Luxury goods can facilitate good discussions when talking about consumers and their buying behavior. If you’re looking for a current topic to use when talking with your students, consider the new Lamborghini Aventador SVJ. The new luxury sports car is faster and pricier ($518,000) than the base Aventador model. Only 900 of the new model will be produced which can add to the status achieved by owners of the car (and can further influence purchasing decisions). You might also use this in a discussion about segmentation or marketing strategy. Who would be the target market for this car? How can Lamborghini effectively target that market and what might their marketing mix look like?
These days the approach of fall is marked by the appearance of various pumpkin infused food and drink. The USA Today talks about this craze and specifically “Pumpkinox” in this article. Pumpkinox refers to the day on which Starbucks brings back their popular Pumpkin Spice Latte. In an effort to beat Starbucks to market, Dunkin’ Donuts and others started offering their pumpkin-flavored treats one day earlier.
In Chapters 3 and 5 of Essentials of Marketing we talk about the impact social cultural trends and influences have on marketing. In this case, Starbucks actually created a trend which is now shaping our beverage-drinking culture!
Over the summer one of the most talked about marketing campaigns was the IHOb campaign. The International House of Pancakes announced they were changing from IHOP to IHOb and later announced that the “b” stood for “burgers”. Shortly afterward they admitted it was all a publicity stunt to help build awareness of their line of burgers. This campaign has potential for a couple of class discussions. First, was it successful? Clearly they succeeded in getting people talking about their company but whether it drove sales is more ambiguous. This article from the USA Today suggests it did not drive a material increase in sales. Another article from geomarketing.com indicates that there was an increase in male traffic but the net result was negative due to lower traffic by females.
Another angle to discuss is the ethicality of the campaign. Is it ethical for a company to say “we’re changing our name” when they have no intention to do so? Does this create a bad precedent or does it cause other companies to push the boundaries of deceptive marketing? How far is too far when trying to gain publicity?
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?