Philipp Allerstorfer - Krems University
In the 2018 academic year, SIMBOUND was used for the first time at the IMC University of Applied Sciences in Krems, Austria. The simulation was applied in the course “E-Marketing”. Hereinafter, the lecturer of the course, Philipp Allerstorfer, reflects on his motivation, the implementation and draws first conclusions.
MotivationI have been working for my Alma Mater, the University of Applied Sciences in Krems as a guest lecturer in the field of E-Tourism for several years. In 2018, I was asked to hold a course on E-Marketing. As a graduate, I had the pleasure to participate in a course in this field some years ago, which had an interesting practical component: the “Google Online Marketing Challenge”. It allowed us to practice search engine marketing, set up Google Ad Words campaigns and continuously improve our performance based on analytics data. The demands for my own course were similar, but the “Google Online Marketing Challenge” was no longer available. SIMBOUND appeared to be a proper replacement. The user interface is simplified, yet realistic. The separation into multiple rounds and round goals illustrates the essence of online marketing: constant improvement of campaigns based on results and data. Finally, a colleague of mine, meanwhile employed in the field of online marketing, remembered and recommended SIMBOUND from his own studies.
PreparationDespite the quick and easy setup of a course, the preparation phase should not be underestimated. Lecturers are supported by an instructor manual, a You Tube tutorial and SIMBOUND’s fast replies on remaining questions. Furthermore, the account contains a test campaign and allows to easily adjust the game even after its start – such as changing deadlines simply through drag and drop in the schedule. When considering SIMBOUND, a tight course schedule of four days of lectures within 2 weeks had already been defined. This allowed an e-learning of 6 rounds of the simulation with 2-3 days in between. In retrospective, the schedule was not a problem, yet challenging. An ideal course would rather allow discussing results over a longer period in time. As a preparation, the 20 participants were provided with SIMBOUND’s student manual and received a brief introduction in the goals of the simulation. Furthermore, all students participated in the theoretical lecture on online marketing. However, one of the key lessons learnt during this course was that the introduction is key. The user interface of SIMBOUND is quite easy to navigate. Nevertheless, I would recommend familiarizing the students, using a feature allowing to change to a student’s view. As a lecturer, taking the view of any student in the game is also quite helpful when confronted with questions on their active campaigns. Finally, SIMBOUND would allow conducting a first test round with the students, by setting the achieved results back to zero.
ConclusionThere are two conclusions of particular importance. First, students managed to continuously improve their campaigns. Second, the tool was highly accepted by students, leading to an extraordinary commitment. Students invested significantly more time in their campaigns than required by the syllabus. On average, teams spent between 5 person days (taking approximately 150 decisions) and 12 hours (approximately 85 decisions). This highlights the importance and acceptance of a practical component such as SIMBOUND in a course on online marketing. Gamification elements such as bonus goals per round and the directly visible competition with other teams certainly fostered the commitment. As a lecturer, I was supported by SIMBOUND before and throughout the course. This included quick responses and pro-active support – both critical success factors when operating on a very tight course schedule. Another positive aspect was the aforementioned flexibility of the course administration. Consequently, SIMBOUND proved to be a valuable tool and the SIMBOUND team as a reliable partner in the implementation of the course.
About the authorPhilipp Allerstorfer is an IT project manager in the tourism industry. He holds Master's degrees in Tourism Management and Web Science. Teaching university courses combining both disciplines has become a passion of his. In 2018, he has held lectures on behalf of the IMC Krems in e-tourism and e-marketing, in Austria or at partner universities in Vietnam and China.
About the study programmeThe Master programme “Tourism and Leisure Management” is exclusively taught in English and prepares students for management functions along the tourism value chain. As a university of applied sciences, Krems emphasizes employability and the practical application of knowledge. More about the study programme: [https://www.fh-krems.ac.at/en/studying/master/tourism-and-leisure-management]
About the IMC University of Applied Sciences KremsOver the past few years the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems has built up a strong international reputation and now has over 2700 students from all over the world. Our combination of academic and business expertise opens up excellent domestic and international career opportunities for graduates.
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