How gourmet ramen became the latest hot cuisine

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This article, “How Japanese Marketing Secrets Sparked The American Ramen Revolution” (Fast Company, February 23, 2015) describes how ramen has become the latest hot cuisine. And more interesting to those of us teaching marketing, the article highlights the role of marketing in this fad. This might be a fun example to discuss when you cover Product — new product development or fads (is it a fad or here for the long haul?).

Now here’s a different way to play Jenga

Posted by joe

caterpillar_logo2_28337B2b brands can be creative, too. Usually we see many of the most interesting campaigns for consumer brands. Nothing could be more B2B/industrial than heavy equipment.

Caterpillar (the high quality, premium priced tractor and heavy equipment maker) has been running a fun viral campaign for about a year now: “When you choose Cat®, you get what you pay for — durable and reliable equipment, and long-lasting relationships. Discover what we’re built for…” Do help customers discover what Cat is built for, they have released a series of five (so far) clever videos demonstrating their products in action. The videos are well-done two-minute stories. One of my favorites is this play on the old game of Jenga but using 27 blocks that weight 600 pounds each:

What is misleading advertising? FTC decides this Nissan ad crossed the line. What do you think?

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Where does the FTC draw the line on misleading advertising? Here is a recent example of a recent ad the FTC thought went too far. What do you think?

So what makes this ad misleading? You might ask your students what would make this ad misleading. It turns out at least two factors contributed to the FTC’s decision. First, the truck couldn’t actually do what it proposed. Cables hidden in the sand actually pulled the dune buggy up the dune. Second, the sand dune was modified to make it look steeper that it really was. While Nissan claimed the video was meant to portray a “fantasy scenario” — the FTC also felt that making it look like a YouTube video was also misleading. The ad does include a small disclaimer “Fictionalization. Do not attempt” which runs in small type in the first three seconds of the ad. For more details, see “FTC Says ‘No Way’ to Nissan Frontier – Pushing Dune Buggy Ad” (Adweek, January 23, 2014).

This video might be shown when you cover legal or ethical issues in advertising.

Do you know the best ways to learn?

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Learning-Tecniques-TableI have recently been on a mission to find out how I can learn better — and how I can help my students learn better. There is a growing body of research and knowledge that provides very specific advice on how learning happens.

So what can you — as a learner (today’s manager needs to be learning just as much as today’s student) — do to be more efficient at learning? This post at Big Think “The lesson you never got taught in school: How to learn” summarizes an academic article that reviews the scientific literature on learning. It was very consistent with a recent massive open online class (MOOC) I took called “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects” (taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr. Terence Sejnowski).

I strongly encourage all students (meaning all of us, right?) to read the blog post. If you could find out how to be 10% more efficient and more effective in your learning — you should jump on it.

Can software detect emotions? How can marketers use this? Should they?

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Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 3.02.36 PMPowerful computers now allow software to read people’s emotions. Some of this new software and various applications are described in this article and the video below “The Technology that Unmasks Your Hidden Emotions” (Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2015, non-subscribers may need to click here).

How could a marketing manager for a retailer like Best Buy or a specialty store like say Victoria’s Secret. A bigger question might be whether retailers should use this type of information. Does it invade people’s privacy? How? Why?

Just more proof of the power of networking in the job search process…

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Brand Called You 2We all understand the trustworthy referrals for goods and services. Nothing beats a close friend or family member telling you about a great new restaurant, movie or book. Hiring managers look at the same thing. They like to get recommendations from people they trust.

Students have to work harder to build a personal network — but it can be done. This should be a key part of your personal marketing plan — and it should start early. Here is some empirical research that backs up what you probably always knew was true. Read more about the research and findings at “What Will Get You Hired Isn’t on Your Resume” (The Atlantic, December 3, 2014).

Are these the “50 Best Places to Work in the U.S.”?

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qt1This Fast Company article “The Top 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S.” could be used if you are writing your personal marketing plan. This data comes from anonymous feedback from real employees that was posted at the site — a site you should get to know if you are looking for a job. The short article might give you some ideas of what makes people like an employer. It also identifies some companies to work for that you may not have previously considered. Sure, Google is a not so surprising name at the top, but others, like Quick Trip and In-and-Out Burger, may not have been employers you thought of right away. These companies may have good management training programs, pay or benefits. At least worthy of a closer look.

Adweek picks its “10 Best Ads of 2014”

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It is the time of year when many publications are picking their “Best of” lists. Adweek offers a range of different video ads — almost all of these are longer than the 15 to 30 second spots we see on television. This is a reflection of the fact that many ads are now watched on purpose and online.

You can see a great range of different ads (many of them were new to me) in “The 10 Best Ads of 2014” (November 30, 2014). One of my favorites was for UK retailer John Lewis — see below.

What was your favorite ad of 2014?

Amp up your online search skills

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computer-search1Nowadays who doesn’t google? OK, maybe you Bing or Yahoo! something, but online search is a go-to source for all kinds of information — including market research. Market researchers often search the web for information about competitors, customers, and general market trends. But as more data appears on the web, being skilled at search is helpful in almost any job. Here at Learn the 4 Ps, we have posted on this topic before, but I found some new tips in “10 research tips for finding answers online” (TED Blog, October 2, 2014) you might find helpful. 


More Tips for Job Hunters and Personal Marketing Plan Writers

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images-1As regular readers of Learn the 4 Ps know, we are big advocates of students (or any job seeker for that matter) writing their own personal marketing plan. Marketing students should be particularly adept at developing a job plan. Click here for all our posts on this topic.  It is getting to a point where it is hard for me to find good new tips. This article at Fast Company7 Tips for Job Seekers That Hiring Managers Secretly Want You to Know” (November 11, 2014) offers some insights I had not seen before.

Go ahead and develop your plan — and good luck with that job search.