We’re taking a break for the summer. Enjoy some fun and sun and we’ll see you in the fall!
Amazon is a juggernaut that seems to enter one market after the next. Most of these ventures are successful for the firm but not all work out well. A recent example relates to Amazon’s plans to sell pharmaceuticals to hospitals as detailed in this USA Today article. Amazon’s goal was to apply their logistics expertise and bulk savings benefits to pharmaceuticals and start supplying hospitals directly. According to the article, this is looking harder than they originally intended for a a couple of reasons. The biggest issue seems to be challenges disrupting the existing purchasing process. Hospitals have existing processes and suppliers and they appear to be unwilling to change those processes. Another possible issue could be logistical – transporting materials that need to be refrigerated.
There are several marketing concepts that could be tied to this article. There’s a logistics management issue Amazon would have to address, there’s a direct link to personal selling and the potential advantages that is providing incumbents, a general opportunity to discuss the buying behavior of business and organizational customers, and there’s the specific issue with the existing buying centers being unwilling to change their purchasing processes – presumably even when that change could result in lower cost. That last issue could potentially represent an ethical discussion as well. If insurance companies pay the bill, should hospitals be worried about cost management?
For our final example in this series I chose an institutional advertisement. Instead of focusing on a product, institutional advertising is focused on the name and prestige of an organization. This can be done for various purposes but is often done to either improve or help establish a particular image for the company. After the Gulf oil spill, British Petroleum put together several institutional advertisements designed to help improve their image. This Always commercial isn’t focused on overcoming an image problem but instead is being used to advocate the cause #LikeAGirl. If you want a longer example, here’s another Always commercial that has the same goal.
Continuing our examples of different types of advertising, this commercial that includes both Doritos and Mountain Dew is a good illustration of a reminder advertisement. When a brand reaches the preference or insistence stage of brand familiarity, reminder advertisements can become useful. These advertisements are there to reinforce previous messages or simply to reinforce the brand image (as is the case here). Both of these commercials introduce a new product (Doritos Blaze and Mountain Dew Ice) but the bulk of each commercial has nothing to do with the new product and is instead built around maintaining their established brand image.
Here’s another current commercial that illustrates another category of advertisement, indirect competitive advertising. This Progressive commercial focuses on highlighting a product feature – their Home Quote Explorer. Beyond simply showing commercials like this I often ask the class to dissect the commercial and look at what tactics were used to support the message. In this case humor is used to grab and maintain the viewer’s attention, the phrase “it’s easy” is used, and the product description is provided very succinctly (less than 4 seconds) – “you just answer some simple questions online and you get coverage options to choose from”.