Case Analysis Report
Harlequin Romances - Poland (A)
The case study of Harlequin Romances shows us the strategies that Harlequin has adopted in its international operations. The case explains the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Eastern Europe, primarily focusing on Poland, and the marketing mix elements necessary for success. With romance fiction novels as its main product and women as the target market, Harlequin Enterprises was a pioneer in mass market paperback novel series and using consumer goods marketing technique as well as branding in book industry. It focused on series and brand rather than bestsellers and authors. Starting as a small Canadian printing house, ...view middle of the document...
Harlequin has been able to create high barriers to entry in the series market through the development of brand loyalty and excellence in product quality and supply chain management, hence eliminating the competition. It held 90 percent of the Polish romance series market.
Now to maintain this level of market share and to further develop it, management has to make several decisions relating to its marketing mixes. As Harlequin had heavily advertised the romance genre, it was considered to be an easy market in Poland. So there was a fear of new competition as well. Moreover, to increase its sales revenue and adjust to the evolving distribution channel harlequin has to make some important decisions on its marketing elements.
Price Mix Decision
The pricing policy of Harlequin is one of its competitive advantages. But however holding the price of its products constant would be difficult as the inflation rate of Poland is too high and it has to consider its production costs as well. Increasing the selling price would help to increase the sales revenue of Harlequin. But the income of average Polish woman is low it might have negative impact on demand.
Product Mix Decision
Harlequin had four series and publishing 14 titles each month in 1991. The novels we re mistake free and by focusing on the brand, it was able to create high brand awareness among the consumers. Introducing more product lines by adding more series and titles would increase the scope of market offerings. With the introduction of new product line women would have different series to choose from and then move to some specific series rather than reading multiple series. This would enable Harlequin to better understand their consumers and focus on creating high value and further develop its brand loyalty. But however it would increase the translation and other relevant costs, which might decrease the margin available on the series.
It can also add bestsellers along with the series which has proven to be a success but introducing more bestsellers by harlequin itself would have negative effect on its perception as a romance series which might create confusion among the current readers.
Place (Distribution) Mix Decision
Arlekin had a strong retail distribution channels. It had been using a multichannel distribution system. It had both state owned distributors, and private distributors. It had also started its distribution service through post offices. Harlequin had a policy in distribution that the distributors could return the unsold books and they did not demand for cash up front. These policies had played an important role to strengthen its distribution channel. However, the distributors did not fully understand the rationale for Harlequin’s returns policy, therefore were likely to shift quickly to distributing other products if they become more profitable than books. Moreover, a need for a distribution decision was triggered by the fact that distribution cost...