Marvel Enterprises Case Study Analysis Issue Statement As Marvel Enterprises continues operations, they face a growth challenge between overcoming their over reliance on their well-known character such as Spider-Man by promoting second tier characters or expanding their own media production instead of their traditional licensing agreements. Analyzing Marvel will provide insight as to whether owning the media channels or developing less popular characters will be a profitable risk for the company. Situational Analysis Company: Marvel was founded in 1939 and is one of the largest developers of fictional characters in the entertainment business; they have the oldest and most recognizable collection, ranging from Spider Man to The Hulk. After emerging from bankruptcy six years ago, Marvel has a reported $300 million in sales and a market value of $2 billion in 2003, creating enormous amount of market power for the company. Marvels success is derived from operating in three different media industries, creating characters that resonate with the consumers and little capital investment. Marvel’s characters such as Spider-Man became popular due to the vulnerable nature and story lines that appealed to all generations. Though theses characters create strong consumer loyalty for the company, lesser-known characters were not as successful. For example, the Punisher had little success compared to Spider-Man, since the story line did not appeal to the consumers. Therefore, if Marvel continues to capitalize on theses well-known characters this potentially poses a problem if consumer preference changes.
Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2011 (Revised January 2011)
Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (Abridged)
by Anita Elberse
The management team of Marvel Enterprises, known for its universe of superhero characters that includes Spider-Man, the Hulk, and X-Men, must reevaluate its marketing strategy. In June 2004, only six years after the company emerged from bankruptcy, Marvel has amassed a market value of more than $2 billion. Originally known as a comic book publisher, the company now also has highly profitable toy, motion picture, and consumer products licensing operations. However, doubts about Marvel's business model and its growth potential continue to exist. Had Marvel's winning streak been just a fluke? Was Marvel's success dependent on a limited set of blockbuster characters, most notably Spider-Man, and should Marvel continue to capitalize on those characters? Or was it time to seek growth in a larger set of lesser known characters? In exploring growth opportunities, was it wise for Marvel to venture outside its current business model and move into more capital-intensive activities? What marketing strategy would allow Marvel to sustain its success in the coming years?
Keywords: Business Model; Intellectual Property; Rights; Growth and Development Strategy; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;