Anatomy of a Strategy: Confidential Casebook

By Jay Abraham

© 2003 The Abraham Group, Inc.

Jay Abraham
Dear Strategy Setting Super Summit Participant: As you may know, I place an extraordinary emphasis on the assimilation and use of case studies in your business. Why? Because I believe the best way to teach, and the best way to learn is by example. And relevant models are the fastest way for you to achieve the results you want in business, and real life role models, case studies, examples, and success stories seem to me the most effective and useful way to get my points regarding marketing strategy across as well. Trust me, I have read very esoteric, very academic, very high brow, and very dense books on the creation of strategy in marketing and business. I have read literally hundreds of books on the subject. At times, I would given anything for one clear, succinct, and concise example… Some tidbit of a real life implementation. Alas, it is rare that great strategists make great writers or even good teachers. But my experience does drive home my point: Case studies really work. The following case studies are from my files, as well as from today’s business news. The examples are very clear and applicable. I have tried to make them even more clear and sinewy by listing just the facts and specifics related to each strategy. At the event, (unless I come up with a better idea,) I’ll be walking you through these, as well as others which I have uncovered--- Dissecting them and discussing their relevance to your business. Hint: The best way to use these case studies is to look at what you can adapt or adopt for use in your business. Yes, I know the businesses are dissimilar to yours. But that makes them even more powerful from a competitive standpoint. Let me explain: It is a fact: Most people and companies in your industry market the same way. Based upon my experience in over 400 different industries, I have found that you can engineer an enormous competitive advantage--- if you try something which your competitors don’t do. It gives you a preemptive advantage, differentiates your business and gives you a posture of being an innovator or leader.

This in and of itself is a very powerful strategy. So please, take to heart, really extend yourself and work at applying these case studies to your business. Even if you can’t necessarily use these particular strategies, the process will open your mind, expand your intellect and give you a level of flexibility and receptivity, so that when we meet, you may uncover or discover a strategy which does in fact have the potential of a nuclear bomb on your industry and loft you to a level of success you’ve always dreamed possible for you and your business. Yours Truly,

Jay L. Abraham PS: Don’t stop here. Every day, EVERY business magazine and newspaper gives you hundreds of examples and scenarios which you could experiment, try or test in your business. The strategy of modeling is one of the best ways to leap ahead of the competition. PPS: The question you must ask constantly yourself is: How can I apply this case study to my business today? Only by answering this question, and then applying what you’ve learned will give the results you desire and serve. The best part is that the risk of failure is dramatically reduced.

50 Case Studies On Developing Marketing Strategy

Case Study #1: Restaurant Chain Problem: Restaurant chain put a new restaurant in a small town but had little money to do the usual advertising blitz. Marketing Strategy: Social proof. (This strategy is much more eloquently stated in the book The Tipping Point.) Solution: Take the little money they would have available to advertise and give Gift Certificates for FREE meals to all the “movers” and “shakers”. Benefit: All the rest of the people (who were not given a FREE certificate) want to go there because it was where the “in crowd” went. The “in crowd” kept coming back because the food and the service were good. Tactics: Get list with addresses of the movers and shakers and mail letters to them. Tools: Letter with gift certificates. Result: Restaurant was immediately successful and became profitable in record time.

Case #2: Carpet Cleaning Company Problem: Carpet cleaning company has tons of clients but the clients only have their carpet cleaned on the average every three years. Marketing Strategy: Educate their prospects and Clients Solution: Train the sales people that if carpets were cleaned every six months with hot extraction steam that carpet would provide health benefit for them rather than a health detriment then put them on an automatic six month cycle once they said yes. Benefit: Better health for them and their family. Tactics: Train sales force Tools: Develop script Result: Over 30% of the clients went on automatic program, business doubled.

Case #3: Newsletter Publisher Problem: Newsletter publisher wanted to increase profits by selling very high markup non-prescription health products. Marketing Strategy: Educate. Solution: Have a prominent alternative health doctor write a subscription newsletter that the readers pay for which educates the reader on better alternative health strategies. The newsletter also recommended products the readers could buy. Benefit: Better Health. The readers would have information on how they could be more healthy and how they could easily buy any of the products recommended --- from the publisher. Tactics: Monthly Subscription newsletter. Tools: Newsletter with order forms. Result: Over half of this very successful newsletter publisher’s profit came from sales of health products.

Case #4: Lumber Mill Problem: Lumber mill had a scientific lumber “kilm drying” process that reduced energy consumption and increased the percent of higher quality lumber output. So their profits were at least 20% higher than other lumber mills. However, due to high shipping costs it was not profitable to ship lumber outside a 700-mile radius. Marketing Strategy: Tell the other lumber mills outside their area that they could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in increased profits with a minimal training fee. Solution: Sell very expensive training classes to lumber mills outside their market. Benefit: Increased profit the other lumber mills which could use the same “kilm drying” process to increase their profit of at least 10% which would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional profit each year---for a minimal one time training fee. Tactics: Send letters to all of the other lumber mills. Tools: Letters.


Result: The lumber mill made hundreds of thousands of dollars that they would have not normally had---from selling the training.

Case #5: Landscape Maintenance Problem: Landscape company in a 100,000 person small city had been doubling sales each year until they got to the $6 million range. In order to grow more they decided to sell their business operating system and custom storage system on trucks to the other landscape companies who were in other areas of the country. Marketing Strategy: Speak (and sell) at seminars and trade shows where he was endorsed as the expert. Solution: Owner became paid speaker at conventions and trade shows. Every time he spoke he sold lots of systems. Benefit: Risk reduction. The other landscape companies could get “proven” profit generating business operating and storage systems for a small fraction of their increased profits. Tactics: Presentation and sales literature explaining the potential profits. Follow-up letters to the seminar and trade show attendees. Tools: Presentation/sales scripts, literature, sales letters. Result: At last report he expected to make $11 million the following year and his profits were up much higher because the very high profit margins on sale of the new products.

Case #6: Pharmacy Problem: Pharmacy in a small town is losing money on filling prescriptions paid for by Medicare or insurance companies. Marketing Strategy: Educate Solution: Sell private labeled non-prescription alternate health products which have very high profit margins by mailing the residents of the town a free newsletter explaining better health strategies with alternative non-prescription products and offering them for sale.


Benefit: Better health for client/prospect. Tactic: Mail Newsletters with offers monthly. Tools: Newsletter with offers. Result: Gross income went up 10% but profits went up over 25%.

Case #7: Business Center Problem: Business center providing short-term offices with full administrative support services wanted to increase their occupancy and thus greatly increase those profits. Marketing Strategy: Risk reversal along with make it easy to move in. Solution: Instead of waiting for prospects to call them, they got lists of companies who were growing or shrinking and offered better risk reversal in that they did not require a leave or deposits; they would help the companies move in and out; and they would insure that every business service the company needed was provided. Their occupancy went from the normal 80% to a fantastic 90% and their profits doubled. Benefit: The benefit to prospective companies was no risk in that there were no leases or deposits and it was easy and convenient to move---which is not normally the case. Tactics: Letter to all prospective companies with risk free offer. Tools: Letter. Result: Profit more than doubled.

Case #8: Tax Preparation Company Problem: Tax Preparation Company wanted to make more profit without having to do more work during tax season. Marketing Strategy: Educate the tax prep clients that this service was available. Solution: Offer IRS income tax audit support insurance for $120 each year. Benefit: Fear Reduction and Risk Reversal. Eliminate fear of being in an IRS audit by themselves without their preparer present. Plus if they did want to have their preparer with them, it would not cost them a penny no matter how long the audit was.


Tactics: While they were waiting to see their tax prep preparer, the receptionist would tell them about the service. Tools: Sales script and an enrollment form for the receptionist who got a $10 bonus for each person who enrolled. Result: The bottom line profits went up over $20,000 per year for very little additional work.

Case #9: Realtor Problem: One of the top-selling realtors in the world was totally booked so far as the number of hours he wanted to work, but he wants to make more money. Marketing Strategy: When other realtors call or talk with him and ask him for FREE advise on how he is so successful, he sells them on paying to see exactly how he does it. Solution: He allows other less successful realtors to watch him work one day for a very large fee. Benefit: Education. The less successful realtors see exactly how the top realtor sells so they can do the same exact thing. Tactic: Live or telephone sales script for selling a day with him where they can watch, but not talk. Tools: Script Results: What used to be a nuisance (other realtors asking him to explain how he was so successful for FREE), is now a significant profit center.

Case #10: Psychiatrist Problem: Psychiatrist was not effective in generating new patients. Marketing Strategy: Acknowledging the process is difficult for the first time patient, the psychiatrist offer a complimentary first consultation as a way of demonstrating empathy, credibility, compatibility, insight, and the ability to successfully make a difference.


Solution: Psychiatrist would waive the first meeting fees completely as a test, and if the client signed up as a patient, fees were introduced immediately afterward. Tactics: 1) Referrals. 2) Educate the prospect. Tool: Ads & scripts. Result: Psychiatrist grew her practice to $1,200,000/year.

Case #11: Ceiling Fan Store Problem: Ceiling fan store had terrible sales because that California summer was much cooler than normal. Marketing Strategy: Educate. Solution: Put a full page add in the paper with headline that said that business stinks and offer to sell ceiling fans for less because of it. Benefit: Lower the client’s price at something they want and need for less money. Tactics: Offer them a better price because of the misfortune. Tool: Newspaper ad. Result: Record sales and good profits rather than poor sales and little or no profit.

Case #12: Car Wash Company Problem: Car wash company had a sales process that allows them sell 10% more hot waxes and other high profit services. But they could only attract clients from their local area. Marketing strategy: Educate with risk reversal. Solution: Sell the “up selling process” to the other car washes and train them how to do it on a 100% money back basis. Benefit: The other car washes make a lot more money with no risk. Tactics: Send letters that explain how much increased profit they can make with no risk.


Tools: Letters. Results: Another profit center which required little work, expense or risk.

Case #13: Software Company Problem: Software company was not growing. Sales were sporadic and unforecastable. Marketing Strategy: 1) Company established a nurturous telemarketing sales component that integrated marketing and sales efforts. Solutions: The company hired and trained a telemarketing person to engage prospects on an nurturous, informative, educational basis. They armed him with all sorts of educational materials which he could give to prospective clients. Then a prospect sales tracking database was installed to track the progress of prospects to clients through the sales process. This gave them numbers regarding who was at what point in the process. Benefit: Sales became predictable. The company was more in tune with the market. Tactics: Established new telemarketing effort. Developed educational based marketing literature. division. Tools: Scripted presentations, white papers, telemarketing sales scripts and sales letters. Results: The company is twice as profitable with basically the same overhead.

Case #14: Fed Ex Problem: Overnight delivery company wanted to increase sales even though they were charging up to 30 times more than the cost of postage. Marketing Strategy: Educate. Large “face to face” sales force went to local businesses all over the country and educated them on the benefits including the tracking and delivery verification. Solutions: They had an independent company verify that they (FedEx) were the most reliable overnight delivery company. Benefit: Peace of Mind. Assurance that the secretary who was usually the person who specified which delivery system had made the best decision possible. AND even more importantly she could not be blamed if it did not arrive on time. Tactics: Large “face to face” sales force


Tools: Sales scripts and extensive printed sales information. Result: Second largest delivery company in the world---second only to UPS with its large ground delivery service which was a massive company long before FedEx was created.

Case #15: Icey Hot Problem: Company had an analgesic balm product (Icey Hot) which had great repeat use and thus a great backend. The net lifetime value of a client was about $15.00 and the product which sold for $3.00 (and only cost about 25 cents to make, bottle and ship). But the company had no money for marketing. Marketing Strategy: Allow radio stations to promote ICEY HOT in their unsold advertising spots and keep all of the money. Solution: Allow radio stations to sell it when they had unsold advertising time and keep the entire $3.00 as their pay for the advertising. Benefit: Reclaim an otherwise lost asset. If the radio station did not use a radio advertising spot it was lost forever. So any money they got was better than no money. Tactics: Call the radio stations. Tools: Script Result: The sales went from $20,000 per year to over $13 million per year before the company was sold.

Case #16: Tree Surgeon Problem: Tree Surgeon was operating reactively to one-shot business whenever people called. Marketing Strategy: Educate. Solutions: He educated the clients that the trees needed to be trimmed semi-annually to keep the yard beautiful. So he came out with a service that did this for a small monthly fee---forever.


Benefit: Admiration of their yard and trees by their friends, neighbors and visitors. Tactics: Face to face or telephone calls. Tools: Sales script. Result: He had a rock solid business that he later sold for seven figures.

Case #17: Consultant Problem: Computer consultant had challenges growing her clientele. Marketing Strategy: Posture her as an expert and leader in the industry. Solutions: Increased her fees. Spoke at seminars, free information conferences, and wrote column for magazines. Benefit: People wanted to work with her because they were allowed to hear her opinions, success stories and advice before committing. She also gained substantial credibility in the process from being published. Tactics: Public speaking & free information nights. Being published. Developing Reports. Systematizing/scripting her initial consultations. Tools: Sales script. Result: Her business tripled over the next year.

Case #18: Software Company Problem: Software company wanted to grow their business. Marketing Strategy: 1) Preemptive education of the market. 2) Develop a systematized, sequential, integrated sales and marketing process. 3) Strategy of Preeminence. Solutions: Software company postured themselves as THE retail software solution by offering a best practices guidebook to selecting a retail systems solution. Benefit: The company was able to posture themselves as a leader in the industry and set the standard for retail software.


Tactics: Established themselves as a leader, education. Tools: Sales script and systemization. Result: Sold their business for multiples of the original investment.

Case #19: Accounting Firm Problem: Accounting and Tax Company wanted to grow their business. Marketing Strategy: Educate the market regarding taxes. Solutions: Owner wrote informative and valuable tax column and reports. For information starved trade journals. Benefit: Firm was able to establish their innovative tax strategies and establish themselves as a leading tax and accounting firm. Tactics: Established themselves as a leader, education. Tools: Writing columns, public relations. Result: Firm became one of the top accounting ten firms in the country in a matter of five years.

Case #20: Networking Company Problem: Networking Company wanted to grow but couldn’t get larger firms to take them as a serious vendor. Marketing Strategy: Joint ventures with other technology companies and leverage technology, marketing, & technical resources. Solutions: Networking company aligned themselves with innovative networking systems solutions for firewalls, virus protection and Internet security software monitoring. Benefit: The company was able to use the resources of the joint venture companies and train their people in the process. The company also leverage their relationships by using the names of the companies as their “calling card”. Tactics: Joint ventures. Collaborative marketing.


Tools: Scripted presentations, white papers sales scripts and sales letters. Result: The company quickly became a regional player and then national, buying other localized companies along the way.

Case #21: Landscape Maintenance Problem: Landscape maintenance company had leveled off in their growth. Marketing Strategy: 1) Became an expert in the industry. Spoke at industry events. 2) Licensed their trailer design, licensed their strategies and developing a consulting division to their competition. Solutions: The company started licensing their successful sales and operational concepts including a novel trailer design. Benefit: Grew the business profitability without having to add substantial staff and offices. Tactics: Established new division. Spoke at industry events as a expert and authority in the industry. Tools: Scripted presentations, white papers sales scripts and sales letters. Results: The company is twice as profitable with basically the same overhead.

Case #22: Pizza Delivery Problem: A local pizza parlor wanted to become more profitable and expand. Marketing Strategy: Locate a new Domino’s Pizza and advertise within the radius that the pizza could be delivered to within 30 minutes. Solution: They realized that people wanted pizza delivered hot quickly. (That only required an oven and a telephone in a tiny inexpensive location with delivery people who worked for tips. In this type of operation, there was no expensive large “prime location” building with lots of staff to wait on clients who came in. So once this massive overhead expense was eliminated, the pizza was almost all profit). Benefit: People were able to order pizza from a hole-in-the-wall location without paying a fortune for it --- and they got it delivered to their door, hot, tasty and in one half hour.


Tactics: Ads offering pizza hot, tasty and delivered to your door within 1/2 hour or it’s free. Tools: Newspaper ads, yellow page ads. Result: World’s largest pizza delivery chain. Case #23: Business Center Problem: Business Center providing short-term offices with full administrative support services had discovered a marketing system which allowed them to increase their occupancy from the normal 65% to 80% occupancy. (This more than doubled their profits). They wanted to expand. Marketing Strategy: Buy other business centers at full price. Solution: Many of the other business center owners gladly sold because it is normally very hard to sell at full price. Tactics: Send letter to all of the other business centers offering to buy at full price. Tool: Letter. Result: Went from a $7 million to over $18 million in revenue in one year. Profits were also greatly increased.

Case #24: Investment Management Firm Problem: Investment management firm was increasingly unable to differentiate itself in the market. Marketing Strategy: Develop a niche, educate that specific marketplace and develop joint venture relationships to co-market. Solution: Seeing a trend started as a result of corporate downsizing, the investment management firm decided to focus its marketing activity on the small entrepreneur working at home (SOHO). The company heavily educated its marketplace by conducting seminars, writing reports, and developing a very useful web site. Company also engaged other firms such as insurance and healthcare to co-market to this niche which was developing. Tactics: Educate the marketplace. Free seminars, sales scripts and sales letters.


Tool: Ads, white papers, web sites, letters and scripts. Result: The company doubled its commissions in two years.

Case #25: Realtor Problem: Very successful realtor sold her agency for a lot of money, but there was a “non complete” clause for five years. She wanted to make money but only knew real estate. Marketing Strategy: Educate. Solution: Train other realtors to be successful and make money doing that training. Benefit: Education. The other realtors to get training on exactly how they can be successful by her. Tactics: Send letters to all of the less successful realtors offering training. Tools: Letters. Result: She made a second fortune in training.