The power of marketing strategy: the retail evolution of Macron’s business model

Lucia Casadei, Massimiliano Marzo October 9, 2023 4 min read

In the competitive sports team retail and apparel market, Macron represents a success story built on a forward-looking marketing strategy. So significant it has become the object of a Bologna Business School case study, not only as an example of effective marketing, but also as a model to discuss corporate finance issues. 

Macron is an Italian company that has grown into a globally recognized brand known to many sports clubs and a large number of athletes. Macron’s transformation from a predominantly B2B (Business to Business) model to a B2B2C (Business to Business to Consumer) model demonstrates how marketing strategies can shape a company’s growth trajectory and have a major impact on its value. 

In 2010, Macron launched the “Macron Store” project with the aim of expanding the brand’s reach far beyond the boundaries of B2B, coming into direct contact with end consumers. Designed to become a real point of reference for those who want quality technical products, Macron stores have enabled the brand to promote and consolidate a strong partnership with customers. 

Macron’s strategy has thus focused on the retail channel as the driver of its growth. In this B2B2C configuration, Macron stores have become more than just retail outlets. Through services such as kit design, assembly, and a selection of optional items to choose from, they were able to offer a customized physical experience, which also allowed them to profile users through Club card membership, while implementing an omnichannel approach. 

The shift to the B2B2C model offered Macron important advantages: the company was able to create the conditions to provide unique market services, generating high barriers to entry for potential competitors. The payment process -addressing a user who is no longer exclusively business- has become faster and more secure, and up-selling and cross-selling opportunities have been expanded thanks to a comprehensive e-commerce catalog. 

The B2B2C model not only benefited Macron, but also provided value to the teams and their members. In the B2B configuration, teams had to bear the costs and risks of stocking and distributing kits, whereas the B2B2C model transferred these tasks to the Macron Store. Club members thus became customers of the store, with the club acting as the intermediary, thus eliminating the unnecessary complexity of the intermediary role played by the latter. 

A financial analysis of Macron’s value using WACC (Weighted Average Cost of Capital) and APV (Adjusted Present Value) methods reveals significant growth attributed to the change in marketing strategy. Even with a long-term growth rate of 0% (the estimate is between 0 and 2%), the company’s value increased by about 42%. A confirmation that an aggressive marketing approach also gave Macron excellent results from a financial point of view as well as in terms of cash flow, which was one of the key issues in the deal. In conclusion, the strategic shift toward a more retail-focused approach (B2C and B2B2C) allowed Macron to tap into a market segment never previously approached, fueling growth and increasing value. 

This case study underlines the vital role of marketing in shaping the development of companies, particularly those with a strong retail component. The case also demonstrates how choosing the right inputs to evaluate a company’s marketing strategy is critical. Inaccurate inputs can in fact distort the evaluation, and this highlights the need for a careful and rigorous analysis. 

This article is based on
How much value does a marketing strategy add?
Lucia Casadei, Massimiliano Marzo