Our Simulations


Marketing Management Simulation


PharmaSim is the leading marketing and brand management simulation.


PharmaSim is designed for Marketing and Brand Management classes and is based on the packaged goods industry. PharmaSim drives home the 4Ps of marketing. This simulation covers segmentation and position, resource allocation across brands, integrated marketing communications, and multiple channels with intermediaries. Students learn how to motivate consumers and channel partners, measuring their progress through marketing research. Each simulated environment will develop uniquely depending on the choices each student team makes and the reaction of their competition. This helps to illustrate the impact a competitor may have on an entire industry.

The Case

Students can compete in groups of 2-4 students or individually and run through up to 10 simulated years. They take on the role of a brand management team for the OTC division of a pharmaceutical company. Each student (or team) competes against the same environment, made up of four competitors,each with a different marketing strategy and portfolio of brands. Their product is currently the market share leader in the OTC cold and allergy remedy market--though not the leader in terms of sales. In the past three periods, the industry has seen several product introductions as well as major increases in advertising and promotional expenditures. The senior management team is concerned that this increased competitive activity will lead to declining market share and profitability. The task of the brand management team is to maintain long-term profitability and market share in an increasingly competitive and changing environment. With extensive marketing research studies and a solid strategy, the brand management team will make decisions in areas of product choice, distribution, promotion, and pricing.

To read the full copy of the case for the simulation, request a Faculty ID here!


PharmaSim also comes with 10 "incidents" (mini-cases) that challenge students to wrestle with various behavioral elements of their business. These include:

  • Social Media: (advertising) Students choose to create a website with a blog, a Facebook and Twitter account, or any one of these options with 5% of the ad budget going toward Google Adwords
  • Quality Assurance: (product) An Allround product is within six months of expiration; students must decide what to do with the product and consider how that will affect their bottom line and/or distributor/customer relationships or perception.
  • Cannibalization: (product) Taking 3 specific line extension examples, students must decide which line extension would provide the least amount of cannibalization to their current brand.
  • Social Media Problem: (advertising, ethics) How does a company deal with negative comments on its social media pages? This is a Public Relations exercise and students must wrestle with how these decisions affect the company's image and bottom line.
  • Detailing Changes: (sales force) Students get the chance to look more closely into their relationship with their detailers. This provides a more in-depth look behind the numbers of indirect sales force.
  • Creative Marketing: (advertising) An independent ad agency proposes some ideas for some alternate marketing approaches that are unconventional. Students must weigh their effectiveness and worth to their brand.
  • Price Discrimination: (pricing) One of the large drug store chains is unhappy with their price discounts and wants to receive an additional discount. Students must determine if offering an additional price discount will affect their relationship with other customers.
  • Product Tampering: (product, public relations) Allround is suspected to have been linked to several poisonings in a metropolitan area. This is a PR issue but also involves issues of operations and how that will affect the company.
  • Special Promotion: (promotion) Students can provide specific details about the type of special promotions they would like to do for Allround. Each has its advantages but they serve different strategic objectives.
  • Sales Force Management: (sales force) One of Allround's salespeople wants to redefine her sales territory so that the workload is more even. The salesperson with the adjoining territory (who is doing better than she is) does not agree. Students must decide how to manage this situation.

These incidents all have outcomes that affect the team's performance. They make great discussion topics, in addition to covering important aspects of managing a business.


The purpose of PharmaSim is to use the strengths of both the case and simulation methodologies to bring about the most effective learning experience. The simulation has all the characteristics of case analysis while also placing the students into a dynamic business environment. PharmaSim focuses on the following framework:

  • Situation analysis and the 5Cs (context, customers, competitors, collaborators, company)
  • STP (segmentation, targeting, positioning)
  • Marketing Mix / 4Ps (product, price, promotion, place)
  • Integrated marketing decision-making and analysis
  • Managing the buyer purchase process: 
    • Awareness: advertising and consumer promotion
    • Intention to Buy: product characteristics and MSRP, meeting the need of the consumer
    • In-Store Attractiveness: sales force and promotion decisions
    • Purchase: attention to price and maintaining quality
    • Usage/Satisfaction: meeting the needs of the consumer
    • Repurchase: maintaining high satisfaction rates
With each decision period, students manage the objectives above through the areas of pricing, advertising, promotion, distribution, and product reformulation. PharmaSim offers extensive marketing research for the students to inform their decisions. Types of research available for the market include:

  • Symptoms Reported
  • Brand Formulations (of competition)
  • Manufacturer Sales
  • Sales Force
  • Advertising
  • Promotion
  • Channel Sales
  • Pricing
  • Shelf Space
  • , , , and more!
Additionally, students have access to robust market research surveys which include:
  • Conjoint Analysis
  • Brands Purchased
  • Purchase Intentions
  • Satisfaction
  • Brand Awareness
  • . . .and more!

Performance Measures

With PharmaSim, instructors have a comprehensive set of metrics (30 in total) to judge team performance. For full access to all performance measures, request a Faculty ID. In general, team performance can be judged by the following:

  • Manufacturer Sales
  • Stock Price
  • Unit Sales
  • Cumulative Net Income
  • COGS
  • Marketing Efficiency Index
  • Cumulative Return on Sales
  • Capacity Utilization
  • Shelf Space

Any of the 30 measures areas can be weighted and combined by the instructor to form an overall score to evaluate team performance.

If you are an instructor and would like to review PharmaSim for your class, please fill out our Faculty ID Request!

At a Glance

Covers Marketing
Covers Marketing
Advanced Level
Advanced Level
Benchmark Competition
Benchmark Competition

Benchmark Competition

Benchmark competition allows you to test and develop your skills against simulated competitors.

PharmaSim: Courses

  • Marketing Management
  • Brand Management

PharmaSim: Decisions

  • Pricing: MSRP, volume discounts, promotional allowances
  • Advertising: Budget and detailed message and theme, co-op advertising
  • Promotion: Consumer and trade promotion, coupons, trial sizes, point of purchase displays
  • Distribution: Sales force personnel and allocation, wholesale channel, influencers
  • Product: Reformulations, line extension, new product introductions
  • Purchase of market research: Test markets, in-depth consumer surveys available on a segmented basis, simple conjoint analysis

What is benchmark competition?

Several of our simulations operate in "benchmark" competition. This means that the students compete directly against computerized competitors. These are responsive models that react to the student's decisions and provide an engaging and exciting experience. Typically we employ benchmark competition for our sims where we want to provide the students with the ability to experiment with marketing mix--since they're playing against the computer, they're able to try different strategies and learn from them.