Oops! “The 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014″

Posted by Joe Cannon

mchappyThey say we learn the most from failure. If that is the case, then this list “The 13 Biggest Brand Fails of 2014” (Adweek, December 16, 2014) should give these companies a lot to think about. Maybe our students can learn from these mistakes without having to suffer the consequences. These mistakes are mostly made by big brands. Many of the failures involve social media and raise important questions about monitoring and control of social media channels.

On the other hand, we cannot be so concerned about failure that we forget to take chances. We may want to remind our students that brands seeking breakthroughs are forced to take chances so failures are inevitable. These examples might be useful when you cover promotion, social media, and creativity — or when you simply want to inject some humor or reality to class.

Research on Job Search Shows – Who You Know Counts

Posted by Joe Cannon

Brand Called You 2This article should not be a surprise to marketing instructors — but many of our students don’t realize the importance of networks. We teach about the power of trustworthy referrals for goods and services. So let’s not forget to remind our students when they write their personal marketing plans. I always like to present empirically supported findings. You can read more about the research and findings at “What Will Get You Hired Isn’t on Your Resume” (The Atlantic, December 3, 2014).  We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.

“Boring” Brands Use Humor to Gain Attention and Relevance

Posted by Joe Cannon

This article on the Hubspot blog, “7 Boring Big Brands that Used Humor to Amp Up Their Marketing” (December 30, 2014) provides some great examples. From Dollar Shave Club and State Farm to Clorox and Charmin, these case studies are detailed and well-written. The examples can be salted into different lectures to provide a humorous break or to discuss the role of humor in marketing.

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Flipping the Classroom?

Posted by Joe Cannon

flippedAre you “flipping your classroom”? Do you want to flip your classroom? Would you like to share ideas about flipping the classroom? My answers are yes, yes, and yes.

I have always tried to utilize a lot of active learning approaches in my classes — less so in my principles of marketing class (typically with 90 students per section) and more often in my marketing strategy class. This coming semester I will be using a new experimental classroom specifically designed for “flipping.” The class will be arranged for students to sit around tables and without a formal front of the class podium.

I am interested in sharing experiences and ideas with others who are currently flipping their marketing class, using a lot of active learning in the class, or simply interested in this topic. Please send me an e-mail at joe <dot> cannon [at] colostate [dot] edu if you are interested in sharing ideas. Maybe we can get a little online discussion group around resources specifically aimed at marketing instructors.

Segmenting the Packaged Foods Product-Market

Posted by Joe Cannon

tomato-soup-recipe-dec-1962-campbells-620x830Large packaged food makers — like Campbell’s and General Mills are mentioned in this article — segment their markets and develop marketing mixes to meet different segments’ needs. This Wall Street Journal article “What Does Your Fridge Say About You?” (December 16, 2014, non-subscribers may need to click here) offers some insights about how Campbell’s segmentation helps the company develop more effective marketing strategies to increase holiday food purchases.

I am going to show this video in class and present some slides that briefly describe Campbell’s six different segments (the article has some great images you could cut and paste into a slide for each segment). I then plan to ask my students questions like “Why does Campbell’s create this segmentation?” and “How can that help Campbell’s?” Next, I will place my students in small groups to develop different marketing strategies (“consider all 4 Ps”) for marketing soup, pretzels, or peanut butter. My focus will not be around the holidays, but for year-round consumption. I will ask each team to choose three segments — and then develop three different strategies. They will present this by creating a matrix with each brand listed at the top of a column and each row labeled as “target market”, then each of the 4 Ps. I might let them know that segmentation is not a new strategy — and show them the image here (a print ad from 1962). This could be a good in-class active learning exercise.

Are these the “50 Best Places to Work in the U.S.”?

Posted by Joe Cannon

qt1This Fast Company article “The Top 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S.” could be used by students writing their personal marketing plan. This data comes from anonymous feedback from real employees that was posted at the site Glassdoor.com (a site your students may want to know). The short article gives students the names of some companies and some of the criteria they may want to consider when deciding where to work. Yes, this is another list with Google at the top, but there are some unexpected names — like Quick Trip (a company we have posted about before) and In-and-Out Burger.  We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps

Value In Use Pricing, Ethics and 42 Days

Posted by Joe Cannon

“Value in use pricing — which means setting prices that will capture some of what customers will save by substituting the firm’s product for the one currently being used.” (Essentials of Marketing 14e, p. 486).

pillsHow do you price a pharmaceutical drug that offers patients (on average) 42 additional days of life? This is the question that faced the makers of Zaltrap — and the answer ended up being $11,063 per month of treatment. I heard this story on one of my favorite podcasts “How Much Would You Pay for A Year Of Life?” (Radiolab, December 23, 2014)When doctors at the prestigious Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, the drug maker cut the price in half — still pretty pricey. Another drug example discussed on the podcast is Sovaldi — which is also discussed in this Forbes magazine article.

Value-in-use pricing is always an interesting issue when we teach Price. This adds an interesting ethical question that you might discuss when you cover pricing. What responsibility does a company have to its shareholders? the medical community? customers?

Why prices fall

Posted by Joe Cannon

hdmiSome products typically get more expensive over time (think food, college tuition, healthcare). Other products exhibit falling prices. Technology markets often exhibit declining prices (and often improving quality). Think about that smartphone in your pocket — in real terms (after inflation) an iPhone is cheaper today than five years ago. Plus, it offers significantly more benefit (more computing power, more apps, more services, etc.).

Competition often fuels attention to price. In tech markets, one company fueling rapidly lower prices is Monoprice. I first became aware of Monoprice after reading that there was little technical performance difference among HDMI cables (those cables that connect your TV to your DVD player or cable box). So one didn’t have to pay $50 for a Monster cable but could pay less than $4 for a Monoprice cable. For more details, I encourage you to listen (or download the transcript) to the Planet Money podcast “How Stuff Gets Cheaper” (November 28, 2014). It includes some interviews with Monoprice managers.

The Monoprice example could be leveraged into a class discussion of how a competitor of Monoprice’s should react. What can Monster do? What can Apple do when Monoprice’s CrystalPro, which sells for as much as half as much as the $1000 Apple Cinema display? The Apple model has more features, but both of these examples point to the power of a brand like Monster and Apple. Of course the Monster brand was not as strong and they have consequently lost a lot of share in the cable market. Is Apple’s display Monoprice’s next victim?

Adweek Picks the 10 Best Ads of 2014

Posted by Joe Cannon

It is the time of year when many publications are picking their “Best of” lists. Adweek offers a range of different video ads — almost all of these are longer than the 15 to 30 second spots we see on television. This is a reflection of the fact that many ads are now watched on purpose and online. You can see a great range of different ads (many of them were new to me) in “The 10 Best Ads of 2014” (November 30, 2014). One of my favorites was for UK retailer John Lewis — see below. We also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps

These ads could obviously work when you cover a range of topics — from advertising to segmentation to non-profits and more. You might use them to kick off and motivate a topic or as an example of a concept.

Research on Online Shopping Shows…

Posted by Joe Cannon

onlineshopping…some interesting facts and trends. I am not sure I agree with the hyperbolic “mind-blowing” in the title of this article, but I did find “15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Online Shopping” (CMO.com, May 7 2014) interesting enough to share. You always wonder about the sources (and potential biases) of these studies. Sometimes the research is conducted to hype a trend. This article tracks back each stat has a link to an original source. Two trends particularly stood out to me:

  • “Seventy-two percent of Millennials research and shop options online before going to a store or mall.” I am always interested in millennials, because this is our students’ cohort demographic and because they point to future trends. This has important implications for consumer behavior and retailing.
  • “…retail revenue generated via mobile was up 35%” and “84% of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip.” Mobile appears poised to explode across the marketing landscape — but then again the field has been pointing to this for several years now. Is mobile’s tipping point finally here?

This data could be interesting to share with your students when you cover retailing or consumer behavior. You might ask students what the implications of these trends are for online and brick-and-mortar retailers.