This Slate podcast, How Targeted Ads Started Watching Us All, gives our students a bit of context for how advertising has evolved into the targeted ads. It is an interesting look at advertising, reflecting the past, the present and a look into the future. This will be insightful for some faculty and remember that few of our students know any other advertising world.
Archives for February 2020
Another #M4BW (Marketing for a Better World) Monday post. Out of the World Economic Forum, former Volvo CEO Pehr Gyllenhammar wrote this op-ed at CNN Business, “I brought socially conscious change to Volvo without hurting profits. Other CEOs cab do the same,” (January 22, 2020). I hope that headline alone lures you into the article and a discussion with your students.
It seems like we talk about Amazon a lot here at Teach the 4 Ps. For several reasons Amazon is a great class example. First, it is a brand that everyone knows and most of our students use on a regular basis. Second, they are at the leading edge of so many new marketing practices. Third, Amazon offers the opportunity for examples that reflect many marketing practices (and many chapters). Today, we are talking about Amazon the online retailer, as an advertising medium. After Google and Facebook, Amazon is growing fast as an advertiser. A Wall Street Journal article earlier this year pointed out that “54% of people looking for a product now begin their search directly on Amazon…” Search advertising has traditionally been Google’s sweet spot.
This article, “Ad Business a Boon for Amazon But a Turn-Off for Shoppers,” (November 26, 2019) points out that Amazon may need to be careful with all the advertising. Some customers are getting annoyed with the online retailer for serving up too many ads. Customers just want the product they are looking for–but they often have to search through many “sponsored posts” before they get there.
This article or example may be used in your marketing classroom in a number of ways. If Amazon wants to do well by customers, is this the right way? Is this customer-oriented behavior (Chapter 1)? An interesting counter-example might be drawn out by asking students if they have ever gone to Amazon looking for one thing, then seeing an ad for a competing product, and ended up buying the competing product. Was that information useful?
The question gets further muddled when the article also notes that ads like this might help Amazon deliver one-day service that customers love (Chapters 10 and 12). It also suggests changes in consumer behavior (Chapter 5). And then of course the article highlights how Amazon is becoming a new advertising medium (Chapter 15). Lots to potentially talk about here.
Regular readers, and those who have already seen the 17th edition of Essentials of Marketing know that we believe business can contribute to making a better, more sustainable world — without necessarily sacrificing profits in the process. Barron’s recently posted an article on this topic, and while the real thing is behind a paywall, I found this copy online (I hope it lasts there for your review).
After Barron‘s ranked the 100 most sustainable companies (#1 Texas Instruments), it compared their stock market returns in 2019 (+34.5%) with those of the S&P 500 (+31.5%). The article is optimistic that this trend will continue. Why? Some of the reasons given in the article include:
- These companies attract employees — people want to work there,
- They are better at employee retention,
- Good environmental policies lower costs,
- Customers want to do business with these companies,
- Investors want to buy into sustainable companies.
We all know that consumers can more easily ignore advertising. So how do advertisers sneak past our defenses. One way may be to disguise the advertising as “art” — maybe a short story movie. Of course advertising has been doing this for years–think of all those Bud Light Super Bowl commercials (we discuss them in our What’s Next box in Chapter 13). This article from the New York Times, and the video below describe how far we have come along that path. The ad below also shows how a firm might target a niche group.