Case Questions

  1. Structure the problem
  2. Show strong instincts
  3. Drive, not Ride


Useful Frameworks

McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey – Can be used to answer “how to market a new product?”.

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Marketing Mix (4 Ps) – Can be used to discuss the different elements of a marketing plan for new or existing products.

  1. Product
  2. Price
  3. Promotion
  4. Placement


SWOT Analysis – Can be used to analyze companies and products.

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats


The Five Cs – Can be used for situational analysis; provides an overview of the environment for a product or decision. Can guide discussions on whether a company should launch a product and what the company’s strategy should be.

  1. Company
  2. Competitors
  3. Customers
  4. Collaborators
  5. Climate


Porter’s 5 Forces – a framework for industry analysis; can be used to discuss whether or not a company should enter a specific market.

  1. Threat of New Entrants
  2. Rivalry among existing competitors
  3. Threat of Substitutes
  4. Buyer Power
  5. Seller Power


AARRR – Startup Metrics for Pirates

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Referral
  • Revenue


Strategy Question

SWOT, The Five Cs, Porter’s 5 Forces

Answer the strategy questions at the following levels:

  1. Product level and Market/Industry level
  2. Short-term and Long term
  3. Tactical and Strategic
  4. Micro and Macro


Marketing Questions

SWOT, Consumer Decision Journey, Marketing Mix – 4 Ps

  1. Understand the Company
  2. Understand the Competition
  3. Understand the Customers
  4. Understand the Environment
  5. Market the Product


Launching a Product Questions

  1. The Product
    1. What is the vision of the product?
    2. What are the strengths, weaknesses, and risks?
    3. What is the target market?
    4. Who are the competing products?
    5. How to position against competitors?
    6. What are the things to worry about?
  2. Launch Goals
    1. Determine the goals of the launch.
      1. Do you want as many users as possible?
      2. Do you want to maximize revenue or profit?
      3. Do you want to validate product-market fit?
  3. Launch Design
    1. What is a good test bed market?
    2. Do you want to control growth through invitations?
    3. Launch a limited version to launch sooner or make a big splash with a complete product to capture more users?
  4. Launch Implementation
    1. What are pre-launch tasks?
    2. What are launch tasks?
    3. What are post-launch tasks?
  5. Cover the following aspects, possibly for each phase of launch:
    1. Target Market
    2. User Types / Components
    3. MVP or Full Product
    4. Distribution
    5. Rollout
    6. Buzz
    7. Partnerships
    8. Risks

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Brainstorming Questions


  • Parts
  • Actions
  • Goals
  • Events
  • Self-Concept

a “computer” (Part) is one kind of item that an “unhappy employee” (Self-Concept) might “carry” (Action) out of the “company offices” (another Part) to “sell for cash” (Goal) as part of a “stealing” Event.


Pricing and Profitability Questions

  • Cost-Plus Pricing
  • Value Pricing
  • Competitive Pricing
  • Experimental Pricing


Pricing Models

  • Free, Ad supported
  • Freemium
  • Tiered
  • A La Carte
  • Subscription
  • Free Trial
  • Razor Blade Model


Online Advertising 

  • Click Through Rate (CTR)
  • Cost Per Click (CPC)
  • Conversion Rate
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Pay Per Impression (PPI)
  • Pay Per Action (PPA)
  • Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

CPM = CPC * CTR * 1000

Max for an Ad = Expected Profit Per Click = Conversion Rate * Profit Per Conversion


Problem Solving Questions

  • Falling profit results from a decline in revenue or an increase in costs.
  • Falling revenue results from a decrease in sales volume or a decrease in price. This could mean a shift in purchasing behavior across tiers of the product.
  • Falling sales volume results from a decline in new customers coming in or lower retention from existing customers.
  • Declining new customers results from a decline in traffic or in conversion rate. Either of these could come from repeat visitors versus new visitors on a website.
  • Increase in costs can be caused by an increase in fixed costs or an increase in marginal costs. These, in turn, can be caused by suppliers increasing their prices, a distributor changing their profit structure, a spike in the number of returns, or a variety of other aspects.
  • Decline in traffic can be the result of a decline in the number of new visitors, a decline in the number of returning visitors, or a decline in the engagement for either of those types of users.
  • Decline in new visitors can be the result of a decline in search traffic, a decline in referral traffic, or a decline in direct traffic.


Some ideas to get you started:

  • Has this happened in all regions?
  • How many product lines do we have? Has this happened in all our products?
  • Have competitors had similar issues, to the best of our knowledge?
  • Have other related products experienced the same effect?
  • Have we seen any seasonality?
  • Have we made any changes to our product line?
  • Have new competitors entered the market?
  • If we separate our customers by new versus returning, what differences do we see?
  • How is customer retention?
  • What have customers been saying? Have we been getting more complaints recently?
  • Do we notice any changes in referral traffic?