For more information, check out the website: http://www.marketingedge.org/events/marketing-research-summit/case-writers-workshop.
The Workshop invites professors and others interested in marketing education to create cases as part of a contest awarding both cash prizes and the opportunity to be published in The IMC Handbook: Readings and Cases in Integrated Marketing Communications and/or The International Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications. Professors often ask how they can gain case-writing proficiency. Here’s some introductory material, which is amplified in the booklet on Case Writing (available for download below).
What a case is NOT:
- Well-defined problem with a specific solution
- An example
- Written to illustrate a correct or incorrect handling of a situation
What a case IS:
- Description of a management situation
- Vehicle for emphasizing thought or decision process
- Means for learning through a real experience
- Simulation that requires application of knowledge and analysis
Case Writing: The Preliminaries
Case Preview (short summary – may later serve as the first paragraph of the case)
- Who is the decision maker
- When/where does it take place
- What are the focal problems
- Tentative list of exhibits
Statement of what the student will learn from the case
Gathering the Data
- Before the first visit learn everything possible re: organization, environment, industry, etc.
- Prepare interview outline (one for each of the different players)
- Gather all possible data regarding the key issues and personalities in the org.
- Identify the power sources in the organization, especially with respect to getting release
Conducting Interviews: Critical Phase of the Process
- First explain what you are doing (show a copy of a completed case, which you can get by e-mailing email@example.com)
- Discuss confidentiality and proprietary information
- Don’t promise anything (pure contribution to education – they are not likely to benefit, although it does happen)
- Ask for what you want, you won’t get more than you asked for
- Ask if it’s ok to take notes Listen carefully; don’t be argumentative
- Observe and make notes after interview
- Thank you letter and other follow-ups
- Return materials loaned
- Many want to redefine the case given all the data collected
- Detailed outline of the case
- List of exhibits
- Statement of the issues
- Background on people, problem company
- Write in past tense
- Tabulate data into tabular form
- Use appendices for information not an integral part of the case or too long for text
- Check figures for accuracy (and recheck)
- Double-check sources
- Include all relevant facts (if something is not available, say so)
- Add your own sources of information and cite them in the case
- Trade journals
- Annual reports and 10K’s
- Company internal memos and research reports
- Standard & Poors/Moody’s/F&S Indices (predicasts)
Revise as appropriate
- Copyrighted material
- Approval from the company
- Case Release Forms (samples available from firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Brief summary of the case and issues
- Teaching objectives
- Include author’s own analysis
- Outline one or more alternative teaching plans – including suggested dos and don’ts
- Sample assignment questions
- Option of including epilogue
- A case is not just an example (it should include people and personalities)
- Disguise? (Company/people/data)
- Clear versus hidden issues
- Questions at the end?
- Role of PC’s and financial information
- CASE WRITING IS HARD WORK
About the Author
Susan K. Jones is a tenured, full Professor of Marketing at Ferris State University, and owner of Susan K. Jones and Associates (direct marketing and advertising). She currently sits on the Board of Trustees of MMEF and is the co-director of the Jacobs & Clevenger Case Writers' Workshop every Fall, and the Racom IMC Roundtable every Spring.
At Ferris State, Ms. Jones teaches direct marketing, business-to-business advertising, advertising copy, advertising management, e-commerce marketing, and other marketing, advertising and public relations courses. She developed and leads Ferris State's e-commerce marketing concentration. She also teaches the first undergraduate direct marketing and business-to-business classes ever offered via Internet, as well as two e-commerce marketing classes via Internet. She was named Marketer of the Year for 1991 by the West Michigan Chapter of the American Marketing Association, and in 1993 she was honored for innovative teaching by the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation. In 1996, she was named Volunteer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing. In October 1997, she received the Robert Clarke Award of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation as Direct Marketing Educator of the Year. In April 2002 she was named Charles S. Downs Direct Marketer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing. In February 2003 she received the Andi Emerson Award for creative direct marketing excellence from the John Caples International Awards organization. In April 2007 she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University, and in September 2008 she received an Alumni Service Award from Northwestern.
Ms. Jones has taught at Northwestern University's IMC Master's Degree Program, DePaul University's Vachel Pennebaker Direct Marketing Certificate Program and DePaul's MBA program, and the University of Michigan Executive Education program. She is a past Chair of Trustees for the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing Educational Foundation, a past CADM secretary/treasurer and board member, and a current CADMEF/MMEF Trustee. She also has represented CADM on the board of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation.
She is the author of Business-to-Business Internet Marketing (Maximum Press 2009), Creative Strategy in Direct and Interactive Marketing (RACOM Books 2005), the co-editor of The IMC Handbook: Readings and Cases in Integrated Marketing Communications (edited with J. Steven Kelly of DePaul University ' RACOM Books 2008), the co-author of Selling by Mail (Scribner's), co-author of Marketing Convergence (with Northwestern University Professor Emeritus Ted Spiegel ' RACOM Books 2002), and has authored or co-authored a number of other books on time management and collectibles.
Ms. Jones enjoys an active volunteer career focused on her ties to Northwestern University, the arts, and human services. Educated at Northwestern University, Ms. Jones holds a B.S.J. and an M.S.J. in advertising. She also holds a certificate in Liberal Education for Adults from the University of Chicago. Ms. Jones lives in East Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, William T. Jones, and they have two grown sons.