Case Detail

Case Summary

Ontela PicDeck (A): Customer Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

Case Number: 5-309-505(A), Year Published: 2009

HBS Number: KEL450

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Key Concepts

Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning, Wireless, Technology


Ontela, a technology start-up company, has introduced an innovative service called PicDeck that improves the mobile imaging experience for wireless subscribers. Ontela sells PicDeck to wireless carriers, who in turn private-label the service to their subscribers. Ontela must decide which customer segments it should target for the service and how to create a positioning strategy and a marketing communication plan to promote it. It must also consider the value proposition of the PicDeck service for wireless carriers (its direct customers), who need to be convinced that the service will lead to higher monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) and/or increased subscriber loyalty. Part A of the case provides qualitative information on customer personae that represent different customer segments. Students are asked to develop a targeting and positioning strategy based on this qualitative information. Part B provides quantitative data on customer preferences that can be used to identify response-based customer segments, as well as demographic and media habits information that can be used to profile the segments. Students are asked to revise their recommendations based on the additional quantitative data.

Spanish translation available.

Learning Objectives

The case has three learning goals:

  • To reinforce the principles of data-driven customer segmentation
  • To discuss and emphasize the appropriate criteria for selecting segments
  • To provide a deeper understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of different approaches to identifying and evaluating segments

The case gives students a chance to roll up their sleeves and deal with the data produced by segmentation studies. It also illustrates how data-driven segmentation can produce results that may run counter to approaches that rely on “gut feel” or qualitative information alone.

Number of Pages: 7

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Marketing

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Wireless Technology

Organization Name: Ontela Inc.

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Small

Decision Maker Position: Marketing Director

Decision Maker Gender: Male

Year of Case: 2008