Throughout the early 80’s as a Golden Flash undergraduate at Kent State University I mastered many a case study under the tutelage of Professors’ Guinness and Jameson to name just a few, however in my last year I had a Marketing Case studies class that put me on the right track.
We were taught (presumably) an abbreviated version of the popular Harvard Business School Case Study Method. With all due respect to Harvard, whether this method entirely relates to their method is beside the point. The plain and simple truth is that crystallizing a one page marketing case study works wonders.
Here are the 5 Steps to writing a one page marketing case study:
1. Define the Key/Central Problem in 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 our sales closing rates – actually close rates were high for the industry. Net, the central problem was that “We did not get enough foot traffic through our doors to generate the number of sales we needed each month to meet our plan!!”
2. List Assumptions
Assumptions are statements of conditions that will stay in effect if you choose to do nothing. For example, “Our advertising is controlled by national marketing and we will have little influence over our message.”
3. List Alternatives
For example, “We could spend more money and advertise a local message.” List more here.
4. Recommendation (Choice of One Alternative in Step #3)
5. Rationale (Why You Chose Your Recommendation)
State why you chose this particular alternative – course of action – and provide a convincing fact-based point of view.
I continue to use this problem solving method today to crystallize every client engagement and I’m sure it will help you do the same. Try it!
P.S.: I still benefit and enjoy the teachings of Professors’ Guinness and Jameson and a few more. And, I’m still benefiting from the teachings of my old Kent State marketing professor who I believe was David Ratz. Dave if you’re out there, thanks a million!