Cofidis was founded as a part 3 Suisses, a French catalog marketer. The company was a popular sponsor of Tour de France. They have an unconventional product policy which gives them a competitive advantage. In order to increase people awareness of the company, they went to event sponsorship and employed a bicycling team. How could the company now retain this competitive edge?
Harvard Business Review (501055-PDF-ENG)
January 22, 2001
Case questions answered:
- Why does Cofidis own a bicycling team? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy with respect to conventional media such as television advertising. What has been the impact of sponsorship over time?
- Is direct marketing a sustainable competitive advantage for the company in the consumer credit industry?
- How does the internet fit in the mix of media that the company is using? Is it a good or a bad fit? Some general guidelines for Michel Guillois?
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Cofidis Case Answers
Introduction – Cofidis
An offspring of French catalog marketer 3 Suisses and a popular sponsor of Tour de France, Cofidis sells consumer credit over the phone, defying conventional banking with a product policy and a communication strategy that perfectly fits the company’s comparative (dis)advantages.
This case describes Cofidis’ product and value proposition, the evolving competitive context and cultural complexity of the European credit market, the adaptive marketing strategy of the company, which evolved from bundling with the 3 Suisse catalog, to direct mail, to print advertising in TV guides, to bicycling sponsorship, the results of the strategy; and the challenge and opportunities posed by the internet.
Based on the lessons of the past, can we advise Michel Guillois, CEO of Cofidis, on the best way for him to preserve the company’s competitive edge?
1. Why does the company own a bicycling team? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy with respect to conventional media such as television advertising. What has been the impact of sponsorship over time?
Cofidis wants to increase its brand awareness as well as increase revenue with a limited marketing budget. So, they decided to go to event sponsorship and go deeper by owning a bicycling team.
They can create a positive image and perception by doing the sponsorship. We can see that there was an improvement in brand awareness, as per stated in Exhibit 7 (on page 14 of the article).
Exhibit 7 – Awareness Patterns
Do you know Cofidis?
If “yes”, what is their main activity?
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