Building, Scaling, and Managing Digital Marketplaces

The digital marketplace has become one of the most important models in business today, transforming numerous industries, such as vacation travel (Airbnb) and collectibles (eBay), and serving as a driver of growth for the global economy by enabling companies such as Amazon, DoorDash, and Uber to achieve unprecedented levels of success. A digital marketplace can exist either as a stand-alone business or as a complement to a traditional business and has seen success in both consumer and business markets. However, building and profitably growing one is notoriously difficult. In the early stages, many marketplace businesses have difficulty gaining critical mass, establishing a compelling value proposition for all of their participants, or monetizing without negatively impacting growth. For example, how does a digital marketplace attract buyers with few sellers, or vice versa? How does it generate sufficient activity to keep its participants engaged? And who should pay for its offering: buyers, sellers, or both? When a digital marketplace does figure these things out, the growth phase brings on a whole new set of challenges. For example, how does it build an efficient growth engine? What operational investments will have the most leverage? How does it respond to an increasing set of competitors? This course is for entrepreneurs, product managers, strategic planners, investors, and anyone looking to increase their understanding of the basic concepts of digital marketplaces: marketplace strategy and design, launch strategies, monetization, growth levers, operational requirements, policies and governance, stakeholder management, and ethical considerations. In-class activities will include case studies, interactive exercises, guest speakers and exploring the leading thought leadership related to this increasingly dynamic business topic.

Rob Mihalko
Founder and Principal, Spectus Strategy


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Online, instructor-led
Jan 25 - Mar 14, 2024
Stanford Continuing Studies