Analyzing Keurig’s marketing plan

Analyzing Keurig’s marketing plan
Analyze Keurig’s marketing plan and launch strategy; is the plan sound? Make suggestions that may improve the launch
Keurig At Home:
Managing a New Product Launch
A Wednesday afternoon in February 2003 found Keurig Inc.’s president and CEO Nick
Lazaris heading south on Interstate 89 back toward his Wakefield, Massachusetts, office and
mulling over the day’s events in preparation for a briefing with his senior management team (see
Exhibit 1). He realized that the next two weeks would be critical to the success of the company’s
newest product initiative in the single-cup coffee market. Lazaris had just wrapped up a
presentation to the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR) management team, one of the
company’s strategic partners and an investor in its business. While reviewing the company’s
progress toward the launch of its innovative coffee-brewing system into the at-home consumer
market, GMCR had asked Keurig to reconsider its decision to use a different version of the coffee
portion pack, known as a K-Cup, in the consumer market. In making its request, GMCR had
offered a number of compelling reasons for using the existing commercial portion pack in both
As he drove, Lazaris passed a new Starbucks and reflected on how gourmet coffeehouses had
helped pave the way for Keurig’s single-serve brewing system. The proliferation of soft drinks
since the 1960s had caused coffee to lose its place as a central component of social gatherings,
spurring a precipitous drop in coffee consumption to an all-time low of 6.1 pounds per capita in
the mid-1990s from a peak of 16.5 pounds per capita in the mid-1940s.1
The entrance of gourmet
coffeehouses had reinvigorated the market, developing a distinct subculture of coffee drinkers
and educating younger consumers about great traditional coffees as well as espresso and milk-
based specialty beverages. As a result, by 2003 an estimated twenty million Americans were
drinking gourmet coffee on a daily basis.
Keurig’s launch of a single-cup brewing system in the office coffee service market in the late
1990s had benefited from coffee drinkers’ increasing sophistication. Office employees could
appreciate the greater variety, freshness, and convenience derived from the ability to brew a
single cup of coffee on demand. Office managers recognized the advantages garnered from less
coffee waste, increased employee productivity, and decreased hassle associated with tending the
coffee machine.
February 2003 found Keurig poised to launch its new model B100 system in the at-home
segment with hopes of repeating its success in a much larger but more competitive market. With
rumors of other single-cup competitors ready to enter the market, Lazaris knew Keurig needed to
Source: United States Department of Agriculture.
©2005 by the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. This case was prepared by Elizabeth L. Anderson under the
supervision of Professor Eric T. Anderson. Cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve
as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. To order copies or request
permission to reproduce materials, call 800-545-7685 (or 617-783-7600 outside the United States or Canada) or e-mail
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the Kellogg School of Management.
For the exclusive use of H. Alkhabaz, 2017.

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