 

 

Common Mistakes in Music2Go Part 1

Part 1: Common Mistakes in Music2Go Marketing Simulation

“During a research experiment a marine biologist placed a shark into a large holding tank and then released several small bait fish into the tank.

Shark Story

As you would expect, the shark quickly swam around the tank, attacked and ate the smaller fish. The marine biologist then inserted a strong piece of clear fiberglass into the tank, creating two separate partitions. She then put the shark on one side of the fiberglass and a new set of bait fish on the other.

Again, the shark quickly attacked.  This time, however, the shark slammed into the fiberglass divider and bounced off.  Undeterred, the shark kept repeating this behavior every few minutes to no avail.  Meanwhile, the bait fish swam around unharmed in the second partition.  Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up.

This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks.  Each time, the shark got less aggressive and made fewer attempts to attack the bait fish, until eventually the shark got tired of hitting the fiberglass divider and simply stopped attacking altogether.

The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass divider, but the shark didn’t attack.  The shark was trained to believe a barrier existed between it and the bait fish, so the bait fish swam wherever they wished, free from harm.”

The short story above is by Marc Chernoff.

What do you think is the moral lesson of this story? 

The lesson here is many of us give up after experiencing failures. Like the shark story, we believe that if we were unsuccessful in the past, then we will always be unsuccessful. We continue to see barrier in our heads, even when there are no “real” barriers.

So you are probably reading this article because you want to get out of a situation where you have made mistakes in the simulation and want to fix it, right? Good on you for crossing that barrier!


Mistake #1: Not purchasing Market Research Reports

Purchasing Market Research reports in Music2Go

We cannot reiterate enough how important this is. Many students want to “save” their budget and invest it in other areas in the simulation. However, knowledge is power and by investing in these paid reports, you are making more informed decisions.

Mistake #2: Having leftover Marketing Budget

Marketing Budget Report in Music2Go

Your budget does not carryover to the next year, so it is important that you spend the entire Marketing Budget that you have been given for the current year.

Mistake #3: Misunderstanding the Importance of Pricing Products Correctly

Price is usually a key determinant of demand and is the most critical component to maximizing your revenue. Therefore, carefully thinking about your Pricing strategy is important as this would have an impact on the demand for your products.

Check out this article on How to Set Retailer Price and Retailer Margin for your products.


Part 2 talks about Misunderstanding the importance of reaching the right customers and inaccurately allocating your Sales Promotion Mix.