Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014

In a Bind: Peak Sealing Technologies' Product Line Extension Dilemma

by Robert J. Dolan and Heather Beckham

Abstract

Peak Sealing Technologies (PST), a manufacturer of premium carton sealing tapes, stresses technological innovation as the company's core value. But when a new regional competitor introduces a less expensive and inferior product, PST is faced with a decision that could conflict with their values. Product manager Emma Taylor must decide if the company should augment its existing high-quality product line with a cheaper, less effective product to compete with their competitor. However, this decision could cannibalize PST's premium line. Emma is faced with a key issue in product line management—determining the variety of products in the line that serve the same function. Students are introduced to the problems of "trading down" the product line and must consider whether the company's corporate values are a strength or liability. This case can be used effectively in a first-year MBA course on marketing management to illustrate concepts associated with the risk and strategy of introducing a product line extension. It also allows for more complex analysis that would be appropriate in an Executive MBA program or advanced MBA elective courses in Product Management, Business to Business Marketing, Sales Management or New Product Development.

Citation:

Dolan, Robert J., and Heather Beckham. "In a Bind: Peak Sealing Technologies' Product Line Extension Dilemma." Harvard Business School Brief Case 914-533, January 2014.