This case illustrates the success that Build-A-Bear Workshop has achieved since its founding in 1996. A detailed description is given of the Build-A-Bear retail experience and why it is that both parents and children are drawn to this concept. Personalization, and not just customization, is the driving force. The case also highlights how founder Maxine Clark stays in touch with the customer and the employees. For Clark, management-by-walking-around is more than just a way to supervise operations. It is a way of conducting her own market research. Clark has also embraced the networking capabilities of the Internet as a way of keeping in touch with the customer. Future prospects for Build-A-Bear’s continued success are also discussed. Teaching Objectives
The teaching objectives for this case are to:
1. Introduce students to the concept of customer value creation and its central role in marketing. 2. Allow students to analyze Build-A-Bear’s product offering in depth. 3. Introduce the concepts involved in customer relationship management. 4. Introduce the concepts of customer lifetime value and customer equity. 5. Allow students to develop specific recommendations for Build-A-Bear’s future. Discussion Questions
1. Give examples of needs, wants, and demands that Build-A-Bear customers demonstrate, differentiating each of these three concepts. What are the implications of each on Build-A-Bear’s actions? The purpose of this question is to force students to consider whether or not it is important for a company to differentiate between needs, wants, and demands. By the textbook definition, Build-A-Bear customer needs might include: • Belonging — joining the Build-A-Bear “club.” • Affection — creating and caring for another being. • Self-expression — the ability to create a product that reflects elements of the self. Students should consider how wants differ from these fundamental needs. Basically, they may...
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