As regular readers of this blog know, the recently published 17th edition of Essentials of Marketing includes several examples each chapter of companies, brands, or practices that demonstrate “Marketing for a Better World” (#M4BW). Marketing managers are not always looking to do the right thing for society — but many are finding ways to increase profits and make for a better world. This article “Supply Chains as a Game-Changer in the Fight Against Climate Change” (BCG, January 26, 2021) includes lots of practical advice you might share with your students.
Students don’t often think about how Place and choice of distribution channel can differentiate a product or deliver value (often through convenience). And not too many of us think about vending machines as a channel of distribution for much more than snacks and soft drinks. That is why this example, where the Applestone Meat Co. offers self-serve vending machines stocked with vacuum-sealed packages of meat, including everything you might expect to buy at a high-end butcher shop: Porterhouse steaks, rack of lamb, sausages, and ground beef. You can read more, and perhaps clip an image to drop into your slides when you cover Place in Chapters, 10, 11 and 12.
As an aside, if you, like me, didn’t get the “Horn & Hardart” reference in the article’s title, check out this Wikipedia entry and learn a little history.
Our focus on Marketing for a Better World (#M4BW) continues with a look at a recent announcement by Amazon. Amazon promises to “meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement 10 years ahead of schedule.” Its recent announcement comes after some pressure from employees (Amazon Employees for Climate Justice).
This article provides an opportunity to discuss how creating shared value might actually create value. You could ask your students why Amazon is doing this? Is it good for shareholders? Why or why not? The answer is not clear, but students may not recognize that actions like this might make it easier for Amazon to recruit top talent. Many young people are concerned about the environment and want to work someplace that is doing something about it. This might also enhance Amazon’s brand and reputation among consumers. Finally, it may lower operating costs — as the initial cost of an electric van may be offset by lower operating costs (electric vehicles typically cost less to operate as compared to gas-power vehicles).
This issue might be discussed — with different emphasis — in Chapter 3 (Amazon is featured in our chapter-opening case), Chapter 11 (logistics), Chapter 12 (retailing) or in Bonus Chapter 2 (Marketing’s Link with Other Functional Areas — including human resource management).
The final leg of delivery to customers (referred to as the “last mile”) is often the most expensive leg of the journey. In a commoditized market, FedEx is trying to find a way to reinvent the last mile and give themselves differentiation and a lower cost structure versus their shipping competitors. FedEx revealed plans for utilizing an autonomous delivery robot which they descriptively but unimaginatively named the “FedEx SameDay Bot” to manage same day deliveries. The article also talks about Amazon’s foray into this space with their “Amazon Scout”. Target, Walmart, and Pizza Hut are all on board as initial customers utilizing the FedEx service. This logistical innovation will help them provide greater customer experience and presumably lower costs as well.
It’s the start of a new semester and the newest freshman at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA is Pepsi’s new Snackbot. Developed in partnership with Robby Technologies, these self-driving robots will make snacks and beverages available to college students (and presumably staff!). Pepsi envisions this new channel of distribution as a way of capitalizing on changes in student dining as packed schedules push students to quick, on-the-go options. You can read more about this new project in Pepsi’s press release.