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Published by:
ESSEC Business School (2006)
23 pages
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Generalised experience


This is the first of a two-part series. This is a lively and deeply documented case, dealing with the issues and challenges of business-to-business market segmentation in the flavour industry context. Given the breadth of the topic, this case was split into two parts. Part (A), introduced here, focuses on market characteristics (macro-segmentation) and deals with targeting the most promising market segments, whereas part (B) focuses on customer characteristics (micro-segmentation) and deals with customer portfolio management. Pressed by Olymp'IA's Board of Directors, Bob Curnew, the recently appointed Marketing Director, has to decide on which market segments to count in addressing the urgent need for business growth. The company realises 60% of its turnover on four application segments, yoghurt and dairy-based desserts, ice-creams, confectionery, and soft drinks. It faces active competition from the top 12 worldwide flavour suppliers, on which ample qualitative and quantitative information is provided. Curnew needs to redefine the most pertinent market segments, and prioritise them in order to facilitate the targeting of the most promising ones given the company's budget constraints. He will also have to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of such things as: (1) market shares; (2) business growth rates; (3) gross margins; (4) market ranking; (5) flavour note expertise; and (6) flavouring costs and product ranges. For this, he will have to use the information provided in the case with wisdom! Although the figures and names have been disguised for confidentiality reasons, the scenario is inspired from a real business situation. With authorised permission, it features true market data of real interest. The current case text comes with an Excel data document featuring complementary market, competitive and technical information designed to facilitate analysis. This document is available through the instructor in the form of a teaching note supplement, in which the instructor will also find a complementary Excel data file with intermediate data processing results, and a slide presentation (PowerPoint format) ready for use and easy to customise. The teaching note is provided separately. A basic background in marketing is recommended. The case can be completed in 2 or 3 hours and is adapted to continuing education, provided time is granted for preparation. Successfully tested in class, this case is the third in a series of five case studies on agri-food business-to-business marketing, currently being published and co-authored by Professor H Faucher and corporate executives. See 'Buffer BiAC Acidifiers: Competitive Product Positioning', 'Fruit Prep', 'Toutatis Sunflower Seeds: Farm Input Distribution Strategy' and 'Pallas and the 'Feez' Feed Enzyme: Crafting BtoB Marketing Strategy'.


Business-to-business (B2B); Marketing, market; Segmentation, segment; Customer, portfolio; Strategic, group; Flavour; Food, dairy; Ingredient, chemistry; Technology, industry; Key account management (KAM); Europe, application; Core list; ABC
Large industrial group
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