Social media is getting less confusing. Best practices are emerging. Marketing managers are better understanding how which marketing objectives might be best addressed with social media. This article, “Are You Talking to Me?” (Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2011, non-subscribers click here) suggests five best practices used by companies with some success in social media. Many of the lessons come from “listening” closely to customers via social media. The early heavy users of social media are listening, learning, and adapting. Anyway, the article has some good examples of using Facebook and Twitter that you can bring to a class discussion about Promotion, social media, and market research. Also posted at Learn the 4 Ps.
Archives for April 2011
The often provocative and always interesting Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University, wrote a very interesting short article in the Harvard Business Review (May 2011), “The Upside of Useless Stuff.” My link goes to Ariely’s blog where he reprints the article. While critics contend that marketing just makes people buy useless stuff, Ariely argues that the desire for useless stuff may fuel innovation. We also posted this at Learn the 4 Ps.
What do you think?
This article, “The Benefits of a U.S.-Colombia Free-Trade Deal” (Bloomberg Businessweek, April 14, 2011) addresses a few areas where the content here at T4Ps is kind of light — B2B and the legal environment. The article describes how Caterpillar spotted an opportunity in Columbia and began lobbying to move forward a stalled trade agreement designed to cut back on tariffs on their sales into Columbia, South Korea, and Panama.
It can be difficult to break into new markets — especially in the medical devices field where doctors usually like to stick with products they know. A company called Biotronik found a way to generate significant market share in one particular hospital in southern Nevada. In fact, while the company’s market share nationwide is about 5%, in this hospital it exceeds 95%. Perhaps a great salesperson found a way to make Biotronik the preferred supplier and/or they have a superior device and this hospital is one of the few to recognize it. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that a few years ago Biotronik hired several of the hospital’s cardiologists as consultants — paying them as much as $5000 a month.
That, in a nutshell, is the background for a story in the New York Times, “Tipping the Odds for a Maker of Heart Implants” (April 2, 2011). There is currently a federal investigation underway looking into Biotronik’s marketing and sales practices.
The article is quite long and will give you more background. It might be an interesting example to discuss in class because you can probably imagine some gray areas. It is probably important to have doctors testing products and offering insights. At what point does this cross a line?
A growing concern for global warming and our environment began about four years ago and fueled the growth of brands like Method and Clorox’s Green Works. Then – bam! — the economy tanked. Now consumers have a decision — do they pay a bit more for a greener product? It appears that the economy is winning out. Sales for “green” products have slowed or declined in the last couple of years. Read more in “As Consumers Cut Spending, ‘Green’ Products Lose Allure” (New York Times, April 21, 2011).
It might be interesting to ask students how the economy has affected their purchases. Do they think that these products will pick up in sales after the economy gets back on track?