Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module BUSI4H215: Contemporary Marketing Communication

Department: Management and Marketing

BUSI4H215: Contemporary Marketing Communication

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap
Tied to N5K309
Tied to N5K209
Tied to N5K609


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The overall aim of the module is to develop a thorough understanding of contemporary marketing communication that includes the ‘new horizon’ of communication management in a global cultural context. By drawing on recent research studies and first-hand accounts of strategy development from leading marketing agencies, the module is designed to offer students the opportunity to apply theory that is specific and relevant to the analysis of communication.
  • The specific aims of this module are to:
  • Offer a synthesis of theoretical and practical perspectives on promotional communication content and context
  • Present a detailed account of contemporary marketing communications practice based on latest research from academic literature and use of key business publications e.g. Forbes; Business Week; Business Horizons etc.
  • Encourage students to draw on their personal experience of advertising and promotion to enhance the theoretical and strategic perspectives of the module.
  • Examine ethical, critical and social issues arising through contemporary practice in the field of promotional and contemporary communication.


  • Studying contemporary marketing communications to indicate the broad scope of study in this complex and evolving area;
  • Persuasive communication: Hierarchy effects, consumer affect;
  • Communication research techniques;
  • Legal knowledge and the changing communication environment;
  • Trouble-shooting and 'crisis' planning;
  • Digital marketing analytics and intelligence;
  • Review of consumer behaviour and consumption studies;
  • Trends in digital and interactive marketing communications and integration of social media content.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will:
  • have a critical appreciation of the basic promotional plan based on a strategic communication rationale and including explanations of positioning, targeting and segmentation;
  • be able to distinguish between media vehicles and media channels and construct a basic communication plan for a hypothetical promotional campaign;
  • be able to define some of the communication marketing objectives that promotional communication can support such as new brand launch, re-positioning, or new channel entry;
  • be able to outline the contribution of differing theoretical approaches to promotional communication practice including social and cultural insights;
  • be able to evaluate the uses, advantages and drawbacks of alternative research approaches in the communications field;
  • be able to discuss debates about particular communication in terms of differing ethical considerations and alternative international regulatory systems;
  • be able to interpret creative executions in particular media such as social media placement in terms of the likely target audience and intended market positioning;
  • be able to identify the various advertising agency roles and how these intersect in a typical model of the creative advertising development process.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will have acquired the following specialist skills at an advanced level:
  • Ability to design and develop effective marketing communications plans.
  • Ability to establish a system of implementation, evaluation and control of the marketing communications strategy.
  • Ability to place communications in the ‘new’/digital technologies – communications setting.
  • Ability to analyse data from social media, identify appropriate analytics and apply best practices to marketing strategy recommendations.
  • Ability to generate a marketing plan to enhance a particular strategic objective.
Key Skills:
  • Effective written communication skills
  • Planning, organising and time management skills
  • Problem solving and analytical skills
  • The ability to use initiative
  • Advanced skills in the interpretation of data
  • Advanced computer literacy skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, group work and discussion, supported by guided reading.
  • The summative assessment of the module is an individual written assignment designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject-matter and their ability to apply their knowledge and specialist skills in the context of specific marketing communications issues.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 1 per week 2 hours 20
Seminars 4 Fortnightly 1 hour 4
Preparation and Reading 126
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Individual Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment 2500 words 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

Action learning will provide students with the opportunity to explore, discuss, critique and apply the key topics in practice. Students will receive verbal formative feedback throughout the term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University