Case Detail

Case Summary

Colfax Corporation: Designing a Middle East Oil and Gas Distribution System

Case Number: 5-408-750, Year Published: 2008

HBS Number: KEL405

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Key Concepts

International, Marketing Channels, Distribution, Middle East, Global, Routes-to-Market, Growth


Colfax Corporation was a young, privately held collection of pump-manufacturing companies from the United States and Europe. Intending to go public, it was eager to find a story for investors of how it could grow at rates faster than its subsidiaries had historically grown in their home regions and core-customer industrial markets. This case describes a singular new-growth opportunity: selling Colfax solutions into state-owned petroleum enterprises in the Middle East at a time when these producers were straining to add capacity. Designing the optimal marketing system required Colfax to weigh a complex of issues, including global resource allocation and deployment, a process for customer-relationship building, and estimates for revenue streams versus investment outlays. The design process was, in short, far more than “sticking sales rep pins in the map.” Case readers are asked to think along with the Colfax global management team in deciding, “How much can we afford to risk our current income model in order to build new capacity in a new region in a new way?”

Learning Objectives

Understanding issues related to global B2B marketing channel strategy development, as well as complexities of entering unfamiliar new international markets such as Middle East oil and gas.

Number of Pages: 15

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Marketing, Strategy

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Global

Industry: Industrial Product Manufacturing, Oil and Gas

Organization Name: Colfax Corporation

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Medium

Decision Maker Position: SVP, Global Marketing and Strategy

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2008