Tips for Sharpening Your (and Your Students) Online Search Skills

Posted by Joe Cannon

computer-search1Nowadays, the first step in a lot of market research is google? OK, maybe Bing or Yahoo! but online search is a go-to source for market research and a lot of other information. But as more secondary data can be found on the web, being good at search is a valuable skill. We have posted on this topic before, but I found some new tips in “10 research tips for finding answers online” (TED Blog, October 2, 2014) and maybe you (or your students) will, too. We have also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.

The article might be a good one to pass on to your students when you cover market research.


Restaurants Go Multichannel – Adapting Product and Place

Posted by Joe Cannon

Many high-end restaurants are discovering a  new channel of distribution — carry-out. This used to be a convenience offering for a restaurant’s most loyal customers, though potentially an inconvenience and brand risk for many fine dining establishments. Now some restaurants are seeing the benefits of catering more to carry-out — and adapting their product as well. This article “More High-End Restaurants Offer Takeout” (November 11, 2014, non-subscribers may need to click here) describes how some restaurants are making sure they deliver a high quality dining experience through the take-out channel.

This example offers a different way to look at multichannel distribution and customer equity.


Have your students ever told you…

Posted by Joe Cannon

Almost every professor I know is looking for ways to become a better teacher. Not all of us are looking to maximize customer student satisfaction — some of us focus on learning and try to keep students happy along the way. This recent USA Today article’s title says it all “7 things students wish they could tell their professors, but never do” (November 20, 2014). I won’t accede to all my students wishes, but it often helps to know what they are thinking.

You could choose to share a companion article, “6 things professors wish they could tell their students, but never do” (November 24, 2014). We shared both these links on Learn the 4 Ps. 


Will Millennials Save the Shopping Mall?

Posted by Joe Cannon

millennialsmallThe growth of online retail has many pointing to “The death of the American mall“(The Guardian, June 19, 2014). While some American shopping malls are struggling, others are thinking that Gen Y’s shopping habits fuel a recovery. This article in USA Today, “Millennials’ buying habits may save the mall” (November 8, 2014) describes that trend . Our students enjoy reading about their impact on marketing strategy, so they will find this article interesting. We have also posted it at Learn the 4 Ps.

The data in the image comes from an April 2014 study by OpinionLab reported by 9News Denver.


New Produce Development

Posted by Joe Cannon

SweeTangoDesigner apples are becoming more popular. The hottest apple on the market is the Honeycrisp — which was developed at the University of Minnesota, which cross-pollinated several different apple trees. After tasting different apples, they chose Honeycrisp and the rest is a story of a popular fruit. The patent on Honeycrisp has expired, and apple growers seeking to find the next big thing are now looking at SweeTango. This radio story (and written article) from NPR’s Morning Edition, Want to Grow These Apples? You’ll Have To Join The Club” (November 10, 2014) describes how this time the University of Minnesota is protecting its intellectual property. I think someone up there in Minnesota’s research labs has learned some marketing principles.

This is an interesting article and example of new product development, the product life cycle, and value creation.


What’s a good corporate citizen to do?

Posted by Joe Cannon

Tide-Pod-blogYou redesigned one of your signature products. Sales are taking off — approaching a billion dollars a year. Then, it comes out that the packaging of your product is so attractive to kids — that many eat it and end up very ill. In just over a year, 17,230 kids under age six were accidentally poisoned by Tide Pods. The product looks like candy, so kids mistakenly ingest it and can get quite sick or die (at least one death has been reported).

This is an interesting case study for P&G — and for your students. Tide Pods’ sales were almost $800,000,000 in the last year. You could show the video below in class or assign this Wall Street Journal article “Detergent Packets Called a Poison Risk” (November 10, 2014, non-subscribers may need to link here) and ask your students “What should Tide do?” What is the socially responsible course of action? What would shareholders want you to do? What would customers expect? What would employees expect?


What does the world of personalized pricing mean?

Posted by Joe Cannon

price_tags_2We (consumers) are getting used to customized online experiences. Our browsers know where have been on the web and remember our usernames and passwords (unless we specifically ask them not to). When we visit an online retailer, we often find ads for products we just browsed follow us in ads for weeks. When we return to that same online retailer, they keep anything we put in a shopping cart right there waiting for us.

There has always been the promise of personalized pricing, too. Back in 2000 Amazon.com was criticized for experimenting with the practice.  What if we saw different prices based on whether we were on a site via a mobile device as opposed to a computer? What if where we lived influenced the prices we received? Today this happens — probably more than some of us imagined. In “How You Shop Online Changes The Prices You See” (November 6, 2014), Fast Company reports on a study by some researchers at Northeastern University.

This article might be used to stimulate a discussion on price discrimination and its ethics.


Tips for Your Job-Seeking Students

Posted by Joe Cannon

images-1As regular readers of Teach the 4 Ps know, I am a big advocate of having introduction to marketing students write their own personal marketing plan. I am constantly adding posts to our Learn the 4 Ps blog that give students job-hunting tips. It is getting to a point where it is hard for me to find good new tips. This article at Fast Company7 Tips for Job Seekers That Hiring Managers Secretly Want You to Know” (November 11, 2014) offers some insights I had not heard of before. We also posted this article at Learn the 4 Ps.


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