First Rule of Marketing: Assume Nothing
Something happened last week that floored me. For the first time in my teaching career, my students solved not one — but TWO marketing case studies. On the spot. No Google searches. (The cases aren’t online anyway.) Just good ol’ brain power. And these are undergraduate students!
This post is about the first case. And here it is…
SOME YEARS AGO, A&W Restaurants decided to offer a one-third pound hamburger on its menu. The chain felt confident that the burger would sell like crazy — especially since it was pricing the burger less than McDonald’s quarter pounder.
What went wrong?
Well…first, A&W did no market research. No focus groups. No surveys. No chatting up customers in their restaurants.
Call it overconfidence, hubris, shooting-from-the-hip, disdain for research/data…whatever you like. But the company learned its lesson after the fact. When the dust settled. When its campaign was a bust.
Executives were perplexed. How could this go so wrong? And THAT’S when A&W did the market research.
Kudos to them for doing the followup investigation…the post mortem. Most companies wouldn’t spend the money — especially after incurring losses on the campaign. But, because of this, we now know (for certain) what happens when “you assume.”
Assuming you don’t know the story — and before I fill you in on the answer — I thought I’d test your problem solving skills. Just for fun.
And I’ll post the results (and the answer) in the coming days.