The best strategic process for Marvel Enterprises to pursue involves popularizing its lesser-known characters. While continually developing its most popular characters, especially Spiderman, has been advantageous to Marvel, it is imperative that the company reinvents its universe by developing its lesser-known characters. For this strategy to be successful, the company would need to use seasoned writers to ensure that character development is done right. In the event that movies based on these characters are made, Marvel Enterprises would also need to ensure that direction and production is up to standard. Failure to do so would negatively impact on the popularity of the character. This was observed with the Green Lantern experiment, which had enjoyed a successful run in the comics but failed in the movie adoption, partly due to poor direction.
According to Jonathan Karron (3), Marvel’s turnaround strategy was successful largely due to the monetization of Marvel’s content library by licensing its characters for use with consumer products and media products; managing the library of characters to foster long-term value; and retention of control over the creative process by Marvel in order to uphold the quality of content that featured Marvel characters. Thanks to this strategic process, it was possible for Marvel to build the popularity of its characters in an American society that was already familiar to the Marvel universe. Licensing was particularly useful to this turnaround strategy as it made it possible for the company to market its characters through the different platforms at the company’s disposal. The success from this turnaround is sustainable because it involves minimal risk and is responsible for bringing the company massive financial gains.
Comic books are important to the Marvel Universe’s history since they were the original platform through which the Marvel characters were introduced. Thus, although profits from this platform are modest today, they occupy an important place in the history of the company. Unlike comic books, toys are an important source of profitability for Marvel today. In fact, toy-related activities are an important determinant of Marvel’s net sales (Karron 7). As Karon (7) further observes, the toy division is an important customer acquisition tool. This is because young boys who grow up playing with Hulk Hands may end up being fans of other Marvel’s products. Finally, licensing is equally important to the company’s profit-making model. This platform is advantageous to Marvel Entertainment due to low overhead costs, high revenues, and strong growth.
It is indisputable that Marvel’s success has been largely dependent on select characters, particularly Spider-Man. The sustainable performance of the movies and toys linked to this character has led Marvel to rely on the seemingly safe strategy of marketing Spider-Man products aggressively. Nonetheless, as has been evident in the past decade, the Marvel Universe has expanded strategically and with considerable success as well. This has been made possible by the introduction of the Avengers movie franchise, through which a range of other Marvel characters have been introduced. As such, licensing has been useful in promoting the popularity of Marvel’s lesser-known characters. It is important that the company continually develops these characters, not only through licensing but also by expanding the range of toys associated with the Marvel Universe.
Karron, Jonathan. Marvel Enterprises, Inc. Harvard Business School. September 10, 2010.