To continue our series on case interview frameworks, we bring you our personal favorite – and the most versatile – the Market Study case interview framework.
This is the third article in our series on Frameworks! In the first article of the series, we gave you a brief introduction to frameworks before exploring Market Sizing and Profitability in more detail in the second. In this article, we’ll be looking at Market Study. If you haven’t read the other two articles yet, we strongly encourage you to go back and catch up before reading on.
Market Study Framework
The Market Study framework basically takes the Profitability framework and flips it on its head. Whereas the Profitability framework is an internal focus and seeks intimate knowledge of the client’s revenue and costs, the market study framework has an external focus.
The market study framework includes five categories: market, competitors, customer, company, and product/service.
We start with the market study framework when it is important to understand these various external elements of the market and industry landscape in addition to some internal elements about the client. The categories of ‘market’ and ‘competitors’ include fully external questions. The ‘customers’ category includes a mix of internal and external questions, while ‘company’ and ‘product/service’ are purely an internal view of the client.
We can still get to all key profitability elements utilizing the market study framework. ‘Market’, ‘competitors’, and ‘customer’ categories can help you calculate a company’s revenue (if not provided to you directly in your line of questioning about the company). Inquiry in the ‘company’ category can also address fixed costs, while the product/service category can address variable costs.
Almost every case that can be solved with a Market Study framework can be solved with a Profitability framework and vice versa. Decide which framework to use by asking whether your core focus should be on the internal profit drivers of the client (profitability framework) or on the broader landscape and players around the client (market study framework).
Market Study Questions
There are three key categories of case objectives that should utilize the market study framework. Within these categories are a wide variety of possible case objectives, some of which are provided below:
- Market Entry – Should the client enter this new market or not? Would it be profitable for the client to enter this new market?
- Market Growth – How can the client increase their revenues? Should the client increase their prices?
- Market Share – Why is the client’s market share decreasing? How can the client become the #1 leader in their market?
How to use the Market Study Framework
There are many important questions you can ask while utilizing the market study framework. As with any framework, you need to customize these basic questions below to the exact case prompt scenario you are given in your case interview.
- What is the overall size of the market? (Globally, regionally, by country)
- Is the market growing? What have been the recent growth trends?
- Are some segments of this market growing disproportionately?
- Is there any seasonality or cycles that are relevant in this market?
- Who are the main competitors to our client? Does that differ across geographies?
- What is the size and market share of each of the key competitors?
- What are the products offered by each competitor? What key features do they offer? What is their brand identity?
- Who are our current customers? How has the client defined customer segments? What do we know about each of these customer segments?
- Is our market share per customer segment growing or declining in any areas?
- How are we currently engaging with our customers?
- Do we know our customers’ needs? Are we meeting and addressing those needs?
- Where do we operate? Where are the client’s locations?
- What is the client’s revenue currently? Has this been growing or declining?
- What capabilities exist within the client organization?
- What are the key fixed costs of the business? Have these been changing?
- What is the company’s culture like? Is it a high performing culture with a properly incentivized workforce?
- What is the product mix of our client? What are the features and price points per product/service?
- What is our marketing messaging across the product mix?
- Is the client currently working on any new product/services to add to their product mix?
Asking questions in these five areas will help you fully build out your market study framework. You may also decide to utilize less than five categories. Make sure you have at least three questions in each category you include. With this framework, it is possible to combine categories rather easily (e.g., market and competitors).
Even if you decide not to use the Market Study framework in a case, knowing the difference between an internal framework (profitability) and an external framework (market study) will help you stand out as a candidate.
Finally, remember that you can and should include questions around profitability and financial impact, even when you lead with this framework. But utilizing market study (over the profitability framework) gives you more space to dive into an external view of the broader market landscape and players within it.
The goal of this series, as with everything we do here at Management Consulted, is better equip you for interview success. If you’d like to learn more about Frameworks and other things that you’ll need to know for your interview, go through our Case Interview course. Alternatively, if you’d like some 1:1 coaching time, where we can tailor our advice to your specific needs and run you through drills and mock interviews, meet our coaching staff and schedule a session.