How do we make video games addictive?

Posted by Joe Cannon

Candy_CrushThis morning I listened to an interesting radio story about how video game makers use concepts from behavioral science to enhance games’ addictiveness (see “This Is Your Brain on Candy Crush,” NPR Morning Edition, October 9, 2014). Clearly the path to video game breakout rests in creating an addictive experience. It left me wondering about the ethics of creating addictive games. It certainly raises questions — especially when you hear how hard gaming companies work on this. This story is also posted at Learn the 4 Ps

It might be fun to have students wrestle with the ethics of the situation. I am going to ask students about video games when I cover new product development. Without bringing up the meat of the radio story, I might start the discussion by asking students what makes for a successful video game? How do companies come up with ideas like slingshotting birds at pigs (Angry Birds) or building a farm (Farmville)?  Then I will ask if they think there are any ethical issues around development of video games. The radio story is short, so I will play it in class and then ask them to think about . Then I might play the short 4 minute radio story in class and ask students how they feel now. I assume many are already addicted to a video game or maybe have been in the past. This might fit when you cover new product development or maybe market research.


The Personal Marketing Plan – Helping Students Identify a Career Path

Posted by Joe Cannon

top10This Lifehacker blog post lists “Top 10 Ways to Find Your Career Path” (August 30, 2014). If your students are writing a personal marketing plan or otherwise figuring out their future careers, this article could be useful. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps


Tips for B2B Marketer/Storytellers

Posted by Joe Cannon

CiscoBrands are increasingly looking at storytelling as a way to position their brands and engage customers. While many consumer brands are pretty good at this, it is more of a challenge for a B2B company. Last fall we posted a good example from GE. This article at TopRank‘s blog, “How to Make B2B Marketing Stories Bigger With Social Media Microcontent” (September 17, 2014) provides some advice and some examples you might find helpful in class. We also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps

The articles will provide fun examples when you cover B2B or promotion.


“10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020″

Posted by Joe Cannon

This infographic identifies 6 drivers of change and then the “10 Most Important Work Skills in 2020.” Do you wonder how well your classes prepare students for the work skills they will need in the future? It is a fast-changing world. The graphic might help you think about what you are doing in your classes. I know it has me thinking about how I can teach differently.

I also think about this as a textbook author. I feel it is partly my job to offer tools and materials to help other instructors teach. Our books include many activities that foster more critical and creative thinking. If you have ideas about how we might do this better, please send me a message. We also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps


Marketers try to figure out millennials

Posted by Joe Cannon

millinnials-five-truthsMost of our students are millennials (precise definitions vary, but in our books we call them people born between 1978 and 1994, which is a bit different from the definition in this article). As they age, they are earning income and becoming an influential buying force. This is getting millennials more attention from marketing managers. They are also at an age where they form and solidify brand preferences, which can be difficult to change in later years. This New York Times article, “Marketers Are Sizing Up the Millennials” (August 21, 2014) provides food for thought around this demographic trend.

This article can be a nice supplement to your coverage of consumer behavior. You might ask your students what is different about millennials? How could this effect a brand managers selling breakfast cereal? Cars? or Tax services? What about colleges — who are already seeing a decline in high school graduates?


Denny’s Social Media Gives the Brand Personality

Posted by Joe Cannon

dennysDenny’s uses social media — Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in particular – to give its brand some personality. This article really shows how social media can help a brand differentiate and develop personality. This Adweek article, “Brand of the Day: How Denny’s Got So Good at Serving Up Snark Online,” (September 22, 2014) offers some funny examples of just how Denny’s is doing this.

Ask your students what they believe are keys to success for this element of the promotion blend? There are a wide range of answers. Here are a few I thought about — and I am sure my students will come up with more — and better — ideas. 1) Consistency – if a brand is going to use social media and try to project a particular personality, it is important for positioning that the “personality” is consistent with the desired positioning. In addition, you need to keep a consistent personality. 2) Judgement — there have been some high profile failed attempts at humor by brands via Twitter, 3) Timing — social media campaign and posts should be coordinated with other elements of the promotion blend to maximize impact.

You could ask students to describe what a Twitter feed might be for Southwest Airlines? United Airlines? Target stores? Victoria’s Secret? or Betty Crocker? McDonald’s? Taco Bell? What would the content be for each? What might be characteristics of the brand’s personality?


Psychic Shopping – Stores May Someday Send You Stuff it Knows You Want

Posted by Joe Cannon

psychic-readingsAs you know, big data and predictive modeling are getting pretty darn good at predicting the brands or products an individual might want to buy. It is not hard to imagine a day (perhaps not not too far into the future) where retailers are so good at predicting that they know what we want or need before we do. Target stores already knows what brand of shampoo a customer buys — and that they buy it once a month. So what if they just placed an order for us and shipped it out? Would people be interested in this service?

Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein was curious. So he commissioned a survey and asked people. He appears surprised to discover that about a third of American consumers would be comfortable with stores sending us stuff it thought we wanted. You can read the details of his study in “Shopping Made Psychic” (New York Times, August 20, 2014).

I don’t think we are too far from very accurate systems that will predict our needs and wants. What are the implications of that for retail stores? What about consumer privacy? We also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps


Your Personal Marketing Plan – 5 Tips from Hiring Managers

Posted by Joe Cannon

This article on LinkedIn 5 Interviewing Tips from Hiring Managers” (September 2, 2014) will be great for your students who are in the job-hunting process or writing their own personal marketing plan. This was also posted at Learn the 4 Ps


Seth’s Blog: Worthless (priceless)

Posted by Joe Cannon

Another of Seth Godin’s interesting observations in “Worthless (priceless)” (September 11, 2014). This idea might be interesting to discuss in class when you discuss value or price. Ask students for some examples of how something priceless was transformed into something worthless — and vice versa.


Porsche targets women with new crossover

Posted by Joe Cannon

porschemacanJust over 10 years ago, Porsche introduced its first SUV. At the time, the Cayenne generated considerable controversy inside and outside the company. The Cayenne has been hot! By 2011 about half of all Porsches sold were Cayennes. Now Porsche purists (who still see the brand as the ultimate sports car) are up in arms again. Porsche is joining the highly competitive crossover market. Did you know crossovers now account for 20% of  automobile sales?

This extended Bloomberg Businessweek article, “Porsche Builds Macan Crossover to Win Over Women” (August 7, 2014) describes the product development process for this new vehicle. The launch is not risk as failure for Macan could do damage to the carefully crafted Porsche brand. If Macan succeeds, it might open a new market for the carmaker. Porsche which believes the Macan will appeal to women — a market where Porsche currently lags  (just 15% of its vehicles are sold to women). The article offers examples and discussion when you cover Product topics including brand management (perhaps along with our recent post “Managing Product Lines“), new-product development, or the product life cycle.