Marketing Dive published an article based on an interview they did with Matt Blonder, Reebok’s global head of digital, talking about a major digital facelift and loyalty program revamp he spearheaded over the past year. In the article, Blonder cites numerous issues with the previous strategy and calls their website an embarrassment. One of the issues was the fact that their website essentially hadn’t been touched in years. Another was what he called a “hyper masculine” design. Blonder said the new strategy includes a major overhaul of the site to make it faster than the previous site, include user generated content, and will incorporate a personalized e-commerce experience. They’re also launching a new loyalty program and hope the data from that program can feed into their personalized e-commerce engine. The article talks about how Reebok’s previous decisions had unintentionally excluded women and led to defection to competitors Nike and Lululemon.
Marketing strategies universally need to incorporate mechanisms to attract, upsell, and retain customers. Some companies focus more on one aspect than another but they’re all there somewhere. Loyalty programs are one of the mechanisms used to help with both upselling and retention and this Marketing Dive article takes a close look at some of the changes taking place with retail loyalty programs. Interestingly the article talks about conflicting strategies. Some stores are moving more toward inclusivity and trying to let as many customers join as possible. Others go the opposite direction. Amazon increased the price of Prime membership, Wayfair implemented a $29.99/year fee for their loyalty program, and Lululemon is testing a program that would cost $128/year. The article also talks about how services can impact loyalty as well. For instance, offering same-day delivery increases loyalty for 61% of shoppers. A significant benefit of loyalty programs is detailed information about the customer and their browsing/shopping history. Stores are using that information to try to foster a stronger emotional connection and thereby increase loyalty even further. The article is full of content that could be used for a great in-depth discussion with students debating the merits and drawbacks of different strategies.
Facebook has suffered a number of self-inflicted wounds over the past year. So much so that my students joke that they must have a calendar full of bad decisions and we’re just waiting to see which one they decide to roll out each month. Impressively, Facebook recently announced that as of the end of February, users will be able to see how their information is used for ad targeting. They are referring to the update as Custom Audience Transparency. Once launched, users will be able to click on the top right corner of a Facebook ad and see which business uploaded that user’s information and highlight audience sharing that might have taken place. This article from Wired covers the new update in detail. According to Facebook, this update should help improve transparency for themselves and their advertisers.
What do your students think? In my experience, students are relatively unconcerned about privacy and marketing students understand it is being used to help target ads that might be more relevant to their audience. However, targeting was also used to help influence voters in advance of multiple US elections. Is that still okay? What about business implications? How will Facebook’s financials be affected by the change?
In a move to make their brand appear more authentic, American Eagle’s spring campaign will feature photos and videos from customers in their own environments rather than professional studio locations. The 10 “cast members” selected were discovered through their social media posts. You can read more about this campaign and the #AExME cast from American Eagle’s press release. This is the next step in their #AExME campaign that started in Fall 2018 with actual customers and a store associate in musical and creative environments. Gen Z expects their brands to be more socially conscious, depict more images of diversity, and support their own identities and personal values according to this Marketing Dive article.
This Guardian article, “‘Urinoir’ furore: Paris residents peeved at eco-friendly urinals” is a few months old but I thought it was still worth posting because it touches on several topics that we don’t come across every day. The gist of the article is that Paris has been struggling with a public urination problem and their solution has been met with a fair amount of controversy. The city of Paris has decided to introduce open-air public urinals in areas where they’ve had the most trouble. The hope is that this will incent men to use the urinal instead of the street when they need to relieve themselves. However, there has been a great deal of public backlash to the idea. Residents object to the urinals being placed close to historic buildings and some have even claimed they are discriminatory since they are only designed for men.
I thought this was interesting for a few reasons. First, it deals with a public relations issue from a public policy decision rather than a corporate entity. Students don’t often think about cities and states having to do marketing just as corporations do. Second, it brings up the issue of controversy and having to manage a controversial product roll-out. Finally, it’s an interesting solution to a problem but probably not the only possible solution. If you’re covering the product development process, this can be a great topic for discussion.