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Case Studies by David A. Soberman

16 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 27 Nov 2017

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Collectibles
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
StockX is the world’s first “stock market of things”, a consumer marketplace for high-demand, limited edition products that operates exactly like the stock market. The underlying concept is to allow participants to buy and sell authenticated products in a live marketplace where they trade anonymously (with stock market-like visibility). The StockX exchange offers buyers and sellers historical price and volume metrics, real-time bids and offers (asks), time-stamped trades, individualized portfolio tracking and metrics, as well as in-depth market analysis and news. A partnership with Eminem, a native of Detroit, got StockX off the ground by creating exclusive content and access to rare sneakers from the rapper's personal collection. To build on this momentum, StockX needs to develop a growth strategy.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case highlights the importance of customer-focused marketing in creating profitable value. It highlights key concepts related to segmentation, targeting and brand positioning in a B2B context, in an industry which is maturing.

Keywords:
E-Commerce, Growth Strategy, Business Model Innovation, Collectibles, Sneakers, Eminem

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Consumer goods
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Rideau Artisanal Chandlery (RAC) manufactures and sells a large range of artisanal candles through a variety of specialty retailers in Canada and parts of the United States. It has gained market leadership by constantly adding innovative scents to its product line. The recent addition of its own online store is causing conflicts within RAC between the head of the sales operation in charge of servicing RAC’s distributors and the head of RAC’s online operation. The lower prices charged by the online store are seen as a threat to the traditional channel, but the online store has shown rapid growth and yields higher margins.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case provides a platform to discuss the challenges of integrating online and offline channels. Omnichannel retailing is supposed to be the future, but establishing a fully integrated mash-up of digital and physical experiences has proven to be a thorny problem for many companies. While the case takes the perspective of the manufacturer, retailers are facing the same issue. The case enables an instructor to: 1. Introduce a channel design framework 2. Highlight the need to look at omnichannels from the perspective of the different channel members 3. Discuss strategies to address the problems of "showrooming".

Keywords:
Channel Strategy, Omnichannel Management, Marketing Strategy, Segmentation, Pricing

published: 26 Aug 2013

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Manufacturing Power Tools
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
Having turned around the financial performance of Black & Decker, CEO Nolan Archibald faces a significant decline in market share in one customer segment for its flagship product, power tools, as a result of strong competition from Makita, a Japanese manufacturer. Does this problem require a change to an otherwise successful brand?

Pedagogical Objectives:
To open a discussion of brands and the difference between brands and products, as well as an in-depth examination of brand positioning and brand portfolio management. Case (B) focuses on the implementation of a branding strategy through the company's sales force, allowing for a discussion about the relationship between marketing and sales.

Keywords:
Branding, Brand Portfolio, Brand Positioning and Repositioning, Customer Analysis, Funnel Analysis, Sales and Market Share Problem, Competitive Strategy

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published: 29 Oct 2007

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Electric guitars
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The electric guitar market is both enticing and daunting for a small company – a multi-billion $US sector that has grown almost constantly since the 1960s, but where competition is based as much on image as on substance. The market is naturally fragmented (similar to the market for many musical instruments), yet dominant players make entry and sustenance difficult. While Asian producers or branded imports dominate the low and mid-priced market, collectors and serious players seek high-end branded or handmade instruments that can be resold with only minor loss, if any. To augment collector value, high-end guitar manufacturers constantly modify components, making short-run series with unique features (often specified by “name” musicians and sold under their signature). For established brands, vintage instruments, and handmade instruments, used guitars may sell for their original purchase price or surprising multiples thereof; the value of some pieces increases after only ten years. From this standpoint, experienced buyers can make essentially risk-free purchases. The case tells the story of Joe Naylor, the owner-manager of Reverend Guitars, a small company that made a startling impact on the electric guitar market with a clever use of innovative products, innovative marketing and innovative use of the internet to a) leverage an existing community and b) build a new one.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To explore the following topics in case-based discussion: 1. The role of product innovation in an apparently mature market and the role of lifecycle as a basis for understanding consumer behaviour. 2. The role of the internet as a medium to disseminate information about product innovations. 3. The role of the internet as a basis for distribution and communication with customers. 4. Managing channel conflict on and offline. 5. The interaction of internet communities and online commerce.

Keywords:
Product Innovation, Electric Guitars, Music Industry, Internet Retailing, Online Communities, Internet Communities, Channel Conflict, Distributors

Related:

published: 29 Oct 2007

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Electric guitars
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Please refer to part A for the abstract

Keywords:
Product Innovation, Electric Guitars, Music Industry, Internet Retailing, Online Communities, Internet Communities, Channel Conflict, Distributors

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published: 29 Oct 2007

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Electric guitars
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
Please refer to part A for the abstract

Keywords:
Product Innovation, Electric Guitars, Music Industry, Internet Retailing, Online Communities, Internet Communities, Channel Conflict, Distributors

Related:

published: 13 Apr 2007

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Consumer Electronic
  • Region: Other Regions

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Abstract:
The case takes place in 2006 and is focussed on Binatone's stabilizer business in Nigeria. Stabilizers are used in many developing countries to transform irregular current (from wall outlets) into a current that is safe for electrical appliances and equipment. Binatone's 1000W stabilizer business was under pressure due to multiple factors. The first source of pressure was that the market had become increasingly price sensitive. The buyers of stabilizers seemed unresponsive to quality differences between different brands in the 1000W category. Second, the market was flooded with low-priced, low quality brands that were not government approved. Finally, the Nigerian government has recently enacted a new set of regulations to ensure the safety of electrical equipment throughout the country. The regulations forced legitimate manufacturers like Binatone to go through a long, expensive and unpredictable approval process. Faced with this situation, management at Binatone was contemplating a number of potential responses to revitalize its 1000W stabilizer business. These included the possibility of changing the standard mark-up policy employed for all Binatone products, the launch of a 1000W stabilizer line extension, and new distribution and communication policies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1- To familiarize students with the challenge of operating a conventional business in a developing country where the infrastructure, legal framework and competitive context are completely different than those faced in developed countries. 2- To highlight the shortcomings of a standard mark-up policy as a way of setting prices across a range of products. 3- To underline the importance of meeting customer needs by a) providing customers with what they want and b) not providing them with more than they want. Just because a product is better does not mean that customers will buy it. 4- To examine the challenge of launching a line-extension when there are significant risks in terms of cannibalization. In addition, the line extension is potentially inconsistent with the mother-brand (Binatone) and distributors have limited space to stock two 1000W products from the same company. 5- To develop the skill of looking through data and charts in order to find the seeds of a compelling argument for consumers to shift their focus (and potentially their preferences) to a higher priced/higher quality product. 6- To experience the difficulty of developing logical distribution policy in an environment that is somewhat chaotic.

Keywords:
Pricing, Communication Strategy, Line Extension, Branding, Price Competition, Product Line, Distribution Strategy

published: 01 May 2004

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Automobile
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
In response to the changes in the European small car market, Ford decided to launch a second small car, the Ford Ka. The Ford Ka has already been developed, the production capacity determined, and the launch set for October 1996 in France. Before Gilles Moynier can get to the specifics of the marketing strategy, he must decide who the target customer for the Ford Ka should be. The (B) case reveals that Ford chose an attitudinal segmentation and presents initial sales results. The change in the segmentation approach made it difficult to assess the success of the launch and to determine what needed to be done next to continue to build the brand.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The Ford Ka case introduces students to the fundamental marketing problem of market segmentation and target selection. Ford’s situation does not fit the “textbook” model exactly and thus, the case is an opportunity for students to see how theory is applied in the real world. Ford’s problem is not unique. Often firms want to introduce an existing product into a new market. At a more detailed level, the case can be used to highlight the difference between segment formation and segment identification and the importance of considering implementation issues of a marketing strategy. The case also exposes students to typical market research tools used for market segmentation.

Keywords:
Segmentation, Segment Identification, Target Selection, Product Introduction in New Markets, Internal Marketing

Related:

published: 06 Jan 2003

  • Topic: Marketing
  • Industry: Transportation
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case charts the process of the souring of the Acela Express, a joint venture of Alstom and Bombardier with Amtrak, the US rail passenger service. Alstom and Bombardier won the contract to install high-speed rail service between Boston and Washington. Soon after the Acela’s launch, technical problems with the train were severe and Bombardier’s relationship with Amtrak became acrimonious. Both sides in the dispute made legal moves and they continue as of the writing of this case. The case examines the histories of the companies involved, the relationship between the respective parties and presents the technological background to the Acela Express. The goal is to highlight key points in the management of relationships for large-scale projects and to explore a number of issues in technology licensing.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective of the case is to focus on the following two issues that are critical in a marketing context: The Importance of a Marketing orientation (from the perspective of Bombardier). To underline the value of a marketing orientation even in Mega-Project Selling. It can be the difference between success and failure. Options for Commercializing Leading-Edge Technology (from the perspective of Alstom). How to maximize profitability from leading edge technology (in this case TGV technology).

Keywords:
Marketing Orientation, Customer Focus, Licensing, Technological Management, Mega Project Marketing, Service Management

published: 01 Jan 2003

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Abstract:
In response to changes in the European small car market and the success of the Renault Twingo, Ford decided to launch a new small car, the Ford Ka. Before Gilles Moynier can get to the specifics of the marketing strategy to launch the Ford Ka, he needs to decide how to segment the market and who to target. The market research firm has conducted a series of studies among potential small car buyers and now the data must be analyzed and interpreted.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access additional teaching material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case series introduces students to strategic, conceptual and information issues of market segmentation and target selection ? the core concept of marketing theory. The modular nature of the case allows the instructor to focus either on individual issues or on the process of market segmentation and marketing strategy development. The market research data enables students to get unique hands on experience in dealing with market research data and a wide range of statistical tools (cross-tabulations, cluster analysis, multidimensional scaling, regression analysis).

Keywords:
Market Research, Marketing Strategy, Attitudinal Segmentation, Cluster Analysis, Mds, Qualitative Data Interpretation, Automobiles, Quantative Data Analysis, Marketing Process

Prizes won:
- 2014 Case Centre Best Selling Case in Marketing
- 2013 Case Centre Best Selling Case in Marketing
- 2012 ecch Best Selling Case in Marketing
- 2011 ecch Best Selling Case in Marketing
- 2010 ecch Best Selling Case in Marketing
- Winner of 2010 European Case Awards, Marketing Category
- 2005 ecch Best-selling Case in Marketing

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