Interviewing is an essential part of the job search process for most professionals in the marketing industry. Case interviews are a common interview strategy that recruiters use to assess a candidate's ability to apply their skills in real-world business scenarios. Learning about what case interviews are and how to prepare for them can help you feel confident in your next marketing job interview. In this article, we describe what a marketing case interview is, outline some considerations for how to answer case interview questions and discuss some common case questions with example answers.
What is a marketing case interview?
A marketing case interview is a specialized type of job interview in which the candidate answers questions about what they would do in specific business scenarios. The interviewer may present a real-life marketing situation and ask the candidate how they would handle it and why. This style of interview question requires the candidate to show their skills by applying them to a realistic case. By asking these questions, an interviewer can gauge the candidate's ability to solve problems, think strategically and communicate their plan and reasoning to an audience.
The three types of case-based interview questions are:
- Open business questions: These questions may be simple, but the interviewer likely expects you to elaborate on your answer. For example, they might ask a broad question such as, "Where should we expand our business next?"
- Specific business questions: An interviewer may ask a detailed question related to a specific problem in their business to understand your perspective and assess your ability to resolve it.
- Presentation questions: A presentation question is one where the interviewer asks you to present your solution to a business-specific problem to the interview panel or another group of professionals.
How to answer marketing case interview questions
Follow these steps to answer marketing case interview questions effectively:
1. Divide the problem into parts
The first step to answering case interview questions is to divide a complex problem into smaller, more manageable parts. You might break the question down into steps or several smaller issues that you can address individually. The problem or situation presented in the case question may be complicated and include many challenges that you must address. By looking at each of these smaller issues, you can simplify the prompt, focus on one challenge at a time and devise a step-by-step plan to address the issue.
2. Explain each part
When you divide the prompt into smaller issues, make sure you explain each part to your interviewer. Each of these parts likely represents a separate business problem within the original prompt. Explaining how you identified each of these issues and why you focused on them can help your interviewer understand your reasoning and the steps you plan to take to solve the prompt.
3. Support your answer with numbers
If possible, use numbers to support your response to the question. You can use your marketing experience to estimate the costs or percentages associated with the question. Using numbers to support your answer shows you understand how to use data and can bring data analysis skills to the position.
Related: How To Sell Yourself in an Interview
4. Focus on communication
In many cases, having the right answer to the case interview question is less important than your ability to create a plan and communicate it effectively. Your ability to explain the problem, the plan to solve the case and the reasoning behind each step of your process shows your communication and leadership skills. Remember, interviewers may not share your marketing experience, so you may have to adjust your communication style to meet their needs. For example, you might define key terms or avoid overly technical explanations in your response.
Examples of marketing case interview questions and answers
Here are five common case interview questions with example answers to help you prepare your responses:
1. Our company plans to launch a new product in three months. What steps would you take to launch it?
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to apply different marketing tactics to a product launch. They may also look for insight into your creative abilities and strategic planning skills. To answer this question effectively, you may need to ask some follow-up questions about the type of product the company plans to launch and their target market for the product. Once you have gathered all the necessary information, explain how you would market a new product with particular attention to your knowledge of specific marketing strategies.
Example: "To launch this new makeup palette, I would focus on designing an extensive social media campaign. Based on our company's analytics, as much as 75% of our sales come from social media advertising, which correlates with the habits of our target market of women between the ages of 23 and 35. Since there are similar products on the market, I would emphasize what makes our makeup palette unique, like our brand's commitment to using sustainable materials for our palette cases."
Related: 10 Case Interview Question Examples
2. One of our company's products hasn't been successful. If we tasked you with creating a new branding campaign for this product, what would your process be?
An interviewer might ask this question to evaluate your rebranding experience and to understand your perspective on challenging situations. When answering this question, you might focus on turning a difficult situation into a positive opportunity for growth or finding a creative solution to change the public's perspective toward your brand or product. Your answer to this question can demonstrate a positive attitude toward handling challenging situations and your ability to find creative solutions to marketing problems.
Example: "In my previous company, I had to rebrand a faulty product that had attracted a lot of negative customer reviews. We recalled the product and took the customer reviews into account as we redesigned the product and developed additional features. As part of our re-launch strategy, we addressed the previous concerns and focused on communicating our improvements to the new version of the product. The campaign succeeded and our sales increased, restoring customer confidence in our brand and promoting our reputation as a brand that accepts feedback and makes a genuine effort to improve our products."
3. If tasked with introducing a product to a foreign market, what would be your approach?
This question may help the interviewer understand your experience with international marketing campaigns and your ability to identify the risks and benefits of marketing a product in another country. To answer this question effectively, consider how producing a product in your country may differ from producing it in another country, the most effective marketing strategies in the target country and how to localize the product to appeal to a foreign market.
Example: "My first step to marketing a product in a foreign country is to conduct extensive market research in that country. The foundation of good marketing is understanding who our customer is and how our product fulfills their needs. Learning as much as we can about our market is the first step to designing a marketing strategy that appeals to our potential customers within a particular location."
4. We are redesigning our company webpage, but we don't know which of our two webpage options to use. How would you decide which webpage to use?
The interviewer may ask this question to understand your approach to a marketing conflict. Before answering this question, you might ask for more information about the webpage's intended audience and purpose. Once you understand the goals of the website, outline your approach to determining which one best meets the identified objectives. Be sure to explain your reasoning behind your choice with examples or specific evidence.
Example: "Based on our discussion, I would choose webpage B over webpage A. For our target audience of 18 to 25-year-olds, I feel the design of webpage B provides more options for integrating multimedia content that appeals to our demographic. Not only does it include a blog feature, but it also allows us to create video content that may attract more page views than the simplified design of webpage A. Although the layout of webpage A may be easier to navigate, I feel we should prioritize the opportunity to push more content to keep our audience engaged."
5. A customer has left a negative review for a product on our webpage. How would you go about responding?
This question assesses your ability to handle negative press. In marketing, there is always the possibility that a customer may leave a negative comment about your product, which may influence the buying habits of other customers. Having a plan to respond effectively in these situations can show your ability to turn a negative situation into a positive branding opportunity. When answering this question, show the interviewer that you can make strategic decisions to overcome marketing challenges and take a positive, solution-focused approach to a negative situation.
Example: "When responding to a negative customer review, I acknowledge and validate their concern, apologize on behalf of the brand and then state our brand values and mission to reinforce our commitment to delivering exceptional customer service. I also offer them the opportunity to contact our customer service team to further discuss their situation so we can resolve their concern. By taking these steps, I show that our brand cares about the experiences of our customers, that we take their concerns seriously and that we prioritize their needs."