Framework for case analysis

Topics: Marketing, Marketing plan, Problem solving Pages: 11 (3903 words) Published: April 27, 2014
A Framework for Case Analysis
Case analysis is a problem solving process. You are demonstrating in a systematic way how you have defined a key problem/issue, identified plausible, realistic alternatives (not necessarily limited by those suggested in the case), analyzed these alternatives using common criteria, and finally developed a complete set of recommendations. This process challenges your organizational and communication skills as much as your analytical and quantitative skills. Step 1. Situation Analysis. The first step in systematically analyzing an organization's marketing problems is to conduct a situation analysis. This is not part of the written case brief but it is needed before you can begin the problem solving process. Step 2. Define the Problem/Issue. Once you have conducted a thorough situation analysis, you can identify the problem(s) facing the organization. Be careful not to assume that the characters in the case are objective or accurate in identifying the problem or make a rush to judgment about the problem. Step 3. Identify plausible alternatives. What are reasonable options for solving the identified problem? While you should at least initially consider the options discussed in the case, do not assume that these are the best or even appropriate alternatives, especially if these options are not consistent with the problem. Alternatives should be plausible, not "straw men" that are just knocked aside in order to make a bee line for some obvious solution. Step 4. Identify reasonable, common criteria to test the alternatives. In order to objectively consider the alternatives, you need to identify common criteria that can be used to sort out the best choice. These criteria should include both quantitative and qualitative factors. For example, you might compare two different potential target markets in terms of market growth (quantitative) and competitive threat (qualitative though it may be based on quantitative elements such as number of competitors). Step 5. Apply criteria to the alternatives. In a systematic and consistent fashion, each alternative should be compared on the same, common criteria to clearly illustrate what the best choice would be for the organization. Step 6. Develop a complete set of recommendations around the selected alternative. Once the alternative has been determined, the full set of recommendations (objectives, strategies, tactics, budget, financial impact, etc.) must be developed. This is an opportunity to elaborate, demonstrate some creativity in your recommended plan. Tips on Case Analysis

1. Plan ahead. Give yourself plenty of time, especially for your first case presentation. The process can be very time consuming. Students who have done well on their first case say that they put 10-20 hours into it. Less time will be needed once you have the process down and the process will get easier. I suggest skimming the case once to get a sense of the issues and players. Next time read the case in-depth from start to finish. The third time you read the case. take notes and start pulling out the relevant information. 2. Avoid the "rush to judgment". What seems initially to be the problem or an alternative may not be. Let the facts show you, not the characters in the case or the temptation to get closure and hurry the process. 3. Beware of falling into the "what did they actually do" trap. Don’t invest a lot of time (any time!) trying to find out what the company in the case did do. This isn't necessarily "the correct answer". Many of the companies in the cases are based on actual companies but the name(s) may have been disguised. In some instances you may feel as though you are in a "time warp" as the case may be set as many as 5 to 10 years ago. However, you need to look at the situation at that point in time with the conditions that existed at that time. 4. Do not ignore important information in the case. This can occur for a number of reasons. Sometimes this happens because...
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