Your marketing instructors probably preach the value of relying on solid marketing research and analysis when making marketing strategy decisions. That said, many students (and managers) fall into the bad habit of relying on personal opinion. I guess that Ad Age wouldn’t be posting this article, “ The ‘I think’ Syndrome Destroys Many a Campaign ” (October 31, 2012) if we all couldn’t use a reminder. What other tricks could marketing students (and managers) use to make sure they don’t fall back on personal opinion? Under what conditions might “I think” be an acceptable argument?
“Design thinking” is an emerging school of thought around innovation and new product development. Many who practice this approach believe in rapid prototyping — getting products into customer hands quickly, soliciting feedback, and then adapting the product before going through additional rounds of the same. While the approach has many advocates, a culturally engrained “fear of failure” can make adoption of the concept a challenge. A post at the HBR Blog Network, “ The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure ” (October 5, 2012, you may have to register to access) provides some background. As regular readers know, I have a soft spot in my heart (and [Continue Reading …]
Timothy Prestero shares a very interesting story of design and innovation at TEDxBoston. He describes his company’s efforts to design incubators for newborn babies in developing countries. They thought they had it figured out, their product won awards but it didn’t save babies. The lessons Prestero shares are especially powerful in the context of his experience.
Sorry for the relatively light posting frequency over the last month. Between taking some time off and working on the latest revisions to my text books, I have neglected the blog a bit. I will get more posts up in the next couple of weeks to offer some current material to add to your classes this fall. An important concept in marketing is the index. An index is a measure of the relative purchases of a particular group. So if men age 18-34 purchase twice as much fast food as the average American, then this group would index at 200. [Continue Reading …]
This year unseasonably warm spring temperatures gave drivers of Good Humor ice cream trucks (which often roam neighborhoods in U.S. cities and towns) the opportunity to make some money early in the selling season. But many of these same drivers are now upset as Good Humor has run out of customer favorites — like the Toasted Almond and Chocolate Éclair ice cream bars. These drivers are important channel members for Good Humor, and when they can’t stock customer favorites everyone loses. This situation provides an opportunity to discuss the tradeoff faced by many producers of goods and services. When forecasting [Continue Reading …]
Did you know that only 40% of British households own a dishwasher? That compares to 78% market penetration in the U.S., 77% in Germany, and 52% in France. Did you also know that dishwashers are more economical and use less water than washing by hand? So why aren’t the British buying more dishwashers? It appears that at least part of the problem comes from a lack of understanding about the benefits. You can read about a marketing strategy that hopes to change these numbers in “ Will More Britons Buy Dishwashers? ” (Bloomberg Businessweek, March 22, 2012). Changing engrained consumer behavior can be a challenge. [Continue Reading …]
Scott Anthony has an interesting guest blog post at the Fast Company Co.Design blog, “ 3 Ways to Predict What Consumers Want Before They Know It “. He offers three great suggestions for developing insight into what consumers want — and none of them directly ask customers. There are also some great examples, including the ChotuKool portable refrigerator. This disruptive innovation targets India’s poorest households. Read Anthony’s post. Can you think of some potential new product ideas based on your own observations or personal experience? Where do you, your friends, or family experience dissatisfaction that might be addressed with a product or service innovation?
Human beings are actually not very rational decision makers — there is a great deal of evidence to that effect. We are subject to predictable biases. Increased computing power and better databases are allowing companies to use analytics and make better (unbiased) decisions. This is sparking the rise of new companies that can analyze data and some new applications. You can read more in “ So, What’s Your Algorithm? ” (Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2011 – non-subscribers may need to click here ). Read this article and think about how other firms (beyond the Schwan’s example in the article) could use “big data” to make better marketing decisions? Also, [Continue Reading …]