Company and Market Research - Big Sweety and the Chocolate Manufacturing Industry

From Library Instruction Case Wiki
Revision as of 16:14, 13 April 2013 by Nas27 (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Learning Outcomes:

As a result of this instruction, students should be able to:

  • Find market information, specifically on chocolate manufacturing
  • Understand the following concepts: Market Share, Market Size, Secondary and Primary Market Research
  • Find industry and market research reports in IBISworld, Academic
  • Find information about two major players in an industry on company websites
  • Find information about two major players in an industry on LexisNexis.


  • A market research database (Market Academic)
  • An industry database (IBISworld)
  • A company database (LexisNexis Company Dossier)
  • Company websites online

Two optional lectures: Introduction to Industry Analysis: [1] Introduction to Market Research: [2]


The chocolate manufacturing industry is extremely competitive. Your company, Big Sweety, is already successful at manufacturing a variety of hard and chewable candies, and is now considering entering the chocolate manufacturing business. As Big Sweety’s newly promoted Assistant Manager for Strategic Directions, you are now responsible for analyzing the current state of chocolate manufacturing and chocolate candy and making a recommendation on this opportunity. In order to accomplish this, you must:

  • Be aware of the state of the industry.
  • Understand who your major competitors are and what they are doing.

Preliminary Discussion:

This is an activity that can stretch across three 50-minute class periods. In the first class period students should work in groups to answer the following questions for 5 minutes after reviewing the case:

  • Based on my problem and my own knowledge, what do I know about the case?
  • What do I want or need to know in order to make the recommendation to Big Sweety?
  • Who would I talk to in order to find the things that I know? What keywords would I type into Google? Where else would I look?

In order to for students to understand how to give a concrete recommendation about the state of the industry, several terms must be explained by the librarians. These include Market Segmentation, Market Share, Primary Market Research, Secondary Market Research. To see some ways to introduce these concepts, please review our prezi on Market Research ([3]) and on Industry Analysis ([4]).

First Resource (Class 1):

After a short database demonstration of both resources, the librarian should have students review market research reports on the chocolate/chocolate candy industry in Academic and in IBISWorld to find the following:

Market segmentation – what are the primary segments of the chocolate/chocolate candy market?

  • List the segments, the dollar amount, and the % share.
  • Have sales gone up or down since 2007?
  • What is the expected revenue for at least 3 years?

Market share – who are the major companies in chocolate/chocolate candy manufacturing?

  • List the leading companies ranked order by market share.

Consumer decisions

  • Identify 4 factors (either positive or negative) that influence shoppers.

Second Resource (Class 2):

Review LexisNexis Company Dossier & company websites for information about The Hershey Company and Mars Inc. A database demonstration will be needed for students to understand where to find the relevant information in LexisNexis. The librarian should also make sure that the students notice the relative difference of information between Mars, Inc and The Hershey Company. The librarian should ask the students to supply some reasons they think there might be more information on one or the other. Usually at least one student will understand the difference between a public and a private company and will explain it to the rest of the class.

Also the librarian should review the company websites, explaining concepts like an "Investor Relations" area on a company website and also the pros and cons of using press releases. The librarian should have the students notice that Mars, Inc also has a significant stake in the pet food industry. The librarian should wonder aloud how that might change the way they will analyses the company information for Big Sweety. In addition have the students search these resources and find this information:

  • Name their brands.
  • What were sales (give the dollar amount) over the last 3 years?

Recommendation (Class 3):

Based on the reports and information you reviewed, the librarian should ask the students to make a recommendation to either pursue or abandon an investment in chocolate/chocolate candy manufacturing and tell why they are making this recommendation. They should back their recommendation with research they found.

Wrap Up:

This case is also intended for freshmen students in either Management or Hospitality or Tourism departments. As previously mentioned, this case is not really meant to be covered in one hour-long session. But certainly aspects can be condensed to fit within in that period. For example, students can work on purely the company or the market part of the case.

Submitted By:

Ilana Barnes Business Information Specialist Purdue University

With learning objects created by: Hal Kirkwood, Associate Head, Parrish Library and Mary Dugan, Resource Development Librarian

Original Submitted: March 25, 2013