Services Marketing Mini Case Study Solutions

Case 1: City Sightseeing Tours – A Communication Challenge

Researchers are expected to discern that there is indeed a central role to be played by MC in this case situation – for the purposes of;

(a) making people aware of the new service, and

(b) differentiating the service from the competing alternative.

This should naturally lead to a discussion of possible or likely MC objectives with reference to different target audiences.  A useful starting point would be to explore the general roles to inform and to persuade.

This may then facilitate a more focused discussion about what information might need to be communicated, and what might be necessary or advisable to help persuade potential customers to try this new service.

Uses of this case

The case can also be used to encourage students to think through different kinds of audiences with whom Dave and Sheena might be advised to communicate.  For example, it is likely that their potential customer base can be segmented with reference to different demographic criteria and needs.

It may be appropriate to use some common generic promotional material for the purpose of communicating with all of these segments but, correspondingly, it may also be appropriate to consider the possibility of constructing specific MC strategies for one or more of these segments.  This then facilitates a discussion about which elements of the MC mix would be appropriate to use in each case, as well as how.

As well, students should be encouraged to identify other non-customer audiences with whom communication is likely to be necessary.  These include, for example, hotels, tourist information bureaux, travel agents, and retail outlets commonly visited by tourists.

Case 2: Pricing the Opportunity

Marketers are expected to discern in what respects the pricing objectives of the St Vincent de Paul Op. Shop and those of other commercial second-hand shops in the town are likely to differ, with reference to the text discussion of monetary and non-monetary pricing objectives.

Important price-setting considerations in each case are likely to as follows:

St Vincent de Paul Op. Shop                                             Commercial 2nd Hand Shops

*St Vincent de Paul mission & values                            *Overheads that need to be met

                *Overheads that need to be met                                       *Acquisition costs

                *Acquisition costs of selected items                                                *Cost spreading

                *Characteristics of different markets served                  *Characteristics of markets served

                *Possibility of retaliation by commercial traders          *Competitive differentiation

                *Community support sought                                             *Nature of (variable) demand

                *Annual operating surplus sought                                    *Profit desired

In the case of the op. shop prices should be used to help communicate St Vincent de Paul values, interest in, and support for;
  • the community it serves;
  • the affordability of its merchandise;
  • and the fact that the shop exists to provide substantially more than a return on investment to its owners.

In the case of other commercial shops their prices should be used to signal the quality, bargain nature and/or competitive parity of merchandise offered, to attract interest, to incentivize purchasing and motivate repeat patronage.

Case 3: The Singapore Airport Bus

The capacity issue should be discussed with reference to ways by which Andy might first create flexible capacity, and then how he might best manage this capacity with the aim of getting the most out of it – e. optimizing his yield.

The creation of flexible capacity might begin with a consideration of the requisite size and capacity of the buses and whether all initially acquired should be the same.  A further related consideration would be how the bus interiors are designed and the space deployed, and whether provision could be made for flexible seating.

And baggage storage arrangements that could be relatively easily re-configured as dictated by variable demand patterns.  Other considerations include the terms under which terminal staff and drivers will be employed, the hours of operation, and the feasibility of access to supplementary vehicles in the event they are needed.

In managing his capacity Andy will need to think through, map out and manage carefully the bus schedules, routes, drop-off and pick-up points at different times of the day and week.  He should also consider what other services he might offer such as travel for airport staff, parcel delivery, and possibly even city tours during periods of low (seasonal) demand.

To minimize potential customer loss at the airport Andy should consider ways of inventorying and occupying waiting customers. Possible initiatives include;

  • communicating bus arrival times,
  • pre-selling tickets,
  • baggage holding,
  • offering to confirm hotel bookings,
  • providing tourist information and videos,
  • and offering packaged incentives,
  • the bird park and selected retailers.

These might be developed in association with other service providers such as the zoo.

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