Gaming and Simulations in Digital Marketing Education

by | Jan 30, 2018 | EduSocial Blog, Strategy, Tools, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Experiential learning is a key component in many of the classes I teach both on-ground and online at The College of St. Scholastica and as an adjunct at Colorado Technical University.  Online gaming and simulations take the experience a step further to physically and visually engage students in making decisions and formulating a strategy.  I am mentioning both gaming and simulation because the tools to be explored offer both options.  What’s the difference between the two?  Edutopia makes a distinction between the two, “Simulations are about things (or systems) and how they behave, and games are about a fun user experience.” ( In this blog post I will reflect on the benefit of gaming in Higher Ed and highlight two online marketing simulations that are worth exploring for your undergraduate level classes.

Online Marketing Gaming and Simulations

McGraw Hill Practice Marketing

In this 3D game, students are asked to consider the 4 Ps of Marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) to design their own backpack, identify audiences and make decisions on how to best market the new product.  The digital tool has the option to include teams for a real-life gaming experience.  I found the tool works great for individual work and understanding of the decision points and the research that marketers perform as an effective marketing manager.

The simulation makes students feel more comfortable exploring data points, adjusting direction and finalizing decisions.  The skill-based learning proves to be exciting and rewarding for the students.  While the tool focuses on traditional marketing methods, there is room for including digital methods in future versions of Practice Marketing.

More product information can be found here:



The Mimic Pro Simulation focuses on online advertising scenarios and allows students to deep-dive into the world of keywords, webpages and PPC campaigns.  Students learn critical skills like testing, analyzing and measuring tactics to see what works and to make adjustments if necessary. Imagine if you could have fake money and fake data to implement campaigns before you officially launched your real-life campaign using real money and real data.  Once again, the option to allow students to compete with one another exists in this tool. Check out the options for the Mimic Prod Simulation


Benefit of Gaming in the Learning Process

Online gaming and simulations are effective in re-creating some of the in-person activities in a traditional classroom. Just like traditional marketing and digital marketing are necessary to reach consumers, both methods are becoming important to reach students in their learning path. Give it a try and let me know how much fun you and your students have in the virtual environment!


Author: Melissa Goodson

Melissa Goodson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business and Technology at The College of St. Scholastica, St. Paul campus where she teaches and develops courses for the MBA in Leadership & Change program.  For over 12 years, she has worked in leadership roles in marketing communications, product management and strategic planning for media companies.  She serves as a board member and Marketing & Communications Director for the Minnesota Organization Development Organization.  Her professional interests include brand management, leadership development and organizational culture.

Twitter: @melissaagoodson

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