Stefan Michel is Professor of Strategy and Marketing. He is Director of the Marketing Management course and was Dean of the Executive MBA program at IMD from 2014 until 2022. He also teaches in the Digital Marketing Strategies (DMS) and High Performance Boards (HPB) programs, as well as on the EMBA program. specializes in customer-focused strategy, strategy execution, corporate governance, and pricing. He has particular expertise in marketing strategy and is the author of a practical guide on marketing impact and the writer of numerous case studies on the topic.
Michel believes that the key to a successful marketing strategy lies in an in-depth understanding of an organization’s customers. It is his belief that failing to understand your customers can waste marketing resources and create a useless strategy, leaving your company with lackluster results.
His book Real Impact Marketing, co-authored with Lisa Duke, helps decision makers improve the impact of their marketing efforts by aligning customer insights, value co-creation, value communication, and value capture, and provides a unique one-page marketing plan summarizing the actions a company can take to achieve this objective.
When done right, marketing has the ability to make a real impact. But it needs fuel from customer insights, value communication, and strategies powered by consumer behavior. Without them, you’ll build your marketing efforts on shaky ground.
While most marketing textbooks discuss marketing instruments and managerial frameworks but fail to link these elements to real impact, Michel’s book takes a practical approach and focuses on the real and visible impact that marketing can have. Based on years of interacting with executives about what they need to know to deliver results effectively, the book, now in its third edition, is intended as a guide for all business leaders on the contribution that marketing can make to a firm’s success.
Michel has also written several other books and book chapters on the topic, along with numerous newspaper articles and academic articles that have appeared in journals including Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, California Management Review, and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.
He has directed or taught in IMD custom programs for more than 70 organizations including ABB, Adecco, AGC, Aggreko, Air France KLM, Allianz, AXA, CLP, CMS, Coca Cola, Commerzbank, Danske, Deloitte, DNB, Ericsson, EY, Everbright, Evonik, Hertz, Holcim, IBM, ISS, JTI, Liberty Seguros, Maersk, NCC, Nestlé, Nilfisk-Advance, Novartis, Pon, PwC, Rexel, Securitas, Siemens, Skanska, Sulzer, Svitzer, Swiss Post, Swisscanto, TUI, Visa, and Wolseley.
When advising executives and entrepreneurs on marketing strategy, Michel says they should focus on three points. First, answer the question, “What the heck is going on?” Avoid getting lost in the details of the market analytics and trend reports. Instead, put all the pieces together to define the current external and internal context, and opportunities and risks. Second, make sure to discuss real choices that include some trade-offs and come with a risk and reward profile. And finally, align all your actions with overcoming the biggest hurdles that your organization is facing.
Michel was named on the Case Centre’s Top 50 Bestselling Case Authors list 2020/21 and has been recognized in several other case competitions.
He is a non-executive board member at publicly listed Swiss company Bossard and family-owned firm Peka-System and is a strategy and marketing consultant for several Swiss top 50 companies and SMEs. He is also President of the Foundation Board of the Swiss Society for Marketing (Gesellschaft für Marketing GfM).
Before joining IMD in 2008, Michel was a tenured Professor of Global Marketing at Thunderbird School of Global Management in the United States, where he introduced a number of successful teaching innovations and received several awards for excellence in teaching. He previously worked as Professor of Marketing at the University of Applied Science in Lucerne and Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Zurich, University of Berne and SAWI Biel.
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