Harnessing Digital Disruption With Marketing Simulations

Ruth N. Bolton, Randall G. Chapman, Adam J. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


A marketing simulation represents a comprehensive and integrative business environment in which students actively manage firms that compete against each other. This article describes how marketing simulations harness digital disruption to enhance learning processes and outcomes and (ultimately) prepare students for their future careers. The article focuses on comprehensive marketing simulations, which have more decision variables and incorporate authentic competition, rather than “play against the machine” games. It defines digital disruption as the change that occurs when new digital technologies change customer experiences, business processes, and business models, thereby changing how value is cocreated. The article begins by describing how simulations capture digital disruption in the marketplace and harness it to improve students’ learning experiences and outcomes. The description reflects the authors’ experiences with the LINKS suite of simulations (www.LINKS-simulations.com), as well as the experiences of other instructors and students. The article then discusses pedagogical opportunities and class activities that enhance learning experiences connected with digital disruption in business ecosystems. It closes by emphasizing three best practices for marketing educators. The discussion applies to undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and programs targeted at other student groups (e.g., in-house corporate programs).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-31
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marketing Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • digital disruption
  • employer needs
  • marketplace disruption
  • simulation/gaming
  • technology in classroom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Marketing


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