Top 10 Tips For Solving A Marketing Case Study Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

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Introduction

Case study analysis has been one of the most tricky but interesting areas in marketing. Although case analysis sometimes can be too demanding because the reader has to first of all thoroughly read the case and then based on the material provided has to develop the future directions. In spite of this fact, it gives the person analyzing the case to actually decide upon his discretion as to how he might look to solve the dilemma presented in the case. Following are the tips that shall be useful in solving a marketing case (for example: Altius Golf)

 

Tip no. 1: Read the case thoroughly

The most important aspect while solving a marketing case study is to read the case. Although it has been observed that while solving a case study the major focus for the case study solution is generally upon the questions that needs to be answered. However, it reading the case study without skimming or overlooking any of the content has to be one of the best or the most feasible methods of analyzing the case study.

Since case study solution is all about solving the case within the information provided, therefore, it the case study is read thoroughly before analyzing it, solving it, it is necessary and rather obligatory to read it with clear mind and complete concentration. The information in the case is the ultimate source of coming to a conclusion; therefore, it is advisable to read the case with complete concentration.

This generally leads to better understanding of the dilemma presented in the case, the central figures are easier to identify and the analysis section along with the situation discussion becomes easier.

The solution to the case also becomes rather easy because once the case study is read thoroughly it tends to help the solver to come over to a conclusion based on the information within the case study rather than finding solutions through the external research.

Therefore, the most important tip while solving any case study and specifically marketing case study shall be to read the case thoroughly. This not helps understand the situation rather more accurately but it also helps in solving the case within the time frame provided.

 

Tip no. 2: Read the Questions that needs to be answered

Once the reader has gone through reading the case, the next step for solving the case study shall be to read the questions that need to answer within the case study. This is also one major tip that sometimes marketing case solver tend to miss out on.

The reason is simple, generally most of the cases in the marketing field are quite similar and they require more or less the same marketing techniques, tools and models to interpret the information provided in the case. However, it is very necessary for the case to make the reader accustomed to the questions that needs to be taken care off.

In most of the cases, the questions if read with complete concentration makes it lot easier for the person to solve the case because if the case is to be solved according to the requirements than it is rather obligatory and mandatory for the solver to go through the questions before solving the case study.

Once the questions are kept in mind before solving the case it becomes rather easier for the case to be solved accordingly. Most of the times one marketing case can be solved in more than one way, therefore, it is necessary to understand the questions more radically before making the next move.

Therefore, the second step or the tip to solve a marketing case shall be to read the questions more than once to better understand what needs to be solving in the case.

 

 Tip no. 3: Identify the major problem in the case

The third tip to solving a marketing case or any other case for that matter is to identify the major problem within the case. The reason is simple, every case has one significant problem that needs to be addressed and solved.

In most of the case studies, there is more than one problem. To identify the major or the significant problem is the most important task. If the problem is not identified as per the requirements, than it generally leads to poor decision making, therefore, it is mandatory on part of the case study that it needs to be solved as per the problem.

Since all marketing cases present more than one problem, therefore, to identify the most obvious one becomes rather tricky and sometimes even difficult. It is necessary to ensure and even highlight the major problem within the case, because it eventually makes easier to come to a solution to the problem.

Most of the times, the main issue or the major problem that needs t solved within the case is written on the very first page and in the last paragraph of the case study. So we can sometimes use the trick to identifying the major problem within the case.

Therefore, one major tip in solving a marketing case study shall be to identify the major problem within the case. If the problem is well understood, the solution, analysis, applying marketing tools and models, developing alternatives, evaluating alternatives, recommendations and conclusion becomes rather easy.

Hence, it can be said that the third tip to solve a marketing case will be to understand and pen-down the problem statement and solve the case based on the problem identified. This more often than not leads to better understanding of the case and eventually leads to improved results also.

 

Tip no. 4: Describe how the business responds to these issues or problems

The fourth tip to solving a marketing case shall be to describe how the business shall be responding to the problems identified in the case. Most of the times, the company within the case study has tried solving the problem by introducing new methods and ways which leads to the solution of the problem.

However, since the company does not find the right solution to the problem therefore, it leads to the issues becoming more intense and leads to decrease is sales, employee demotivation, limited employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, profitability, etc.

Therefore, it can be said that the reader before actually providing the alternatives or finding the solution to the problem within the case or in the company he needs to first of all study the solution company has tried using within the case.  This helps the reader become aware of the situation and it helps in finding the right mix of solution to the specific problem.

Moreover, the solution of the case study needs to be gathering all the information and then look to trace a chronological progression of the different steps that shall be taken in the future which has been missed by the company. Over here, citation of the data included in the case study is very important where the solution of the case should be based upon the different exhibits that have been explained and shown in the case.

Finally it can be said that, before coming to the solutions for a specific marketing case it is necessary to understand the solutions that have been presented within the case, the steps taken by the company to solve the problems has to be considered as vital and necessary.

 

Tip no. 5: Situation Analysis

Tip number five in order to solve a marketing case is to conduct a situation analysis. It is an integral part of the case study analysis. Over here, the introduction to the company, its financial performance, its marketing strategies, human resource strategies, communication strategies, customer service strategies have to be considered.

Situation analysis is basically the summary the crust of the case. Over here, the overall analysis of the case study the future direction, the marketing tools that shall be applied can actually be drawn in mind based on the situation analysis. Most of the times, situation analysis can be a paraphrasing of the content and data provided in the case.

Therefore, it is one most important aspect of the case study solution which needs to be dealt with complete control and authority. If the situation analysis is overlooked and not conducted the decision to land up at a specific decision or the recommendation shall become quite difficult. Therefore, situation analysis is again a necessity while solving a marketing case study because it helps in studying the customers, the organization norms and cultures the direction of the company etc.

Porter's Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces

 

 Tip no. 6: Application of marketing tools

The fifth tip in order to solve a marketing case shall be to apply appropriate and accurate marketing models, methods, techniques in order to solve the problem presented in the case. This is the most integral part in solving a case after the problem diagnosis. The reason is simple, if the problem is identified correctly and if the marketing models and strategies are not well understood, the whole essence of the case study disappears. Therefore, it is most important for the solution of the case study that the marketing model used within the case has to be perfect and also well aligned with the situation presented in the case.

Since marketing a broad term and it has various branches to it therefore, while solving each case different marketing strategies can be implemented. Over reliance on specific marketing techniques might do the job and the problem might be solved, but in the long run it become difficult for the company to sustain? In order to stay ahead of the competition and in order to stay competitive it is mandatory for the case to be solved as per the requirements rather than being too generic.

Along with this, it can be said that the application of right marketing techniques and marketing strategies plays a pivotal role in the solution of any marketing case study. A well directed case study analysis can only become possible if the case study is thoroughly read and the questions presented in the case are well understood.

If the direction of the case study is confused and unclear it leads to poor decision making which leads to a weak analysis of the overall case study. Therefore, the fifth most integral part of solving a case study is to apply appropriate and accurate marketing tools, models and strategies to solve the problem.

Some of the most widely used marketing models and techniques by marketers while solving a marketing case include the SWOT analysis, Marketing Mix, Product Life Cycle, 7C’s of marketing, Pricing Strategy, Ansoff Matrix, Porter Five Forces Model, PESTEL Analysis, Corporate Strategy, etc. The above mentioned tools and marketing models are more frequently used in the analysis section of the case study.

 

Tip no. 7: Develop Alternatives

The seventh step in the completion of a case study has to be the developing of the alternatives. While the introduction to the case, problem diagnosis are a necessity in the case study, the step of developing the alternatives is also a major task for the person analyzing the case study. The development of the alternatives sometimes is taken quite casually because eventually under this heading the case study takes a direction which is entirely based upon the thinking and decision making of the person.

It is basically developed with the personal discretion therefore, sometimes the development of alternatives becomes unclear and it tends to loosen the grip over the case study. In order to sustain the credibility and the completeness of the case study it is obligatory on part of the personal to develop such alternatives that are aligned with the case study itself.

Under this section, the reader has to be presented with the pros and cons of each and every alternative. Sometimes since the section holds personal bias of the personal solving the case and he tends to overlook quite a few major aspects because he wants to come to a point where he develops the recommendations in the mind. However, this is not the right way of solving a case. To make the best use of all the possible resources it is necessary to develop alternatives perfectly and in accordance with the case study.

The reader has to be set up in a way where he cannot actually come up with the best possible alternative. If the analysis of the case study is accurate and if the alternatives are also developed perfectly, it makes difficult to pick the right and the most appropriate and the most feasible solution for the case.

 

Tip no. 8: Evaluation of alternatives

Once the alternatives are developed, the next step is the evaluation of the alternatives. Over here, the most important tip for the marketing case study shall be to evaluate alternatives on certain criteria. These criteria help the reader understand the direction of the company, the goals to be achieved and the decision that needs to be taken in the future. Some of the basic methods for evaluating the alternatives include the element of customer satisfaction, sales of the company, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, sales and revenue, investment in R&D, etc. These are some of the basic themes and ideas that are used in order to evaluate the alternatives.

Along with this, another major decision for the solution of the case study has to be the selection of the alternative that shall help the firm overcome its existing issue. Most of the times, the person solving the case makes the alternatives what he feels can be the right move for the company without realizing the importance of having alternatives that can rather be appropriate for the company.

In such a situation the evaluation of alternatives based on the set criteria that is necessary for the problem solving of marketing case is most important aspect. If the reader wants to gauge in the attention of the reader and if he actually wants to stay real and aligned with the case study content and data it is necessary to evaluate the alternatives according the requirements of the case study.

 

Tip no. 9: Recommendations

Once the alternatives are developed and are evaluated also, the next step that is elementary in the solution of a case study is the recommendations. This again along with the problem statement and analysis is an important part of the case study solution.

The reason is simple, if the problem within the case is well versed and identified correctly and if the analysis part is also done with the right direction and within the case. The step of forming the recommendation for the case study becomes a lot easier. However, sometimes recommendations are not considered as the most necessary times, the case study tends to sometimes lose its focus during the ending section. However, while solving a case study it is very important to find the right recommendations to actually compliment the analysis section of the case study.

One important aspect of recommendation section is that it needs to align with the analysis section with great effect. If the recommendations are not as per the analysis the case study tends to loosen its grip over the reader and the end result or the solution that comes across is not the one that shall help the company overcome its existing and current issues.

Along with this, another important tip in solving a case study is to understand that the recommendations have to be realistic and as per the needs and wants of the case study. If a case that has been well directed until the analysis section and somehow loses its grip in the final section, the overall impact of the case study diminishes away. It is therefore, obligatory on part of solving the case that the recommendations should be realistic and aligned with the material provided in the case.

Therefore, it can be said that the recommendations lead to better execution of the case and it actually helps the case study become more accurate if the recommendations are realistic and as per the requirements of the case study. For instance if the case is about the marketing course, than the solution or the recommendation should also revolve around the marketing subjects.

 

Tip no. 10: Action Plan

Action plan is the final step or the final stage in every case study. This section is the last step because over here whatever the recommendations are made by the firm they actually have to be executed. Action plan has to be again realistic and aligned with the vision and mission of the company. If the action plan is unrealistic it leads to poor implementation of the execution of the idea presented in the case, therefore, it is necessary on part of the person solving the case study that it is according to the recommendations.

For instance an action where a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy is given the action plan to  invest X million in the research and development shall become unrealistic and might end up making the case become vague. Therefore, it is again one basic idea to make the action plan realistic and aligned with the case study.

Action plan makes it easier for the reader to understand how the recommendations can become practical, therefore, it is necessary for the person solving the case study that the action is well directed and well versed.

 

 

Conclusion

Based on the above ten steps that have been discussed for solving a marketing case, it is necessary to abide all of the above mentioned steps to make the analysis of the case study more in-depth and aligned with the provided material in the case. If the case study is solved while keeping the above mentioned 10 steps it is more likely that it shall gauge in more readers and the organization looking for the solution to the problem end up implementing the ideas printed in the case study solution. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze all the marketing case studies based on the tips that have been presented in the paper.

 

 

References

Straits, Bruce C. and Singleton, Royce A. (2004) Approaches to Social Research, 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press

George, Alexander L. and Bennett, Andrew. (2005) Case studies and theory development in the social sciences. London: MIT Press.

Gerring, John. (2005) Case Study Research. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hancké, Bob. (2009) Intelligent Research Design. A guide for beginning researchers in the social sciences. Oxford University Press.

Kay, L.; Youtie, J.; Shapira, P. (2014). “Signs of things to come? What patent submissions by small and medium-sized enterprises say about corporate strategies in emerging technologies”. Technological Forecasting & Social Change: 17.

Mills, Albert J.; Gabrielle Durepos; Elden Wiebe. (Eds.). (2010). Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. Sage Publications. California. p. xxxi.

Rodger Kessler & Dale Stafford. Editors. Collaborative Medicine Case Studies: Evidence in Practice. Springer. New York. 2008

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