Purpose and Guidelines
Case write-ups are required for every case discussed in this class. Each will focus on a broad range of marketing problems related to topics we will discuss in class, as well as many that you may experience in your careers. Remember that you are being assessed on the quality of the answers that you provide to questions asked during class. Performing these quick case write-ups will help you to properly prepare. Some of the case studies you perform will be collected for a grade. Others may not be. Be ready! Each write-up is due in Canvas (in “Assignments,” and numbered) by the deadline posted in the syllabus. Late assignments will NOT be accepted. The requirements for the write-up are listed below.
The key to performing a good case write-up is to ground your analyses and recommendations on sound strategic principles: take what you learned from the readings and apply it to the analysis of the case. You must be able to justify your position, not just recommend a position. Cases should be no more than 1 page, single-spaced, 12pt font, 1 inch margins. In most organizations, top management has a very short attention span. It is critical to for you to be able to make a coherent argument to your boss within 1 page for your ideas to get attention.
Your write-up is to be broken into three distinct parts (please provide headings for each part):
1. Problem summary (1-2 concise sentences summarizing problem)
2. Analysis of problem (Expand upon multiple facets of problem)
3. Recommendations (Build upon any data analysis you may need to do to outline feasible recommendations, using facts from the case.)
Among the critical aspects that you will be assess on are the quality and thoroughness of your review and recommendations, the clarity of your writing. Consider two important points emphasized by our BizComm specialists:
1.) Your job as a writer is to deliver the most accurate information with the least amount of work required on the reader’s part (write in plain English).
2) Don’t make your reader ask, “Why are you telling me this?” (Don’t burden the reader with information he or she doesn’t want or need).
Remember to use data, where necessary, to support your recommendations. “Pie in the sky” recommendations are not tolerated. Clear and concise articulation of your thoughts is paramount. Use professional tone in your writing (No “I, me, and my”)
Rubric for Case Analysis
1. Identification of the Main Problem(s)
Clearly identifies the main problem(s), demonstrating ability to prioritize problems. Reports this in a concise (1-2 sentence) manner
Problem identification is clear, but prioritization is not. Reporting is longer than necessary.
Problem identification and prioritization are not clear. Reporting is longer than necessary, or incomplete.
Problem identification and prioritization are not clear or misidentified. Reporting is longer than necessary, or incomplete. Section is missing entirely.
2. Identification and Analysis of Complexities
Clearly identifies several complexities of the main problem(s). The analysis appropriately incorporates strategic marketing management concepts and financial analysis.
Identifies complexities of the main problem(s). Some statements are unsupported by analysis/ calculations. Assumptions are stated, but some are not justified.
The list of complexities is incomplete or unclear in some aspects, and includes items that are not reasonably linked to the problems and issues. Analysis is too narrow and does not identify a broad strategic direction. Some analysis is included, but it is not very detailed. Many statements are not supported by analysis/calculations. Most of the stated assumptions are not justified.
Either the list of complexities is missing or the list is very incomplete or there is no linkage of the alternative actions to the problems/issues. None of the alternatives identifies a broad strategic direction. Shows lack of thorough consideration. Analysis is trivial or missing, lacking any depth.
A clear action plan is given, logically derived from complexity analysis, that provides optimal solution for identified problems/issues and that further makes sense; the recommendation is based on only one of the strategic alternative actions. Assumptions, caveats, ongoing considerations concerning recommendation are provided. The likely benefits/disadvantages of each action are clearly identified and supported by the analysis.
An action plan is given, which is mostly, but not completely, logically derived from alternative analysis. There may be a better solution to the problems/issues than the one recommended. Most, but not all, assumptions, caveats, and ongoing considerations are provided. Most, but not all, benefits/disadvantages are clearly identified and supported by the analysis.
A solution is recommended, but logical derivation from analysis is unclear, and there is clearly a better optimal solution. The recommendation is based on more than one alternative action. No identification of assumptions, caveats, or considerations that might affect the recommendation is provided. Several benefits/ disadvantages are missing and/or not clearly identified or unsupported by the analysis.
A solution is recommended, but it is not derived from the alternative analysis at all; or the recommended solution is clearly not viable; or the recommended solution does not address the problems/issues; or there is no recommended solution. No assumptions are stated (and are needed). Likely benefits/disadvantages are not provided at all or are unsupported by the analysis.
4. Organization, Grammar, Spelling, and Formatting
Written work is well organized and easy to understand. There is a brief introduction. Sections of case analysis are marked with appropriate headings. The work has been thoroughly spell-checked and proofread. There are none to almost no grammatical or spelling errors. There are no formatting errors.
The organization is generally good. There is a brief introduction and section headings. But some sections seem out of place or mislabeled, diminishing the ease with which the case reads and is understood.
There are a few spelling and grammatical errors. There are one to three formatting errors.
The organization is unclear; headings are missing. The introduction is not succinct. There is more than one spelling, grammatical, and/or formatting errors.
The case analysis is disorganized to the extent that it prevents understanding of content. There are no headings. There is no introduction. There are frequent misspelled words, serious grammatical errors, and formatting errors, indicating that time was not taken to spell-check and proofread the report.
Example of a Reasonable Case Write-up:
The Upstart’s Assault Case
Meridicom has to decide on how to react to TelZip’s offer of free broadband service to new business customers who were willing to leave their current provider and enter into a long-term contract with TelZip. Meridicom needs to proceed very carefully because TelZip’s bold move may be a “game changer” within the telecommunications industry.
Analysis of Problem:
There are 5 aspects of Meridicom that need to be understood and considered carefully before making a decision regarding the strategy that needs to be implemented to counter TelZip’s offer.
Meridicom is separated in 3 independent divisions: Landline, mobile, and broadband. Each division operates independently. Meridicom customers receive a different bill per service, which can be confusing. Also, the fact that the 3 divisions operate independently does not contribute to minimizing Meridicom’s total operational costs.
The landlines division represents 70% of the company’s revenues, and Meridicom has an 85% market share in the landlines market. This means that it is important that this division does not lose customers.
Meridicom has a 60% market share in the broadband market, and the broadband division represents 25% of the company’s revenues. Offering broadband service for free would negatively affect Meridicom’s revenues and would make the broadband division operate at total loss.
Meridicom’s major business customers complain about the company’s services being expensive.
TelZip has a much larger mobile phone market share than Meridicom’s 5% market share.
Management at Meridicom needs to understand that whatever strategy they implement will have an important impact on the telecommunications market distribution.
I have 3 recommendations for Meridicom’s management:
Quickly develop and implement a strategy to minimize the operational costs, and send individual bills to their business customers instead of one different bill per service. This would decrease the company’s costs and eliminate confusions that customers may have.
Offer free broadband to their customers because TelZip’s move is a “game changer”. Customers will be expecting to get broadband service for free or change providers.
Increase prices of the landlines service by 5%. This is the reason why: Offering free broadband would help Meridicom acquire a larger market share in the landlines market, which would increase their revenues and partially cover the losses resulting from offering broadband for free. The 5% price increase in the landlines service is relatively low, and it is very likely that it will not be noticed because it would happen at the same time as the free broadband.
My remarks to this Student on the Write-up:
Remember to use professional tone in your writing. No “I, me, and my” references. Go ahead and categorize your analysis and recommendations.