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Topic: Student Questions
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Case Study Analysis, What Is The Format?
9/9/2006 at 11:29 PM ET
Hello I just started a course called Strategic Marketing Planning and I never done business case analysis in my life. I was given a case (Evergreen Trust, Ivey) but I really don't where to start
Basically we are asked:
to analysis the situtation & marketing plan
to develop a model for the marketing operation
to develop a marketing plan
But i don't what structure or format should i use in analyszing the case and answering theses questions
9/10/2006 at 9:11 AM
First off, please use the "Student Questions" category for student questions. This is important so we can answer the question in the right manner.
No one has ever had any experience writing analyses for case studies until they have written one. You are not unique where you are. Every other student in the course is in the same position, unless they happen to have had a course previous requiring this.
As far as format goes, there is no universal format for analysis of case studies. It depends on what the professor wants. I would suggest in further situations in your studies that you ask your professor questions like this first, not a community of marketing professionals.
As far as where to start, it's all right there in the question. A case study is like problem solving. First is the situational analysis. What's going on? What's the problem? Why do they have a problem? What is their market? What is their position in the market? What are the elements of their marketing plan? What's working and what's not? Why?
For the marketing operation, what model does their present operation fit? What are alternative models? What are the advantages and disadvantages of these models given their situation and needs? Which one is best and why? WHat actions do they need to take to implement this model?
And finally, given all this, what are the elements of the marketing plan you propose? What actions need to take place? What are the expected results? Why?
Answer these questions and you'll be fine. I hope this helps.
9/10/2006 at 3:49 PM
Here are few tips on how to do your task.
For marketing analysis Id suggests you do the following:
-Analyse the company's history, growth and development
-Identify the company's internal strengths and weaknesses
-Analyse the external environment
-Evaluate the SWOT analysis
-Analyse corporate lever strategy (strategy includes where the company is now, where do they want to be, how do they plan to get there and how are they going to measure the results)
-Analyse structure and control system (management within the company, is there an efficient marketing department within the company, is the management of the company market orientated, product orientated, short-term profit or long-term brand building orientated...)
Once you have answered the question above, ideas for marketing plan will follow naturally. Identify the problem issues, if you find any, within company's current marketing operations and how they can be improved.
Perhaps the most important part within any marketing plan is to write clear marketing objectives which have to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed). Once you have done this, you plan your strategy. Strategy is executed through marketing mix and 4 Ps (product, price, place and promotion) all of which have to be differentiated in the market for your product to gain competitive advantage. You will also have to do your market segmentation and competitor analysis and how to address these, your target market and facing the competition, through your 4 Ps and competitive advantage which has to be clarified.
At the end you write a plan on how you are planning to measure your objectives so that you can compare your results to your objectives and see where you have gone wrong and if and what you can do to repair the damage.
From my experience, when working on a case study, there are two things your professor may want to see, either of the two. The structure of the analysis and your marketing plan with less attention given to the quality of your marketing thinking. On the other hand, structure may be of less importance but real innovative ideas, strategic thinking and suggestion is what will give you points. You may want to ask your professor which one he wants you to focus. He might say both, which is a big thing to do so do it step by step and don't try doing it in one go. Give it some time, think about it when you aren’t thinking of anything else and after a while ideas will come when you least expect them.
9/10/2006 at 8:25 PM
Check out my plan for analyzing at situation at..
9/11/2006 at 9:04 AM
Hello my friend,
All good answers above, however I'll take a slightly different approach.
The "Case Study" analysis/approach was first coined and implemented at Harvard Business School. I'm amazed at how many academics and professionals alike loosely throw out the word "case study" and have no common format and/or do not know of its origin. It's classic outline is quite clear and is meant to be cystallized on one sheet of paper in its purest form.
Here are the steps.
1. Define the Key/Central Problem (one sentence!)
Seems easy, but very tough to do. For example, a retail firm I worked with in the past had lots of problems. Was it poor advertising? Maybe? Was it close rates - actually close rates were actually high for the industry. Net, the central problem was that "We did not get enough foot traffic through our doors!!"
2. List Assumptions
Assumptions are statements of conditions that will stay in effect if you choose to do nothing. For example, "Our advertsing is controlled by national marketing and we will have little influence over our message."
3. List Alternatives
"We could spend more money and advertise a local message." List more here.
4. Recommendation (choice of one Alternative)
5. Rationale (why you chose your recommendation)
Say way you chose your alternative and provide a convincing fact-based Point of View.
R. Miguel Coelho
9/11/2006 at 9:25 AM
Hi. From the answers above I can say that you are having the right help on this one. BrandMill just added order and timely structure to all the content you should organize on the way. You might have in your hands a simple case but the analysis should be done with enough depth and rigour.
Would not add at this stage much more information for you unless to say two things you should always question when dealing with a business case, and they are central issues to wrap up all the information so far:
1. Exactly how do I make money with this particular business? In this particular company?
2. Where will the industry be in, say, 2 years, 3 years, 5 years from now?
Most case analysis are bery generic so this will hopefully help you stay focused and on the ground, basing your situation analysis on hard facts.
Business case methodology is a world in itself, a great tool for learning all sides of decision making. If you get the thrill for this I would suggest you go to
and explore a great site about the subject.
You can also see the newsletter, a fantastic publication in my opinion:
By now you have guessed I am a huge fan of cases... well, you can learn a lot with them. Best yet is trying to write one case from the ground up. The pleasure and the learning is guaranteed.
Above all, have fun doing it.
9/19/2006 at 7:21 AM
I am closing this question since it's more than 2 weeks old. We do this to reward the contributions of participants in a timely manner + to give increased visibility to the newer questions.
Thanks for participating!
Carrie (Production Editor)
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