Uncharted Waters at Ventoso Ship Supply: A Sensory Marketing Dilemma (A)

7 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Jenny Craddock

Jenny Craddock

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Luca Cian

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Aradhna Krishna

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Dwight F. Benton

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Sara Cervai

University of Trieste

Abstract

This is a three-part, disguised case series. In June 2009, Diana Zanzi was hired by Ventoso Ship Supply, an Italian sailboat manufacturer, to help them understand their boats' puzzling selling patterns. Zanzi was informed that sales rates for two higher-end boat models were especially odd. Despite one's superior technical specifications, speed, amenities, and overall value-for-money, their higher end models were hard to sell. However, a lower-quality boat was sold at an astonishing rate. Existing survey work conducted by the company only served to confirm the rational assumption that customers generally preferred more technically advanced sailboats; as such, the survey would not solve the mystery. Tasked with solving this mystery, Zanzi was given the contact information for Ventoso's roster of potential customers and asked to conduct her own interviews to discover what could possibly explain customers' preferences when acquiring sailboats. Zanzi was told that consumers may not be consciously aware of how they choose sailboats, and so she needed to figure out a good method to understand these unconscious preferences. In part A of the series, the reader is faced with the task of designing a test that might reveal buyers' sailing-related thoughts. For instance, what should Zanzi ask consumers to understand their implicit and unconscious perceptions of the ideal sailboat? More importantly, the reader is invited to consider when and why such a tool is needed. In other words, what marketing technique should we use when consumers don't seem to be fully aware of their decision process?

Excerpt

UVA-M-0959

Rev. Jul. 9, 2018

Uncharted Waters at Ventoso Ship Supply:

A Sensory Marketing Dilemma (A)

When Diana Zanzi was hired by Ventoso Ship Supply (Ventoso), an Italian sailboat manufacturer, in June 2009 to help it make sense of its boats' mysterious selling patterns, she faced a unique dilemma. Riccardo Rossi, Ventoso's long-standing CEO, presented Zanzi with data on Ventoso's sailboats' recent sales performance. However, this data raised more questions than answers for Zanzi. In particular, there were two higher-end cruising boats, the Bella 55 and the Volo 155, that defied sales expectations.

Despite the Volo 155's superior technical specifications, speed capabilities, modern amenities, and overall better value-for-money, the boat was hard to sell, while the Bella 55 sold at an astonishing rate. Both boats were sold from the same Ventoso sales centers, and neither model benefitted from any specific targeted marketing campaign for it. (See Exhibit1 for the technical specifications and sales records of the two boats; see Exhibits2a and 2b for data on the company's sales patterns in relation to boat quality and price.)

. . .

Keywords: marketing, sensory marketing, consumer behavior, consumer psychology, unconscious attitudes, in-depth interview, qualitative methods, implicit associations

Suggested Citation

Craddock, Jenny and Cian, Luca and Krishna, Aradhna and Benton, Dwight F. and Cervai, Sara, Uncharted Waters at Ventoso Ship Supply: A Sensory Marketing Dilemma (A). Darden Case No. UVA-M-0959. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320842

Jenny Craddock

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Luca Cian (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Aradhna Krishna

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Dwight F. Benton

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Sara Cervai

University of Trieste

Piazzale Europa, 1
Trieste, Trieste 34100
Italy

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