The Case Centre’s top 40 bestselling cases

Thirty-seventh place - Mediquip SA (R)
The case
Case: Mediquip SA (R) Mediquip
Authors: Kamran Kashani
Institution: IMD
Ref: IMD-5-0395
Date published: 1988

After working for nearly eight months on the €1.3 million sale of a CT scanner to Lohmann University Hospital in Stuttgart, Mediquip sales engineer, Kurt Thaldorf, heard that the potential deal had fallen through: the hospital told him it had ordered from a Dutch competitor. But Thaldorf remained convinced that the Mediquip scanner was a superior product. The reasons for the lost sale were far from transparent, and so Thaldorf began a detailed review of what had happened. This case enables students to analyse who influences buying decisions; what motivates them; and which sales strategy might have been more successful for Thaldorf.

The authors

Kamran Kashani is Professor of Marketing and Global Strategy at IMD.

The teacher

Roger Palmer Roger Palmer is Dean of the Business School at Bournemouth University, UK. Here, he explains why this case forms a central part of his teaching portfolio.

A classic case

This is a classic case that is well-established within the field of business-to-business marketing as an illustration of buying behaviour. I also had the opportunity to meet the author, Professor Kamran Kashani, on a course I attended some years ago and was able to benefit from his excellent insights into case teaching. Coincidentally, I also make extensive use of another of his cases and accompanying video published by The Case Centre, Value Selling at SKF.

Wide appeal

Mediquip is a relatively short case, which is appealing to students and executives alike, and contains the major elements that are required but without excessive detail. The nature of the case also allows the opportunity for much more extensive discussion if time and opportunity allow. I have used this case many times on MBA programmes at schools around the world as well as on executive education courses, both open and in-company.

Different perspectives

I find that my wide experience of teaching the case is useful in opening up more opportunities to use it in the classroom. With less experienced students it can be used to teach some of the fundamentals of organisational buyer behaviour and with more advanced students the discussion can extend to different perspectives of buyer behaviour, negotiations and relationship styles. On executive programmes, and particularly with delegates who have sales experience, this can lead to lively debate and the opportunity to relate the content of the case to the context of the company concerned.

Coincidentally, I have published in a field related to the topic of the case (magnetic resonance imaging) and have a lot of supplementary material that is useful for teaching on associated topics such as innovation and product/market management.

Surprising insights

One of the interesting things in using a case with which one is so familiar is that surprising insights can always arise, and these in turn open up new opportunities to teach the case. The case is well-crafted in that it is underpinned by the theoretical principles it is used to teach, but also contains sufficient detail to give the case colour and context, enabling people to engage with the material. A teaching note is always useful as the case writer can use this to assist the tutor with their richness of understanding, allowing them to quickly feel confident in using the material. I would happily recommend this case to colleagues.

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