Case Study

Author: Dr Rowan Kennedy Marketing Dept. Sultan Qaboos University

Case Study for Principles of Marketing

Let them eat cake!

After spending 15 years as a Human

Resources Manager at a large Omani

government organisation, Safa decided she

would like to be her own boss and do

something more creative.

Inspired by the very positive feedback about her delicious cakes from her work

colleagues and her large family, Safa decided to supplement her retirement income by

setting up a small commercial kitchen from her family home in Muscat. She set up her

business in the summer of 2019.

Within her first year of business Safa managed a turnover of 10,000 OMR. Around one-

third of her salary as an HR Manager! The key to her success has been her hard work

and her passion for using only the best ingredients such as Fairtrade cocoa and sugar,

free-range eggs, locally sourced flour and cinnamon and organically grown citrus fruits:

all reflecting her interest in healthy living and protecting the environment.

“Being sensitive to the well-being of all creatures and my fellow-Omanis is very

important to me,” comments Safa, “I am very aware of what Omani women are looking

for when they buy baked goods and that is proving to be critically important to my

success. For example, if I am making a cake to celebrate a family event I make sure I

get to know the client and understand what’s important to her family so that I can put

all of creativity and my heart into what I am baking for them.”

Safa’s product range varies from bite-sized mini

cupcakes and syrup-drenched luqaimat (which are

currently under pressure from the many and growing

home baking businesses) through to specialty

celebration cakes: for example, wedding cakes taking

many hours to decorate with sugar roses and delicate

icing designs which sell for up to 300 OMR.

Safa’s Sweet


Author: Dr Rowan Kennedy Marketing Dept. Sultan Qaboos University

Safa’s Sweet Sensations (SSS) mission statement is “To connect communities

together by the inspiration and happiness of real food”. SSS uses a variety of distribution

channels to reach consumers. Safa has set up an

attractive website, and has a regular stand at the Oman

Bride Show every winter at the Oman Convention &

Exhibition Centre. Corporate events such as the Mother,

Baby & Child Show and Muscat International Jewellery

Exhibition are also on Safa’s roster. She has even

supplied baked goods to other businesses, on the

recommendations of her friends, for events and milestone celebrations. Despite this

growing B2B side of her business, Safa’s most in-demand products include the supply of

smaller orders to friends and their friends. This revenue source has often helped her

with cash-flow problems when she has needed to buy increasingly expensive equipment

such as a new double oven to increase her production capacity and a larger dishwasher.

Safa’s production and her sales have also been

given a major boost recently by an advertorial (a

paid for feature in an editorial section of a magazine

which gives a product endorsement) in the

glamourous Bride & Groom (Oman) magazine.

Included in the magical black and white-themed

double spread of the February 2020 issue of the magazine was a photo of one of Safa’s

newly-introduced line of wedding cupcakes (pictured) which has proved to be in-

demand amongst brides-to-be readers. The Bride & Groom (Oman) editor commented,

“Safa’s products are, quite simply, an affordable luxury any wedding planner should

have on their list as a must!” Let them eat cake indeed.

Now that she has established a healthy (B2C and B2B) baking business that fulfills her needs

for creativity and for extending her already extensive business skills, Safa is thinking about

which direction to take her business in. She is considering her plans for growing SSS over the

next 12 months. She knows there are several interesting opportunities in the market, but she

needs a clear action plan. Looking at the data she has been informally gathering over the past

year she is wondering how to use it, first to identify profitable market segments and second to

establish her small bakery as a “first choice” provider.

Author: Dr Rowan Kennedy Marketing Dept. Sultan Qaboos University

Case Study Let them eat


% of overall assessment


Word count (approx.)

2000 Words Group


Learning outcomes addressed

A1, A2, & CEPS 8

Due date

Week 6 Class 2

Your Task

The CEO of SSS has asked you to assist with her development plans for 2021 as she decides how

to guide her business development. As an experienced consultant you immediately start to

organise your thoughts around her business portfolio and which parts of her business need the

most attention.

The fact that there is little data and other useful information available is problematic, as is the

judgement required in this case. This is a decision-making under uncertainty scenario which

requires a trade-off between reliability and relevance. Approximations (‘best guesses’) still

allow useful inferences to be made and will result in worthwhile analysis and recommendations.

Start with explaining the mission statement of Safa’s Sweet Sensations

1. Is Safa’s Sweet Sensations mission statement market-oriented? Explain.

2. How is SSS strategy driven by its mission? Explain.

Then, construct a simple BCG matrix for Safa’s Sweet Sensations.

Boston Consulting Group Matrix

1. Begin by classifying SSS’ different

product offerings into a BCG growth-

share matrix.

2. Briefly explain the meaning of each cell

(this is where you practice your

research skills).

3. Explain your reasons for placing SSS’

products into the various cells.

4. Identify and justify one of the product lines for the following step.

Author: Dr Rowan Kennedy Marketing Dept. Sultan Qaboos University

The BCG matrix gives a simple (sometimes simplistic) overview of the current relativities in

Safa’s portfolio. Remember, there are four strategic management decisions that can be made by

a company after classification viz. harvest (from cash cows), divest (from dogs and some

question marks), maintain and invest (in cash cows and some stars).

This portfolio analysis may guide your thinking about the next step which, in this case, will

include application of Ansoff’s matrix:

Ansoff’s Product/Market Matrix

Use Ansoff’s matrix to identify best growth

opportunities for one of the products in Safa’s

portfolio. You may decide that there is a question

mark that needs to be developed (or a cash cow, or a

star). If so, then use Ansoff’s matrix to help your

decision making as to what to do with that product


You may even decide that the best opportunity lies in diversification – in which case you may

follow that path by exploring what that would look like, and how you would develop it.

1. Briefly explain the use of each of the four cells (another opportunity to conduct some

secondary research).

2. Which of the four cells do you think represents the best opportunity to grow SSS?

3. Fully explore and explain how you recommend the implementation of this growth

strategy for Safa’s product line.

If you’re still a bit unsure about how the BCG matrix works, this is a very good little 15min tutorial. It’s a bit more detailed than you need – but, still, you’ll find it a good explanation of the matrix.

Watch this little 6min clip:

Author: Dr Rowan Kennedy Marketing Dept. Sultan Qaboos University