Jeanne Lewis at Steples

Harvard Concern School 9-400-065 Rev. July 24, 2000 Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc. (A) (Abridged) op YO INC Six months from now, on February 1, 1998, Jeanne Lewis (HBS '92) would befit the important sin superintendent of marketing at Staples, Inc. (Staples), a nationwide employment preparation superstore. After 10 months agoing laterality by laterality delay Todd Krasnow, the popular magistrate sin superintendent of marketing, Lewis was graceful affable delay the function. Her primal rate led her to prodigy if the function's permitted fashion was available to evolving competitive realities. As KrasnoWs legatee appearing, Lewis anted to be complicated in shaping the function's priorities for the uphereafter year. The strategic planning process traditionally began environing this duration in August, and Lewis prodigyed if the duration to set-out portico action had arrived. Thus far, 1997 had been a troublesome year for the assembly: the Federal Trade Commission had challenged Staples' contemplated merger delay Employment Depot, and the two companies had of-late rash 10 months of merger efforts. At that duration, Chairman and CEO Tom Stemberg reaffirmed his commitment that Staples would advance from a $5 billion assembly to a $10 billion assembly by the mold of the century. Staples not solely had to advance bigger, it so had to advance emend, as analysts had befit practiced to the assembly's 14 continuous quarters of earnings-per-share advanceth in intemperance of 30%. The disquisition of the uphereafter year was twofold: sound advanceth and late conducive deed. c Lewis believed that Stembergs anarchy to appear for the "silver lining" in the failed merger and to use to core the lessons of the merger could obey as a overcome to action for the marketing function. Marketing, which obeyd as twain an designer and driver of the stigma, would resemble a ticklish role in Staples' continued prosperity. Lewis knew that Staples could outlast solely if it was expert to get rid of outmoded ideas and rearrange them delay new ones”a philosophy shared by Krasnow. But Lewis so knew that it could be trigntening to afford up the ideas that nad made the assembly prosperityful. Furthermore, the marketing staff was belowstandably careful environing KrasnoWs planned evanition, and abundant were already regret his privation. Lewis explained: No Timeliness the merger distractions were going on, things that perhaps should bear been dealt delay, weren't. Now, I nonproductioned to reach it intelligible that a new idiosyncratic was hereafter on oard in this area, and fgure out how we could get end to concern. We needed to refocus on erection our concern, consequently it was as competitive as incessantly, and we had obsolete a alien of beats in a few marketing areas durationliness diligent delay the merger. We were at a molding summit in the marketing function, as opposed to entity desire late it. Consequently of the consultation of apparent events as courteous as our own inner perplexity, if we didn't veer, then I was solicitous it would set-out to illusion at-last in sales. Discovery Associate Jennifer M. Suesse expert this circumstance below the supervision of Professor Linda A. Hill as the premise for assort argument rather than to interpret either conducive or inconducive handling of an professional condition. It is an convenient account of an prior circumstance, "Jeanne Lewis at Staples, Inc. (A)," HBS No. 499-041, expert by Discovery Associate Kristin C. Doughty below the supervision of Professor Linda A. Hill. Some names bear been disguised. 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[email protected] harvard. edu or 617. 783. 7860. 400-065 Lewis knew the marketing function's role in ensuring prosperity was twofold: maintaining the showy redress among consultation short-term financial objectives ith delayhold promotional manoeuvre and erection customer fidelity and contumacy witn an ettective marketing strategy; and endueigating ways to leverage Staples' stigma and increase its immunity. She so had particular questions environing some of the function's structures, classifications, and staffing. She was piercing to get set-outed, but certain the risks of doing too ample, too fast: My fashion is that I nonproduction things to betide at-once. When I see things”either a new substance someone has nincessantly had to fgure out precedently, or where theyVe Just had a unanalogous soundness of timing”I Jump in and say, "here's the way to do it," and that reachs hange betide at-once. But that could period my ability to is-sue opposite and delay the construction. I could end up spending too ample duration managing down and not sufficient duration making broader, late wide application by managing opposite the construction as courteous. Staples' Background (1985-1991)1 In 1985, Tom Stemberg (HBS '73), unconcealed for his marketing sa'. n. y and innovations in the demure supermarket assiduity (as sin superintendent of sales at Star Market, and superintendent of First National Supermarket), pioneered the concept of the employment preparation superstore. A "Toys 'R' Us" of employment preparation, "Staples, the Employment Superstore" would produce uprightness, quiet, apprised aid as courteous as engaging prices... overing incessantlyything from coffee to computer software" for the narrow-concern customer. 2 Primal customer discovery indicated that most narrow concernes did not trail tlegatee sum expenditures for employment products closely, nor were they certified that they were paying on mediocre 40% late for them than big corporations. To unite the savings and increased quiet of its new way of procuring employment preparation, Staples' skillful-treatment was expert to endue heavily in marketing. Staples' communication would emphasize discounts and quiet, leaving customers unobstructed from the hassles" of practice delay desire lines, appoint arranges, and multiple suppliers. For the pivotal role of master of marketing, Stemberg paid Todd Krasnow, a 28-year- old HBS furrow who had is-sueed in marketing at Star Market delay Stembergs new VP of operations. In the forthcoming days, Stembergs team of five (himself, Krasnow, CFO, VP of operations, VP of merchandising) each had tlegatee own first spheres of once, but they all is-sueed very closely concertedly, doing whatincessantly it took to get the Job executed. They began the mornings delay a 7:00 0'clock consultation, reconvened for a orking lunch, and generally is-sueed through the waning until 10:00 0'clock.