Category Archives : Case Studies

Case Study: Corporate Credit Card Market

Brief:

Evaluate the current and medium term potential of the corporate credit card market in China and Japan, conduct interviews with potential customers to understand their decision making behavior and preferences, and conduct a complete “eco-system” analysis of the market leader in these two countries.

Emerging Strategy’s Approach:

Emerging Strategy developed a thorough understanding of the needs and purchasing behavior of corporate decision makers relating to financial services. We also assessed the relative use and popularity of different types of products such as cards used primarily for ‘T&E’ (Travel and Entertainment) purposes vs. those used for corporate purchasing. Emerging Strategy’s consultants conducted over twenty in-depth interviews as original, primary research in each country. Respondents included senior corporate executives responsible for making decisions about financial services vendors; sales, marketing, and operations employees at major banks and credit card companies, as well as industry observers and analysts. This was in addition to leveraging any existing on-line secondary research, government reports, journals, etc.

Impact:

The client has fresh information from the market about competitor activity, market dynamics, and tactical sales opportunities with some of the major corporations operating in those markets


Case Study: M&A Commercial Due Diligence for Electronic Payment Technology

Brief:

Our client was considering an acquisition of a major player in the electronic payment technology space and required a clear understanding of the target’s brand strength and growth prospects in India, China and Japan.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

By conducting extensive primary research within the financial services and payment technology sectors, we assessed the market penetration, growth prospects, and growth drivers, and developed a detailed understanding of the threats and opportunities associated with alternatives to traditional electronic payment technologies. Discussions with technology leaders and retail chains and financial services customers also helped us understand key purchasing criteria, the dynamics of hardware, software and services in this space, and trends regarding security standards driving demand for replacement technologies.

Result:

Since it was a time-sensitive M&A deal, we met the client’s deadline of producing comprehensive results in less than two weeks. This allowed the client to use our analysis as a critical input regarding the deal and they decided to proceed with the acquisition.


Case Study: Electronic Payment Technology

Brief:

The client was considering an acquisition of a major player in the electronic payment technology space, and required a clear understanding of the target’s brand strength in key Asian markets as well as its growth prospects.

Emerging Strategy’s Solution:

Emerging Strategy collected a large team of locally based experts at short notice. By conducting extensive primary research, we assessed the penetration, growth prospects, and growth drivers in perceived high-growth markets. Through detailed discussions with banks, large customers, as well as competing technology providers, we developed a detailed understanding of the prospects, threats and opportunities associated with alternatives to traditional electronic payment technologies. Discussions with technology leaders and customers also helped us understand key purchasing criteria, the dynamics of hardware and services, and the dynamics of security standards driving demand for replacement technologies. Over a two-week period, we conducted 50+ in-depth interviews as original primary research besides leveraging whatever limited open source material was available on the subject.

Result:

The client used our analysis as a critical input regarding the deal, and decided to proceed with the acquisition.


Case Study: Market Entry Strategy for Surgical Imaging Solutions for Integrated Operating Rooms in China

Client Situation:

Amid rising demand for integrated operating rooms (IOR) particularly in established economies, our client was poised to accelerate its surgical imaging solution business globally—it acquired a company offering clinical Video-over-IP solutions, and has since been providing clinical information management systems to healthcare institutions in the U.S. As the company sought to leverage its new acquisition in penetrating new markets for surgical imaging solutions, it engaged Emerging Strategy to conduct a comprehensive go-to-market strategy study for the Chinese market.

Emerging Strategy’s Approach:

The purpose of the engagement was to inform our client’s decision-making on three key questions:

  • Where to play: Identify growth market segments and analyze drivers and obstacles in these segments
  • What to offer: Identify customer needs in priority segments
  • How to win: Examine and benchmark prospective partners, reflecting on the customer (hospital) needs and advise our client on its acquisition and channel partnership strategy

To obtain insight into these topics, our consultant team utilized a rigorous primary research strategy that sourced valuable insight from decision makers at customer organizations, experts and other knowledgeable stakeholders in China’s healthcare space.

Impact:

Emerging Strategy evaluated the competitive landscape for Integrated Operating Rooms (IOR) in China, including both international and domestic competitors, as well as identifying attractive customer segments and strategic go-to-market plays, providing a valuable foundation of market intelligence for the company to consider its product strategy for IOR and surgical imaging solutions there.


On-Request partnership seen as critical to informing international strategy

Our client, a leading provider of education software, is a large and established company  tasked with keeping and preserving market share, mitigating threats from emerging competition and discovering new sources of organic growth. With fast-paced innovation in their industry and the ubiquitous nature of information available to understand market trends, our clients find it difficult to get a clear understanding of the competitive landscape in the market segments they want to compete in. Under our On-Request market intelligence partnership, we are uniquely positioned to provide customized market intelligence in an ongoing fashion to support decision making in their Strategy team and the business units they support.

Client Situation:

We work with the Vice President of Strategy at a leading vendor of Learning Management Systems (LMS) who required a greater understanding of an important market segment: the corporate learning and learning management space. While the company had found tremendous success acquiring and retaining its customers in higher education and K-12 segments, it had not yet been able to crack the corporate market. To help develop the right mix of features in its product offering and create the optimal value proposition within this segment, our client asked us to provide insight into the market for these products. Specifically, they needed clarity about the overall size of the market opportunity for corporate training products in a variety of industry verticals, to identify both the major and emerging players operating in those spaces, and understand more about key trends as they are playing out in the market.

Working under a hypothesis that changing customer needs and the evolution of industry standard technologies would create opportunities for new product features or positioning, we collaborated with them to understand which key intelligence questions needed answers and set out to craft a customized research plan to address them.

Scope:

We collaborated on a customized study to enhance their understanding of this market. The purpose of this customized study was to:

  • Size the market for corporate learning and learning management products in the United States and globally
  • Provide insight into key trends such as technological innovation, use cases and implementation issues which affect the space
  • Identify the major and emerging players in corporate learning and learning management and provide answers to the key intelligence questions our client needed visibility on

Impact:

Providing a more holistic and up-to-date view of the fast-moving cLMS market gave our client’s Strategy team a framework with which to view its competitors’ offerings. In addition to identifying and profiling key market trends to help with product planning, we provided analysis on where the competition was weak. Because our competitor research was aimed squarely at analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of major competitors and emerging players, it was a valuable tool to identify service gaps or whitespace to exploit. This analytical framework proved valuable to the product strategy team as they made decisions to re-position the company in the corporate market segment.

At its completion, the client’s team made the decision to engage in additional follow-up research aiming to dig deeper into specific needs, pain points and requirements among corporate customers in select industry segments. As a valuable added benefit, the On-Request partnership makes it possible for our client’s strategy team to get the external market insight they need in a flexible manner, without the need for time-consuming procurement processes for each ask.

For more information about how we help our client within our On-Request partnership model or to learn more about the types of research output provided to our clients, please contact us at info@emerging-strategy.com 


Case Study: International market entry analysis for top education content provider

Emerging Strategy works with a top education company serving more than 50 million students in more than 150 countries. Our client sees the On-Request market intelligence partnership as critical in informing its international strategy with fact-based, data-oriented insight on market opportunities. 

Client Situation:

Our client has historically taken an opportunistic approach towards non-U.S. markets. With the company’s Board and its CEO seeking international expansion, the International Markets team has elected to obtain market intelligence from its On-Request partnership with Emerging Strategy to vet and prioritize markets to focus its investments into areas of best fit and highest potential.

Although the company often gained an initial foothold in emerging markets by responding to strong demand for high quality content, it has become a top priority to continue growing its business in key non-U.S. markets. To confidently meet the expectations of its board and CEO, the International Markets team needed market intelligence to play a central role in long-term strategic decision-making, such as prioritizing the markets that the company chooses to play in, and the investments that it makes.

The Vice President for International Markets quickly realized that given his team’s limited internal capacity for conducting the international market intelligence required to drive revenue growth, a long-term engagement with an external partner such as Emerging Strategy could systematically and objectively analyze markets, and help achieve its global growth imperative.

Solution:

Emerging Strategy’s On-Request partnership is an ideal solution for the team because the continuous access to timely and well-structured top-down market intelligence enables it to identify promising markets, make flexible pivots in research scope on the fly, and get quality insight into any number of emerging markets, before committing more significant internal and external resources in vetting those markets and developing a comprehensive go-to-market strategy.

We initiated the partnership by jointly developing a list of research projects that would run for the first several months, focused on examining various market segments in countries of interest, with each project running a few weeks in length. The client’s management actively participates and provides feedback and direction. Emerging Strategy works directly with the Vice President for International Markets, who in turn shares our intelligence and his recommendations with his CEO, the global sales organization, and company personnel in global markets.

Results:

Market intelligence through our On-Request partnership is helping the team to create a long-term strategy for global expansion, and eventually it will be used to craft a “go-to-market” strategy for each market segment within each country, to meet the company’s financial objectives for its non-U.S. business.

Examples of projects:

  • Market landscape of specific market segments, filling gaps in existing intelligence
  • Estimation of the addressable market size of relevant markets segments
  • Competitor profiles and market share, through a rigorous modeling approach leveraging publicly available data
  • Analysis of the regulatory environment for specific product lines, including recent regulatory changes

This systematic process represents a shift in culture for the client’s International Markets team, but the team’s Vice President is happy about what the On-Request partnership has produced. During a recent conversation he told us, “Look, I have no difficulty giving hard news to consulting firms.  But you guys: the work you do, the scope of the work, timeliness, and the quality of delivery – I can’t say enough. If I had a colleague who asked for a firm, I would recommend you.”  


Case Study: Competitor analysis of a fast-growing adjacent segment of assessments in United States higher education

Client Situation:

While working with a longtime client in global education services, we were tasked with profiling top competitors in a fast-growing segment of assessments for higher education in the United States. Since the specific category of assessments fell outside of our client’s core business areas, little was known internally about this adjacent market segment other than a few competitor names and products. Obtaining more information for our client’s research team on key market participants, such as their product offerings, market presence and recent events, was the first step for it to begin evaluating any potential opportunities in this space.

Methodology:

We were provided with a short list of a few products of interest and some key questions to answer, such as detailing product feature sets, identifying market traction with available metrics, analyzing their respective marketing positioning and obtaining pricing or distribution information. The methodology we employed for these competitor analyses involved using a combination of targeted secondary research utilizing public sources such as marketing materials, press releases and news articles and also proprietary commercial research databases.

Taking the information available from competitor marketing materials painted a recognizable picture of each competitor assessment, but it was often necessary to fill in the intelligence gaps through primary research with competitor firms and their customer institutions. The findings presented in the final deliverables were informed by research from a variety of sources, all of which were taken into consideration during our analysis process, contributing to our conclusions on the key competitors and their products in this nascent higher education market space. Additionally, the appendices of each competitor profile provided a collection of important metrics and data as well as an organized list of sources for hassle-free sharing of the information throughout the organization.

Results:

In addressing our client’s key research objectives for different competitors using a standardized methodology, we were able to put  a quick means of comparison between a number of competitor products all in one place. This benchmarking exercise revealed information in important dimensions such as pricing and market traction. The final deliverables allowed the research team at our client organization to easily make sense of this nascent but growing market segment with minimal need for further research, editing or analysis, which allowed them evaluate potential opportunities with counterparts across the organization.

 

 

 


Case Study: Hiring Selection Trends and their Impact on Pre-hire Assessments

Client Situation:

Our client commissioned us to look into trends in hiring selection to determine their impact on the market for pre-hire tests. As a large education services firm with expertise in test administration for the higher education and K-12 segments, our client was considering expanding its offering in the pre-hire assessment space and needed to know more about which hiring methods were valued for which purposes by industry and by country. This project covered the hiring selection practices of multiple industries in the United States as well as general trends in a total of 10 additional foreign markets.

Methodology:

To address our client’s objectives, our team relied on interviewing HR professionals in target markets and industries to gauge their attitudes toward traditional methods of hiring selection. Because hiring selection practices vary significantly across job functions, meeting our project objectives required us to analyze the nuances of pre-hire assessment practices. We contacted a wide range of stakeholders and conducted in-depth interviews with them to cover all the bases — some sample research objectives include: what types of tests are valued by job function, by industry and where tests are deployed in the hiring process. Our team also reached out to vendors in this space to gain additional insight into market trends, specifically with regard to emerging technology standards in the industry.

In addition to pre-hire assessment trends, we also investigated other new technologies beginning to appear in the pre-hire selection market to determine their likelihood and nature of their impact to our client’s interests. We identified a list of six potentially impactful technologies including but not limited to: video interviewing, social media scraping, digital simulations and predictive analytics. To analyze the potential for these nascent hiring selection methods to make waves in the market, we employed a combination of secondary desktop research and primary research with vendors and other experts.

Results:

This project provided insight into the pre-hire test market by delving into customer attitudes and HR practices across multiple key industries and markets. In leveraging the insight of a wide range of experts and stakeholders our team developed evidence-based, actionable conclusions and recommendations for our clients to utilize in their internal strategy discussions regarding business interests in the pre-hire assessment market.


Case Study: Market Trends in Online Formative Assessment Platforms and Assessment Analytics Platforms in the U.S. K-12 Market

Client Situation:

Our client was a formative assessment analytics platform vendor for K-12 in the United States. Facing declining market share in recent years in key markets to due the surprising gains of some successful new entrants, they decided to initiate a product revamp. To better inform product development, they needed in-depth, timely market intelligence on what their competitors currently offered and what customers and users saw as the top strengths and weaknesses they could address in upcoming product development efforts preceding the platform re-launch.

Methodology:

In order to make sure their next generation assessment analytics platform met and exceeded expectations, they engaged us to provide detailed analysis on what specific feature sets and services would prove compelling in a future product rollout. We proposed researching specific feature sets found in leading competitor products and categorizing them into common parameters such as supported data sources, software integrations, reporting features etc. to allow for cross comparison. Once we laid out the research objectives, we conducted extensive secondary research to build out the framework with detailed analysis of feature specifications. We consulted available resources including user guides, product reviews as well as primary research with vendors, former employees and thought leaders with extensive product knowledge.

In addition to present generation feature specifications, we also investigated which feature areas needed the most improvement to provide suggestions for product development efforts. In other words, we endeavored to find out where the market leaders were currently falling short with the objective of providing recommendations on how our client could address these shortcomings with a future rollout. To accomplish this, we interviewed end users of the target products in each of the key markets to further inform our analysis.

Result:

Analyzing the present generation of product feature sets among leading platforms along with pain points and gaps identified by users themselves allowed us to provide an insightful view into opportunities on the table for our client to consider in product development efforts. Both the strengths and weaknesses presented opportunities for our client to either emulate successful features or develop new ones to address critical gaps according to customers, leading to a better informed product development process.


Case Study: Niche B2B Manufacturing Market Landscape of China

Client Situation:

Our client was a global manufacturer of flexible packaging used by leading food, consumer products, medical, pharmaceutical, and other companies worldwide. In 2013, they entered the Chinese market by acquiring a local specialty film manufacturer and were looking to increase their market share in protective films in the APAC region. The company sought to inform their internal strategy with analysis of the external commercial environment – the market landscape, competitors, customers and suppliers.

Methodology:

We proposed analyzing the competitiveness of various protective film markets through the lens of Porter’s 5 forces analysis framework. We also agreed that deep dive profiles into key competitors, customers and suppliers that were of interest to the client would also be beneficial. We conducted a funnel type market landscape analysis to evaluate the upstream product demand directly impacting the nature and scope of demand for downstream components such as protective film.

Emerging Strategy utilized primary research to gather information and compiled data to fill in the gaps in available secondary sources. Our target primary sources for this study composed industry experts and regional chambers of commerce where the local specific industry hubs were located. These sources provided us the hard to find data we required to complete this project.

We provided information about size, drivers and expected growth of upstream and downstream markets by product application, material structure and complementary profit driving markets. We also provided an enhanced understanding of the competitive landscape in China and all the value chain players, together with identified unmet customer needs and opportunities.

Result:

The insights generated by Emerging Strategy provided a clear picture of the protective films market in China, giving our client the market intelligence they needed to help develop a growth strategy for the region. These insights facilitated a leaner utilization of resources and targeting of emerging opportunities for scaling up. Our project also provided insight on how aggressively they should pursue expansion in this market and the required capital expenditure to support their growth strategy.