You may recall that one of the new features of Essentials of Marketing 15e was our What’s Now? chapter element to give students a way to link a current issue with each chapter. The What’s Now? questions can be found on our Learn the 4 Ps blog for students — click here to see all of the latest posts (one for each chapter).
Marketing managers have to acknowledge, most consumers are looking for ways to avoid advertising. While there is more advertising these days, there are many more tools to help us block or skip advertising or pay for ad-free content (e.g., Netflix). So advertisers need to get more creative to figure out how to deliver their messages.
This article and video from the Wall Street Journal, “Advertisers Try New Tactics to Break Through to Consumers” offers some great examples. I will show this video in class to stimulate a discussion on this topic and to introduce a new chapter in Essentials of Marketing 15e, “Publicity: Promotion Using Earned Media, Owned Media, and Social Media.”
Last Friday we also posted on the music industry — a student favorite. Making it as a musician is tough these days. Streaming services don’t pay most musicians very much. It is essential for musicians to build a fanbase. To do that, many musicians turn to social media to build their brand and attract followers.
This USA Today article, “How young artists turn tweets into album, ticket sales” (August 26, 2016) describes how artists like Lindsey Stirling, The 1975, and Halsey use Snapchat and YouTube to build a following. It is particularly important for these up-and-coming artists who are not the “big names” that can drop a new song or CD and instantly get airplay on the radio and buzz among friend.
The animated gif here is Lindsey Stirling — I did not know her before reading this article, but just streamed a few songs from Spotify. I like her sound.
Snap Kitchen is trying to find that sweet spot many consumers want — tasty, convenient and healthy food at a fair price. There is a good sized target market that wants a healthy grab-and-go meal. And if it’s tasty, they might even pay a premium for it. This is the target market that Snap Kitchen is finding. The fast-growing chain now has 44 stores and also sells through 5 Whole Foods Markets stores. You can read more in this Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Forget the Salad Bar. A $50 Million Startup Best on Healthy Grab-and-Go Meals” (August 25, 2016).
This article might be useful in a number of places in the introductory marketing class. In chapter 3 we cover social cultural trends – and more Americans are seeking healthy food choices. The article sets up a potential discussion of consumer behavior and competition. How can Snap Kitchen keep out the competition? Especially from grocery stores that seem to be trying to move into that same upscale grab-and-go food market with fresh in-store sushi and deli counters. There are also distribution questions (consider Place chapters 10 — introduction and 12 — retailing).
The real world keeps handing us interesting marketing ethics issues. Yesterday we laid out the Mylan EpiPen case. Today we will try to tackle Wells Fargo’s missteps.
In chapter 14 we describe how sales managers motivate salespeople with compensation plans based on commissions, bonuses, and sales quotas. While these compensation practices are quite common, they can have unintended consequences and should therefore be closely monitored. Wells Fargo found this out the hard way — and it will cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars, and a huge hit on its reputation.
For a nice overview, you can listen to or read this story at NPR Morning Edition, “Wells Fargo Fires 5,000 Employees Over Fake Accounts” (September 9). For a more detailed examination and harsh review of Wells Fargo’s practices over the years, see “The mind-blowing stupidity of Wells Fargo” (The Week, September 12, 2016).
While Wells Fargo offers an egregious example, salespeople often game comp plans. My wife used to work in sales for a well-known consumer packaged goods firm. End of year gamesmanship was not uncommon at this company. Faced with falling just short of their quota — or needing more sales to win an end of year “prize” — some salespeople would intentionally place an unusually large order for a customer. Sometimes salespeople worked out a “wink-wink” deal with a friendly customer and other times the salesperson did it on their own. Either way, the salesperson would late claim it was a mistake and process a return. Of course the return was in the new year and the “sale” was booked in the previous year. This company moved salespeople so often, that it was not unusual for a salesperson to be transferred into the new territory and already have “negative” sales for the year. The company incurred the extra expense of shipping and returns and a dishonest salesperson made quota or earned a trip.
Examples like these can lead to a discussion of ethics in personal selling and sales management.