Archive for April, 2012

Mountain Dew Targets Young Black and Latino Customers

Posted by joe

Mountain Dew’s sales skews toward young whites — a declining demographic.  While the brand sells well in the southeastern part of the United States, it doesn’t do as well in other parts of the country — or in major cities.  One of PepsiCo’s major brands (accounting for 20% of its sales), for growth Mountain Dew has targeted blacks and Latinos with new advertising and products (see “Mountain Dew Wants Some Street CredBloomberg Businessweek, April 26, 2012).

Read the article, check out one of ads in the new “This is How We Dew” campaign below.  What else could Mountain Dew could do to appeal to these new target markets?  Think about all 4 Ps.

Everyone Sells Something

Posted by joe

Everyone sells something — whether we are clinching a deal, getting a job, winning an argument, or seeking a spouse.  After author Philip Delves Broughton got to Harvard Business School he wondered why sales wasn’t part of the curriculum.  The former journalist decided to teach himself — by interviewing master salespeople and writing a book about it.  I just listened to an interview with Broughton on NPR (Weekend Edition Saturday, April 28, 2012) about his new book “The Art of the Sale: Learning From the Masters About the Business of Life.” From a rug seller in Morocco, to an insurance saleswoman in Japan, to a contractor in Baltimore, Broughton learns what makes for great salespeople and shares what he learns.

I suggest you add the book to your summer reading list.  In the meantime, listen to the interview, watch the video below, click through to Amazon’s page on the book, and share your opinions and experiences “selling” anything.

Is Target Stores new “Shops at Target” concept a good idea?

Posted by joe

Target stores is launching a new concept — specialty shops they call “Shops at Target”. This short article “Would You Pay More For Fancy Versions of Target Products?” (Fast Company, April 16, 2012). provides examples of the efforts to sell upscale and considerably higher priced products just a few aisles from Target’s usual discount fare.

Read the short article, peruse the examples, and thoughtfully consider these questions:  Will Target’s usual customers buy these products?  Is this is consistent with Target’s positioning?  What other products might be sold in the Shops at Target?

That Facebook app you just added, it is gathering data about you — and your friends

Posted by joe

I recently gave a talk at Colorado State University’s Future Visions program titled, “Marketing and Social Media: Creepy or Cool.” As I prepared for my presentation, I was surprised to see that some marketing practices I thought were years away — are being practiced now.

For example, did you know that Facebook apps are gathering data about users and user’s friends? You can read more about this in “Selling You on Facebook” (Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2012). Looking ahead, you can be sure that Facebook and Google are developing techniques for mining many types of data — everything from your “likes,” gender, and political leanings — to your status posts and photo stream. Facebook wants to be able to anticipate your needs — so that it can help marketers address those needs. Yes, that is the reason the company is worth $100 billion.

What do you think of this practice?  Are you concerned about these apps taking your private data — or your friends’ data?  Do you look forward to marketers having this information about you — so they can better serve your needs?

Consumer ‘showrooming’ harms brick-and-mortar stores

Posted by joe

Showrooming is the practice of shopping in a physical store and then purchasing the product online from home. Online retailers often have cost advantages over their brick-and-mortar competitors; online retailers don’t build stores in high-traffic, high-cost locations, and they don’t need to employ a large, knowledgeable sales staff, many do not have to charge sales tax. Brick-and-mortar retailers do have those costs – and increasingly, customers are going to those physical stores to view products and talk to sales staff before buying online. These advantages, and some great marketing and technology, have fueled Amazon’s rapid growth. This article from the Wall Street Journal, “Can Retailers Halt ‘Showrooming’?” (April 11, 2012, non-subscribers may need to click here) discusses how retailers like Target and Walmart are fighting back.

Do you engage in these practices?  Are consumers behaving ethically?  What should producers do about this?  What should brick-and-mortar retailers do?

Do grocery stores trick shoppers?

Posted by joe

In this recent Consumer Reports video titled “Supermarket Savings,” reporter Tod Marks explains some “tricks” that grocery stores use to get consumers to spend more.

What do you think of these practices?  Are they ethical?  Are the stores acting in tune with the marketing concept — where “all of the firm’s efforts are directed at satisfying its customers at a profit”?  (Quote from our text book definition of the marketing concept).  I have noticed recently that my King Soopers (grocery store) placed a small cooler with milk at the front of the store.  Is King Soopers demonstrating a marketing orientation (practicing the marketing concept)?

Social Entrepreneurship Case Study with Gideon Shoes

Posted by joe

Interesting little story of social entrepreneurship on NPR, “Company Ties Shoes And Ethics Together” (April 7, 2012). Gideon Shoes was born out of a desire to support The Street University, a retreat for marginalized kids in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia.

The shoes are not cheap ($190 – $320 a pair), in part because the company emphasizes production in safe, ethical, highly monitored conditions — significantly raising production costs. The company has done a marvelous job generating publicity, but right now is selling just about 60 pair of shoes per month.

The story brings to mind another social entrepreneurship venture in the shoe biz — Toms (read or listen to more at “‘Soul Mates’: Shoe Entrepreneur Finds Love In Giving,” NPR All Things Considered, November 26, 2010).

Read or listen to the story about Gideon Shoes.  Keeping in mind the company’s values and limited resources, what marketing strategy advice do you have for Gideon Shoes?  Offer a target market and make some suggestions for Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.