Paper Companies Adapt to Changing External Market Environment

Posted by Joe Cannon

mooluxe_stacks_mixed-2Not many of us would have placed stock market bets on paper companies in the last decade — not with so many of us going “paperless.” A couple of big players in the business – Mohawk and International Paper – adapted marketing strategy and have done quite well. This article in the Wall Street JournalU.S. Paper Industry Gets and Unexpected Boost” (March 7, 2014, non-subscribers may need to click here) describes their successes (and some failures) in adapting to a rapidly changing technological environment. By developing new and more profitable product lines, these companies have seen their profits (and stock prices) soar.

The paper industry might provide an example of the product life cycle — as many traditional paper products (say photocopy paper) may be mature or in decline while other product lines (like high quality papers that could be used to print holiday cards) are in growth.

Market Research Key to Making Better Diapers

Posted by Joe Cannon

pTRU1-16503826dt (1)Disposable diapers are a big deal at P&G — representing $10 billion (about 12%) of its annual revenue. With strong competition (Pampers is #2 in market share behind Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies) and opportunities for growth in developing markets, P&G puts plenty of resources behind this brand. The company does not hold back with its R&D, new product development and of course the related market research.

This article from Bloomberg BusinessweekProcter & Gamble’s High-Tech Quest for the Perfect Diaper” (March 13, 2014) gives some background on just what P&G is doing  market research for Pampers. It would make a good assignment and discussion when you cover market research or new-product development.

General Mills Targets Micro Markets Online

Posted by Joe Cannon

yellow_shadow2_v3General Mills understands the power of digital media — and uses it to target niche markets. In an interview with AdAge, General Mills (whose brands include Cheerios, Yoplait, and Betty Crocker) CMO Mark Addicks describes some of the company’s efforts. You can read more in “General Mills Looks Beyond TV to Target ‘Micro’ Markets” (March 12, 2014).

This article might be helpful when you cover Promotion (and the trend toward digital media) or even when you cover branding.

“Unsung Hero” – Thai Life Insurance video goes viral

Posted by Joe Cannon

The Thai Life Insurance Company has produced a video that is beginning to take the Internet by storm. It has jumped the 1 million view mark in just a few days. You can get ahead of the curve by showing this to your students. It is a great example of what can make a video go viral. This clearly demonstrates two qualities Jonah Berger suggests are important — emotion and story. It also provides a valuable life lesson that all of us might want to share with our friends, family, and students. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps

Analytics Should Go Beyond Monitoring Clicks

Posted by Joe Cannon

This video might be a fun way to introduce coverage of analytics, marketing research or big data. When analytics are too shallow, they can lead the marketing manager down the wrong path.

Southwest Wants You to Return the Favor

Posted by Joe Cannon

Are you up for some April Fool’s Day fun from the Onion? This video does use the “F-word” — which may offend some of you or make others reluctant to use the video in class. So be sure to preview before showing it in class.

Southwest Airlines Rolls Out New ‘Loyalty Goes Both Ways’ Campaign

The costs and benefits of non-conformity

Posted by Joe Cannon

A recent study from the Journal of Consumer Research was covered by the Wall Street Journal in “Success Outside the Dress Code” (March 17, 2014, non-subscribers may need to click here). You might assign this reading or show the video in class to stimulate discussion. Ask the students to think about what a salesperson may gain or lose by dressing below (or above) expectations? This might provide an opportunity for some deeper discussion about research. I want to acknowledge Brian Tietje’s WSJ e-mail for this idea.

The Onion Gives Us the True Meaning of Journalism – It’s Advertising Stupid

Posted by Joe Cannon

The satirical website The Onion skewers everything. Somehow I missed this great post “Please Click On Our Website’s Banner Ads” (November 28, 2012) about online advertising that offered the true meaning of journalism. It might be more than a year old, but it is still true and still funny. And it shows the real power of advertising.

Cross-Cultural Differences in Word-of-Mouth Behavior

Posted by Joe Cannon

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 1.56.10 PMA study by NewVoiceMedia found differences in word-of-mouth behavior between U.S. and U.K. consumers. Following a poor customer service experience, U.S. consumers are twice as likely as U.K. consumers to spread negative word-of-mouth. While 49% of U.S. consumers were likely to tell others of a bad experience, only 27% of Brits were likely to do the same. The study found other differences you can read about in “US consumers twice as likely to share a bad service experience than UK counterparts” (CustomerThink, March 13, 2014)

The statistics in this report might help with a discussion of cultural/national differences in consumer behavior, a discussion of word-of-mouth, or social media.

Selling San Diego Wine in New York City – Now That’s a Challenge

Posted by Joe Cannon

vesperA lot of our students will go on to work in sales. This article “Birth of a Next-Wave Wine Salesman” (Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2014, non-subscribers may need to click here) follows salesperson and entrepreneur Eric Clemons as he makes the rounds in New York City selling wine from San Diego (of all places). After selling for another wine wholesaler, Clemons started his own wine distribution company. The article will give your students a brief taste of the life of a salesperson and entrepreneur. It offers examples of personal selling, distribution, and wholesaling.