Core Marketing Concepts of Differentiation Case Study

Marketing Management

The following are several links to the recent controversy over Chick-Fil — a stance on same-sex marriage. Please read each article and summarize in 2 paragraphs if you feel Chick-Fil — a stance hindered or helped sales?

The controversy of Chick-fil — a CEO Dan Cathy stating he believes and supports the biblical definition of marriage and the immediate reactionary response from gay groups shows how just how divisive the issue of gay rights and marriage is in the United States. After reading Huffington Post and Washington Post, an interest paradox emerges. The stance of Dan Cathy against gay marriage and his support of organizations that promote the Christian definition of a family have become a lightening rod for gay rights activists. Reading between the lines of both articles one can’t help but compare the assiduous pursuit of rights the gay activists are pursuing to the peaceful and reasoned approach of Dr. Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement of the last century. Comparing both, the gay rights activists appear to look for a slight or insult; they scour quotes from company and industry leaders looking for evidence of prejudice.

Within the context of this paradox is a huge sales windfall for Chick-fil-a. The attacks of the gay activists, instead of being presented with logic and reason as Dr. King would have done, are scattered in shotgun-like fashion across the media, where attention appears to be more important to activists than changing the sentiment of Dan Cathy. Widely perceived as an attack and with the prompting of former Governor Huckabee, the store set a record in sales during a day that was supposed to be a major boycott. This paradox just made Dan Cathy, his family and his employees — everyone involved in the company — richer, more financially stable and fiscally able to weather uncertainty. The attacks of the gay rights activists were not aimed at changing hearts and minds, it was meant to shame a conservative businessman who happens to believe in traditional marriage. Ironically when activists attack a brand people love, customers rush to the aid of the businesses they trust and admire. This is exactly what happened.

Question 2: Distinguish clearly between a marketing strategy and marketing mix. Use an example.

A marketing strategy requires the orchestration of multiple platforms, communication channels, both inline and offline, in addition to extensive use of multiple types of electronic and social media channels. A marketing mix is the combining of product, price, promotion and place or distribution to attain a marketing objective. An example of this would be the integrated marketing campaigns of Disney when a new film is released. Their marketing strategy often includes every form of digital and television communications channels, from their own network to local access channels, in addition to having extensive website and social media fan pages on Facebook created as well. All of these channels are coordinated to a common message and unique value proposition, or the key factors that significantly differentiate the movie being promoted from any other. A marketing mix on the other hand is the decision by Disney to completely re-vamp California Adventure (their product) and also re-align key areas of distribution (their hotels and entirely new rides including Cars Land) to fit the market. Promotion and pricing followed and Disney continues to be very successful in creating demand for their re-launched park. Using an effective orchestration of marketing mix factors Disney took what had been an underperforming park and transformed its performance within less than a year.

Questions 3: Distinguish between primary data and secondary data and illustrate your answer.

Primary data is captured through the diligent use of methodologies that seek to generate new knowledge based on surveys of respondents. Primary data is often initially gathered to meet a specific research goal or objective as well. Secondary data is a term often used to define information, intelligence and research that has been completed and published. Like primary data, the original goals of the research are reflected in how the original methodology is constructed as are the presentation of the data itself and analysis. Secondary research often needs to be interpolated to a given situation as its goals are often not directly aligned to the needs of a given situation.

Question 4: Analysis of Chick-fil — a Strategies


Campaign Name

Explain what the campaign is about?

What do you think the “Positioning Strategy” was/is about? Explain?


Nutritious Kids Program

Thought leadership of making fast food healthier and better-tasting for children

Very effective, shows significant potential to connect with the company’s core customer base of families.


Cow Appreciation Days

Further underscoring the unique value proposition of the chain, this campaign put the cow mascot into unique sand humorous situations to further underscore why customers needed to eat more chicken.

Strong use of humor and shows the quirky nature of the chain’s ability to differentiate itself very well. A core part of their messaging.


Spicy Chicken

Unique approach to differentiating their core product offering with spicy chicken — to further differentiate itself from competitors.

Excellent execution of core marketing concepts of differentiation, opening up new markets in the process.

Question 5 Chick-fil-a: “Eat Mor Chikin” (Except on Sunday)

Maybe helpfully for you:

1. What types of marketing strategies is Chick-fil — a following?

Chick-fil — a is following several different marketing strategies effectively. First, the focus on quality is very strong and pervades their supply chain, down to the individual meals delivered to customers. Second, this focus on quality is giving the company an opportunity also differentiate on the entire customer experience. When the core product of a business is quality-driven, the entire customer experience has significant potential to be differentiated from competitors. Chick-fil — a does this exceptionally well. In addition to these strategies, Chick-fil — a also is focused on creating a very strong social statement of its commitment to its core values, which also resonate with its core customer base.

2. How would you describe Chick-fil-a’s positioning strategy?

The goal of their positioning strategy is to deliver high quality food and an excellent customer experience that has an element of fun in it too. The focus of the positioning strategy is on the family and providing children with highly nutritious meals that are packaged in educational, attractive packaging.

3. Is Sunday closing a competitive advantage for Chick-fil-a? Explain.

This decision further galvanizes the company’s market positioning with its customer bases’ core values. The core customer segments that sustain Chick-fil — a are focused on families and strong Christian values, which is exactly what the founder’s family and CEO belief. It is a very strong fit between the company’s core values and those of their customers.

4. Should other retailers consider closing on Sunday? Why? Why not?

Not unless there is a shared value set with their customer base, and they are willing to internalize and make this commitment real. It would be disastrous to attempt to do this without focusing on how to make the values real; conversely it would also be very bad to close on Sundays if the core customer base of a business didn’t care. There must be a strong level of authenticity and honesty in this decision. Anything less will be more harmful than valuable. Above all, it must align to the customer’s preferences and needs.

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