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Lesson: Dollars and Sense

Title

Dollars and Sense

Description

This lesson lays the conceptual foundation for sales and marketing principles by introducing/reviewing economics concepts that affect the selling and marketing process and engaging students in a processing activity to consider how expectations, incentives and preferences affect their ability to sell and market to various members of their audience

Summary

This single-day lesson starts with a review of economic concepts vital to the selling and marketing process, including profit, supply and demand, scarcity, opportunity cost, choice, preferences and incentives. This review of basic economics is important for helping students understand consumer behavior, especially since there is no guarantee that a student will have had an economics course previously. Students will then consider the various “products” journalists “sell,” including information, promotional/commercial space, yearbooks, photographs, video, etc., and complete a processing activity to determine their audience’s expectations, incentives and preferences for the various media products they offer as a staff.

Objectives

  • Students will be able to define the following economic concepts and explain how they affect consumer and producer behavior: profit, supply and demand, scarcity, opportunity cost, choice, preferences and incentives.
  • Students will explain the types of products journalists “sell,” including information, promotional/commercial space, yearbooks, photographs, video, etc.
  • Students will consider how their audience’s consumer behavior can be explained by economic concepts.
  • Students will brainstorm their audience’s expectations, incentives and preferences for the various media products they offer as a staff.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1  Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9–10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6  Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills — Student Outcomes

Skills P21 outcomes
Creativity and Innovation Think creatively
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Reason effectively
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Use systems thinking
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Make judgments and decisions

Length

60-70 minutes

Materials

Slideshow: Sales and Marketing Concepts Slideshow

Handout: Sales and Marketing Concepts Notes

Handout: Sales and Marketing Processing Activity

Processing Activity Rubric

Lesson step-by-step:

1. Handout distribution and warm up — 5 minutes

Distribute the Sales and Marketing Concepts Notes and prompt students to respond to the warm up:

“Choose one of the following items that you could buy: the newest technological device, a concert ticket for your favorite band or dinner at the most expensive restaurant you can think of. Answer the following questions:

  • Why is this item expensive?
  • What is the MAXIMUM price you would be willing to pay for this item? Why?
  • What kind of costs does the provider have to pay to provide you with this item? What do they have to do to make a profit? How does that affect the price?
  • What kind of incentives or “extras” could the provider offer to you that would increase your willingness to buy this item, without changing the price but still giving them an opportunity to make a profit?”

2. Link to today’s topic — 20-25 minutes

Discuss students’ answers to the warm up, then turn their attention to the following question in the slideshow:

“Consider a scholastic media product, such as the newspaper, news website, yearbook or magazine, and answer these similar questions:

  • What are the costs associated with this product?
  • What is the MAXIMUM price you would be willing to pay for this item? Why?
  • What kind of costs does the staff have to pay to provide the audience with this item? What do they have to do to make a profit? How does that affect the price?
  • What kind of incentives or “extras” could the staff offer to the audience that would increase their willingness to buy this item, without changing the price but still giving them an opportunity to make a profit?”

3. Slideshow — 15-20 minutes

Go through the slideshow with the students, defining the following terms and providing additional real-life examples to aid in their understanding: profit, supply and demand, scarcity, opportunity cost, choice, preferences, and incentives. Focus particularly on how these economic terms relate to the sales and marketing of publications, not on more general applications. It is important for students to recognize why these concepts are important to them as producers of media products, not just as individual consumers.

4. Question response — 5-10 minutes

Ask students to respond to the following question: “Explain issues surrounding the sales and marketing of media products (newspapers, news website, yearbook, magazine, etc.), focusing on consumer behavior and using the following words: profit, supply and demand, scarcity, opportunity cost, choice, preferences and incentives.” Prompt students to read their answers to this question.

5. Processing activity — 15-30 minutes

Give students the rest of the class period to work on the processing activity (see handout: Sales and Marketing Processing Activity) about audience expectations, incentives and preferences. Students that do not complete this activity in class should complete it for homework.