MINI CASE STUDY
BestBrand is a privately held company that operates in a single, very competitive product category in a consumer (B2C) market. It sells three versions of one primary product, each targeted to sub-segments of the overall product market segment. All product versions focus on providing superior functional performance value to users. BestBrand’s marketing strategy is very similar for all three versions, with minor adjustments in the marketing mix for each sub-segment target. All three versions carry the same brand name, which is the same as the company name, BestBrand.
BestBrand has the second largest overall revenue share in the primary product category, built over its 37 years in business, and margins have held steady over the last five years. However, its share of the market, after several years of steady growth, has been in a gradual decline for the last three years, and BestBrand is in danger of slipping to third place in the category.
Kailani Brown is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for BestBrand. Brown was recently hired into BestBrand management as a change-maker, with the charge of reversing the share decline, re-establishing steady growth in the category, and improving profitability. She replaced a CMO whose recent retirement concluded a 25 year tenure in the role.
After a few weeks on the job, Brown has come to the conclusion that BestBrand’s basic business model and segment targeting is sound, but its current marketing strategy is too inward-focused, not aggressively growth-oriented, and in danger of losing relevancy with its customers in a market that is rapidly changing. In a word, she believes the current strategy is stagnant and in need of a comprehensive redesign – in other words, a reboot.
She also believes that the BestBrand marketing team’s “culture” is partially at fault – she thinks it has grown complacent, tends to take customers for granted, and does not encourage or reward innovative thinking. She’s decided that there is good talent on her team – people just need to be energized and turned loose to exercise their creativity.
Brown is ready to begin her effort to reboot BestBrand’s marketing strategy. She has decided that the first step should be a comprehensive review, evaluation and critique of the current marketing strategy, to be conducted as a self-study by the BestBrand marketing team.
She has some concerns about team members simply “validating” their current work at a tactical level in this internal review, but believes this can be overcome by re-emphasizing a basic approach and structure for creating sound marketing strategy with her team – in other words, making sure that everyone is thinking and working within the same conceptual strategic marketing planning framework.
In addition, she believes that another key to achieving her goal of an objective critical review is to begin the process of changing the team’s culture by introducing them to the idea that innovation is a mindset and skill that everyone can learn, and that it will be encouraged and rewarded going forward.
Brown has decided that a two-day retreat for key members of the marketing team (about 25 people) is the best way to launch the internal self-study process. She wants to hire an external consultant to plan and lead retreat activities and has developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) to be distributed to several well-qualified marketing strategy consultancies.
To allow responders a wide degree of latitude and creativity in their proposals, Brown has developed a minimally-structured RFP. The RFP includes the following key requirements and information.
The retreat will begin on a Friday at 09:30 and end Saturday (next day) at 16:00 and will be held at a nearby resort facility with meeting rooms, food/beverage service, and overnight accommodations.
Goals of the Retreat
Marketing team members will leave the retreat with a clear understanding of the conceptual framework that will be used to structure the critical review of BestBrand’s current marketing strategy and subsequently create a new marketing strategy that has a high probability of success.
Within that conceptual framework (as in Goal 1 above), “action assignments” will be introduced for each of the major components. (Note: these action assignments are primary tasks in the critical review that will be launched after the retreat. Ms. Brown will announce teams of 3-5 people responsible for each of the action assignment tasks on the following Monday.)
Team members will leave the retreat believing that they all can learn to be innovators and that BestBrand will immediately take specified steps to begin transforming its culture to one that encourages and rewards innovative thinking in the marketing function.
Required Components of the RFP
An Executive Summary explaining how the retreat goals specified in the RFP will be met. (Note: limited to one page in length.)
An Agenda for the retreat. (Note: there is no overall length limit on this component.)
Each topic/learning session included in the Agenda must be structured/formatted as follows:
Session start/end times: _____________.
Topic: _____________. (Note: main focus of session.)
Sub-topic(s) if applicable: _____________. (Note: secondary or supporting focus(s) of session.)
Topic Rationale: _____________. (Note: a specific rationale for including this Topic at this place in the Agenda. No more than 75 words.)
Action Assignment: _____________. (Note: the primary task to address this Topic in the upcoming critical review of current marketing strategy.)
You will assume the role of a marketing strategy consultant replying to the BestBrand RFP. Your task is to submit a Proposal that wins the job
As a consultant submitting a Proposal, your goal is to sell your high-quality plan and be awarded the contract. Think of the one-page Executive Summary as your “elevator pitch” to Ms. Brown. What would you expect to see in this Summary if you were Ms. Brown? What sorts of information would she find useful in helping her make a decision? She has goals for the retreat – how does your retreat plan help her to meet those goals and why is your plan the best way to meet those goals? What are the benefits to BestBrand of awarding you the contract? What is your value proposition? You should assume that she has pre-qualified all the consultants that she distributed the RFP to, so you don’t need to “prove” your expertise. Whatever you decide about the content, your Executive Summary should be clear, concise, and above all, compelling.
You have complete freedom in how you choose to use available retreat time. You’ll need to schedule in meals, appropriate short breaks, etc. Feel free to add a cocktail hour or other social time if you think it’s appropriate.
“Topic” is the main focus of a learning session, and “Sub-topic(s)” (if you need them) are sub-topic areas within the main topic. As you saw in the RFP, you must give a short (<75 words), concise rationale for the inclusion of each main topic and the place it occupies in the Agenda order. How would you answer if Ms. Brown asked, “Why did you include this, and why here?” Obviously, you should strive to use what you’ve learned in our course as you craft your proposal. However, don't think that you must agenda every little thing we covered in the exact order we covered it! Avoid a “laundry list” approach. Don’t be afraid to stir things up and combine Topics or sub-topics in different ways if you think it best to meet the retreat goals. If you think something we’ve studied in our course is not crucial to your agenda, then feel free to leave it out. Or, if you believe that something we did not cover in our course should be on the agenda, then put it in. You are fairly limited on time for this retreat. The overall objective is not necessarily to cover all Topics you choose to include in great depth, but to cover fundamental concepts in a manner to insure that all participants have a baseline understanding. Your Topic Rationale could address this if need be. For example, if you decide to include CLV analysis in your Agenda (not saying you have to do this – this is just an example), it would be safe to assume that Ms. Brown, if needed, would identify a team member possessing this analytical skillset to lead a CLV analysis of BestBrand's customer base. Topic sequence is important – you want to lead participants through your Agenda content in a way that makes sense and takes them from a natural starting point to a natural ending point, and sets the stage for the launch of the action assignments on the following Monday. Think about the retreat from the participants’ perspective – they are marketing professionals and most will probably be familiar with most of the agenda topics, but perhaps not in the manner you want them to be thinking about those topics. You have very limited data on BestBrand and its business situation, but you do have some general information. Thus, you will need to work in the context and limits of this general information. Do NOT start inventing more information about BestBrand beyond what you read in the mini-case.
MINI CASE STUDY