Case Number: 5-408-755, Year Published: 2009
HBS Number: KEL449
Innovation, Marketing Channels, Distribution, International, Routes-to-Market, Growth
How does a mature business develop new growth markets, assuming it already has new products? That was the challenge facing The Coca-Cola Company and its global system of bottlers in the 2000s when demand for its core line of carbonated soft drinks flattened. The Australian bottler, Amatil, pinned its hopes on energy drinks, a fast-growth, youth-oriented category that was capturing headlines and share away from traditional products. To wrest control from the upstart brands that originated them, Amatil was targeting the retail context where young people congregated and formed their preferences—in pubs, nightclubs, healthclubs, and sporting events. This international case explores the challenges encountered when a mature company with considerable distribution assets, well-honed systems, and entrenched operating procedures attempts to sell into an underserved retail channel with requirements quite unlike those of the company’s mainstream buyers. How does it attract market interest? How does it develop new routes-to-market without undercutting the cost efficiencies and delivery value that have earned it dominant position elsewhere? How does it win over what could be its core customers of the future without alienating today’s faithful? These are just some of the questions that Amatil management was determined to solve.
Understand issues related to retail channel strategy development in fast-changing international consumer markets, as well as the challenges of adapting legacy routes-to-market systems to changing consumer demands.
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