Clique Pens manufactures a long line of writing commodities from pens, pencils, markers to art supplies. For some time, the company has seen a drop in its gross margins. It is now looking at whether it should be concerned with retailer needs or consumer needs.
Frank V. Cespedes and James T. Kindley
Harvard Business Review (914525-PDF-ENG)
December 16, 2013
Case questions answered:
- Should Clique Pens be more concerned with retailer needs (requirements) or consumer needs? What factors drive this decision?
- Should Clique institute MDF as a marketing initiative or another means for sales to compete for retail shelf space? If marketing how will it be funded? If sales how will it be funded?
- If clique were to fully implement MDF oriented to consumers, how should Ferguson go about obtaining retailer support? What kind of competitive response should be expected?
- How should Ferguson manage the pull/push conflict between the marketing department(Chen) and the sales department (McMillan)?
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Case answers for Clique Pens: The Writing Implements Division of U.S. Home
Q1. Should Clique Pens be more concerned with retailer needs (requirements) or consumer needs? What factors drive this decision?
It is essential for Clique Pens to balance between both retailer and consumer needs as the writing implement industry has no firm with enough brand and market share power. The driving factors include:
- With increased competition for shelf space and the availability of a plethora of pens, pencils, and markers, a decent margin needs to be provided to the retailer.
- To avoid the skeptical nature of the impact of innovations, it is essential to provide the retailers with allowances.
- In the era when all the companies are touting about product innovation, differentiation can be achieved through advertising programs to increase consumer demand for Clique Pens.
- To ensure sale conversion promotions and price-off deals are essential.
Q2. Should Clique institute MDF as a marketing initiative or another means for sales to compete for retail shelf space? If marketing, how will it be funded? If sales, how will it be funded?
Clique Pens should institute its MDF balancing into both marketing and sales to compete in the retail shelf space.
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