"The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come."

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011), co-founder of Apple
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This Business English lesson plan on marketing has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Marketing is not just about promoting and selling a product. Great marketing seeks to truly understand customers and tell them an inspiring story. In this Business English lesson plan on marketing, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as successful marketing tactics, how important it is to communicate the values of a company and how the internet has changed the way businesses market their products.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.


Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

IMD | “Seven trends that will affect the future of marketing”

The article, by Professor Dominique Turpin of the IMD Business School, lists a number of trends that will affect marketing in the future including personalisation, big data and mobile communications. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article? Can they add any more predictions?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a presentation by Steve Jobs from 1997 called “Think Different” in which he talks about a new marketing campaign by Apple designed to inspire customers with Apples core values. As history has shown, this marketing campaign proved to be one of the most successful of all time.


The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the difference between marketing and advertising, memorable marketing campaigns and the challenges of marketing.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with marketing such as the 4 Ps of the marketing mix, market research and market segmentation. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about marketing. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the effect of the internet on marketing, cultural difference when marketing a product and whether or not marketing could be considered an art or a science.


After the class, students will write an evaluation of their company based on the 4 Ps of the marketing mix. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.


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