Circles, The First 10 Years

By Katherine Bose, Mike Harkey, Garth Saloner
2006 | Case No. E225
Circles is a company that runs employee and customer loyalty programs for enterprises. The company was founded by two GSB alumnae in the late 90s. The case describes the idea formation process, the founding of the company, various dilemmas management had with determining which market to pursue and how to acquire customers without a large marketing investment. It also describes the transition from a consumer- to an enterprise-oriented company. This update to the original “Circles” case (first written in July of 2003; case # E-160) builds on this background information and brings a present-day perspective (10 years after the founding) by illustrating the new market saturation constraints that force the management team to re-evaluate their strategy and plans for growth.
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