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The Case Interviewing Companion


... factors/issues would you consider to make the decision to launch and ... Gas grill usage is substantially increasing which is causing charcoal usage to decline. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Case Interviewing Companion

The Case Interviewing Companion
  • Why Case Questions?
  • General Tips Marketing Knowledge
  • What Types of Questions Will I Encounter?
  • New Product Launch
  • Pricing
  • New Competitor / Private Label
  • Declining Sales

Why case questions?
  • questions provide companies an opportunity to
    evaluate your
  • Strategic thinking / analytical skills
  • Creativity
  • General understanding of marketing principles
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to think on your feet
  • Case

General Tips
  • There is no right answer - but there are some
    frameworks that you can use
  • Ask questions / state assumptions
  • Follow the 3 Cs Clear, Concise, Complete
  • Go beyond the textbook answers
  • Be able to explain why/how you came to your
  • Think before you speak
  • Key success factors are good marketing intuition,
    quick thinking, creativity and preparation!

General Marketing Knowledge
  • Best ways to prepare
  • Read industry magazines and books (Ad Age
  • Pay attention to advertising (tv magazines)
  • Store visits
  • Current news acquisitions, announcements, etc
  • Current trends (health, convenience, innovation)
  • Product portfolio research what categories is
    the company in? Whats their strategy?
  • Pick one or two of the companies brands to think
    about specifically

General Marketing Knowledge
  • Sample Questions
  • Whats a good/bad new/existing
    product/launch/promotion/ad/package Why?
  • Name the 3 most unique brands you can think of
    and tell me why you think they are unique.
  • Whats an innovative product? What would you do
    to improve it?
  • How would change the way brand XYZ is marketed?
  • Give me 5 line extensions for brand XYZ. Give me
    another 5.
  • When you walk down the supermarket aisle, what
    product jumps out and says buy me and why?
  • What brand/color/car/animal would you be? Why?
  • If you were going to design your own
    website/billboard, what would it look like?
  • What would the title of your autobiography be?

New Product Launch
  • Always start with the consumer. Do consumers
    want/need this product?
  • Assess the opportunity (Think 5 Cs)
  • Size of the marketHow big is the consumer need?
  • CompetitionHave they entered? Are they likely
  • Estimate of your market share-- Will this product
    have a fast adoption rate?
  • Cost/ease of entry (capital investment and
    manufacturing, branding, distribution, company
    skills, etc)
  • Identify consumer segments, and choose your
    target (Think STP).
  • Determine your positioning choose one singular
    benefit that you intend to deliver to your target
    consumers. Positioning should be differentiating
    versus competition.
  • Determine marketing strategy for new product
    (Think 4Ps)
  • Price set to reflect positioning (premium,
    popular, or value) and drive profit
  • Product which attributes to offer (flavor,
    size, etc.) offer to what consumers
  • Promotion how will you create awareness and
    trial of product (advertising, coupons, sampling,
    product demos, etc.)
  • Placement where will consumers buy product
    (grocery, mass, club, convenience, internet, etc.)

New Product Launch
  • Sample Questions
  • You are a BM at General Mills, and the company is
    considering launching a new chocolate-flavored
    Wheaties product. What factors/issues would you
    consider to make the decision to launch and
    subsequently introduce the product?
  • You are charged with marketing a candy bar in the
    US which has been very successful in the UK.
    What things should you consider in bringing the
    product to the US market?
  • You are the BM of Kingsford Charcoal and you are
    launching a new type of charcoal. Should you use
    the Kingsford brand name? What issues would you
    consider in making this decision?
  • You are the BM at Nabisco and your boss stops by
    your office to tell you his kids were going crazy
    at a weekend picnic over beets. He wants to know
    if Nabisco should enter the beet market.
  • Give me an example of a recent new product launch
    that was well done.

  • Positioning Always choose a price that reflect
    your brands positioning.
  • Premium vs Popular vs Value/Fighter brand
    (private label)
  • Elasticity Elasticity tells you how
    responsive/sensitive your brands sales are to
    changes in price. Use elasticity to analyze how
    pricing changes will impact your brands volume
    and profit.
  • Elastic (commodity products) vs Inelastic
    (differentiated products)
  • Cost Structure Always consider costs when
    analyzing pricing. Clearly, revenues should
    exceed costs and the brand should be profitable.
  • Profits Revenue Costs
  • Pricing Strategies/Considerations Keep your
    brand plan goals in mind when determining your
    pricing strategy!
  • Perceived customer value, markup, going
    rate/comparative, discriminatory, bundling

  • Sample Questions
  • You are launching a new product and you have to
    determine its pricing strategy. How will you do
  • Each year you evaluate whether to increase the
    price of your product. How would you do this and
    what do you need to consider?
  • You are the BM of Formula 409. Your boss tells
    you he wants to increase the profitability of
    your business via a price increase. Should you
    do it?
  • You are the BM of Tide. Your boss asks you to
    evaluate a price decrease, as he wants to
    increase volume. Should you do it?

New Competitor
  • How viable is this threat? Assess the threat to
    determine whether or not you need to defend
  • Does the new product meet a consumer need?Will
    anyone buy this product?
  • How strong is the competitor will they spend to
    support the launch are they smart marketers?
  • Where will they take volume from are they
    targeting you or your competitors?
  • Should you decide it is necessary to defend,
    there are some strategies to consider (Think
  • Reinforce equity with advertising/promotion
    remind consumers why your product is better than
    new competitor dont give them a reason to try.
  • Product upgrade to provide new benefit never
    give consumers a product based reason to switch.
  • Load consumers provide price incentives so
    consumers will be stocked up with your product
    when a competitor launches.
  • Track new competitors performance after launch
    to see if it is successful.

New Competitor
  • Sample Questions
  • You are the BM of Fresh Step Cat Litter. You
    learn that 2 new competitors are entering your
    category Arm Hammer Cat Litter and EverFresh
    Activated Charcoal Cat Litter. What should you
  • You are the BM of Kingsford Charcoal. Gas grill
    usage is substantially increasing which is
    causing charcoal usage to decline. What should
    you do?

New Competitor - Private Label
  • Build your equity Use advertising to communicate
    quality/image of branded products to consumers.
    Establish a point of difference versus private
    labelCustomers must understand the enhanced
    value of the brand.
  • Innovate Increase product quality or innovate by
    introducing new flavors, scents or choices.
  • Manage the price gap Consider a price
    sensitivity analysis. Determine how much of a
    premium you can afford to charge before your
    brand starts losing volume to private label (in
    essence, what is the value of your brand to
  • Introduce a value brand Larger companies that
    have more than one brand competing in a given
    category could position one brand as a value
    brand to compete against the private label. This
    offers consumers a branded option at a lower

New Competitor - Private Label
  • Sample Questions
  • You are the BM of SpaghettiOs, and you have
    learned that one of the major grocery chains has
    launched its own brand of kids canned pasta.
    What strategies should you consider to defend
    against this competition?

Declining Sales
  • Is the decline driven by a general category
    decline or a share decline on my brand? These
    drivers lead to very different strategies for
    reversing the decline
  • Why is my category declining?
  • Changing consumer needs/habits/trends (health),
    macroeconomic factors
  • Why is my share declining?
  • You changed something or your competitors changed
    something (new product substitute ex. bleach
    usage declined when Tide w/ bleach was launched)
  • If category is declining, determine strategy to
    increase category usage
  • Increase frequency brush after every meal
    instead of in the morning/evening
  • Use more per usage occasion for whiter whites
    use a full cup instead of half
  • New product uses - recipes, beauty care, odor,
  • Expand across categories
  • If share is declining, determine why. Explore 4
    Ps for yourself and your competitors
  • Price Changes? Temporary or permanent? Reason
    lower costs, inventory, steal share, etc?
  • Product Has the quality changed? Any new
    products/upgrades? SKU rationalization?
  • Promotion Have promos/advertising changed?
  • Placement Have I lost distribution? Have
    competitors gained distribution?

Declining Sales
  • Sample Questions
  • You have just been named BM of Pine Sol. Your
    sales are declining considerably. What questions
    should you ask to understand what is going on?
  • What would you do to reverse the above decline?
  • What would you do to reverse the above decline if
    you could not increase your promotional budget?
  • You are the BM on a product whose sales have been
    flat for the last 5 years. However, the brands
    market share has been growing at about 3 a year.
    What is going on with the brand and what should
    you do about it?