Thursday, June 26, 2008

Air Travel Industry-How will Marketing Help Them Cope?

According to the Travel Industry Association (TIA), deep frustration among air travelers caused them to avoid an estimated 41 million trips over the past 12 months at a cost of more than $26 billion to the U.S. economy.
The aviation industry has never had it so bad, honestly. With American Airlines and others starting to charge by baggage, and with airlines even contemplating weight-based charge to airfare, it has never gotten so frustrating either. I am no lover of air travel—give me a clean seat in an aircraft that is on time and I will pretty much curl up in my uncomfortable state for up to 6 hours with just water to get me by [yeah, and we wonder how the ‘survivor’ contestants practice]. Long-distance travel, uhhh not so much. In anycase, much to the annoyance of the miles-guru at home, I am not part of any loyalty program and am therefore free to choose and ditch airlines at will. Nevertheless, the two main factors that stood out ensuring I repeated an airline remain the same across years—service, service, service!
All the supposedly newbie airlines had that going when they launched—United’s ‘Ted’ Delta’s ‘Song’ , JetBlue and more recently Virgin America. There was humor, a tad better service seat-to-seat and possibly a bit of fancyness to my journey [tv for every seat, ability to play games with random strangers in A23 and B44]. Food was still not a guarantee, and I suspect the ‘funny’ safety instructions gets jaded after the third time on the airline. But given equal costs, I would choose one of these rather than the legacy airlines.

But with factors that go beyond their control [airport issues, budget restrictions and cost-cutting measures], is service now more important than ever? With loyalty programs firmly tying customers to specific airlines, will service be crucial in moving customers away from competitors? Service is expensive , mind you. Will keep my eyes peeled for the next breakthrough marketing strategy in airline travel and service—till then, I will just desist all impulses to travel anywhere beyond a 10 mile radius.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Job Postings - from my network

Company: Nuance Communications, Inc. Job Title: Sr. Product Marketing Manager - Nuance On Demand
Description: Overview: Nuance Communications is the leading provider of speech and imaging solutions for businesses and consumers around the world with over $600M in annual revenue. Every day, millions of users and thousands of businesses, experience Nuance by calling directory assistance, getting account information from automated customer care centers, dictating patient records, and telling a navigation system their destination. Nuance Communications is headquartered in Massachusetts with offices worldwide including a large presence in the Bay Area.
One of our major areas of focus is developing highly innovative customer care solutions for the enterprise and call center markets. Nuance leads the industry in providing technologies and is looking to strengthen its position with next generation customer care solutions and services.
As a Sr. Product Marketing Manager in our Enterprise Division you will own and manage all product marketing facets of our On Demand Enterprise Customer Care Solutions. Bringing these solutions to market has the potential of positively impacting millions of consumers worldwide.
Responsibilities: • Work with senior management to define the company's long-term vision for Nuance On Demand's enterprise products and offerings to support profitable growth
• Define strategy and go-to-market plans to address specific business issues within company's target vertical markets
• Develop differentiated positioning and messaging supported by in-depth competitive analysis
• Write product marketing documents such as data sheets, product briefs and white papers • Plan and manage product launches globally
• Arm the sales organization with effective sales presentations, collateral, tools and training for Nuance On Demand products and services (i.e. business issue-specific product presentations, brochures, demos, and Web casts, data sheets, FAQ's.)
• Support strategic sales opportunities with key customers and prospects (e.g. RFPs and RFIs, sales presentations, product demonstrations)
• Conduct pricing analysis and develop pricing for existing and new products, and promotions • Evaluate market performance to help develop and update company goals and objectives • Recommend product enhancements and priorities based on market research, industry-specific requirements and new trends
• Work with marketing communications on outbound marketing deliverables, promotions and events.
• BA/BS degree, MBA a plus
• 8-10 years experience in product marketing, direct marketing, and marketing program management for the Enterprise market.
• Deep understanding of Call Center, Customer Care and Speech Technology and Solutions
• Strong understanding of Software as a service and ASP business and delivery models • Passion for analyzing products, customers and market dynamics
• Experience in developing effective outbound positioning, communication, and collateral development
• Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
• Demonstrated capacity for developing and understanding strategy
• Strong aptitude for determining the optimal way to position products in the market

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Difference between Marketing, Advertising and PR

A handy little chart for those pesky questions you constantly encounter.

Job Posting

Forwarded by a friend.

On June 12, 2008, Kristine Latronica wrote: ------------------------------------------

Hi, I am looking for a Dir of Ad Sales in Chicago. Ringleader Digital is a mobile advertising start up, hq'd in NYC, with an office in San Francisco. We are growing fast and expanding to the mid West. If you know of anyone interested please have them email or Thanks for your help! Kristine 415-957-5836 x3301 Company: Ringleader Digital Job Title: Director of Mobile Phone Ad Sales (Chicago) Description: Must know online advertising and/or have experience selling to direct marketers and ad agencies.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

High-Value Retail Brands and Fashion Hops

Wal-mart is revisiting fashion wear once again. Remember how Target suddenly got all excited about Isaac Mirzahi? [designer dude. Designed clothes for Target. Big deal] Well, Wal-mart has a tougher sell—designer clothes are typically more expensive than the usual t-shirts and low-priced garments they sell currently. But get this, according to WSJ, higher fashion apparel and bedding have higher profit margins than other merchandise—almost 32 percent [10 percent above any other category].
I like Target [Wal-mart not so much, but that’s also coz I know the Target store map better. Go figure!]. I go there to buy my home supplies typically…sometimes cereal and such. Clothes? Not quite so much unless am looking for a basic black tee and the likes. Would I do an afternoon’s worth of fashion shopping there? Most likely not. Does the ‘designer’ label convince me? Maybe it will. The trick is, with places like Target that have a lot of value-shoppers anyway, there is no real differentiation between the apparels and the ‘designer’ apparel sections. Somehow I think that’s key—I don’t want my slightly pricier designer apparel bundled up near the discount section, where is the exclusivity of purchasing something that costs more?
I think with most of these stores, in-store design is never given a second thought. And it should be given its due credit—if you jump into fashion lines, mark out the space in your store that will reflect that attitude and make it desirable. Isn’t perception supposed to be everything?

Pharma Companies and Marketing

Pharma companies and Marketing

Pharma companies and marketing are a tricky combination. I came across a discussion on this in two separate instances last week. One at a work-related event and the other in discussion in class with Prof.Naik. Some interesting observations:
-Pharma companies seem notoriously out of touch with consumer perceptions. You only need to look at their ads on TV to realize that ‘differentiation’ is a tough sea for them to navigate [some ED ads notwithstandingJ].
-Pharma companies need to analyze the chain of events from the time a doctor prescribes a medication to the actual purchase of the medication—what are the gaps? You might have noticed this at your own doc’s office. Samples that I receive or prescriptions are not always filled, and heck the Walgreens pharmacist oftentimes recommends an alternate brand [Consumer figures, pharmacist probably knows better. Docs are wooed by sales folk all the time anyway right?].
-As Prof. Naik says, Pharma brands are only recently new to the concept of advertising [and heck, do they have some serious legal issues to overcome before each ad they put out]. Companies deep in research and science and studies are only recently opening up to ‘marketing’ and ‘advertising’. So predictably takes a while. But if I were to suffer from restless legs syndrome, I doubt this ad would convince me to consider medical help [and hey, couldn’t they just send folks to a website for disclaimers?]

Monday, February 25, 2008

Didn't like Crystal Pepsi? How about Green Coke?

Add one more company to the thousands of others who are attempting to redefine their brand as eco-friendly. Although this time, it's one of the largest ad spenders and marketing savvy companies that the business world has ever seen. Coke is joining the green push, although they are going about it a different way. Coke's new 10 million dollar campaign attempts to broaden the definition of environmentalism and instead promotes the idea of "sustainable well-being".

In a recent article on, Michael Bush describes Coke's new campaign as an attempt to paint the beverages giant as a social "good guy" which is concerned about meeting consumer needs and supporting local educational and sports programs as well as the environment. "We're thinking of well-being from a mental, physical, community and environmental perspective that encompasses every part of our North American business," a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said. "We're using this to talk to all of our stakeholders and show our desire to be a better partner to all of them."

Last month Sapna posted a blog which ended with the question, "How important is the [green] label to what you purchase?" I'd like to follow that up with another question; As a Coke shareholder would you rather Coke spend their (and your) money on this green campaign or on initiatives that more directly improve the bottom line? Sure, this campaign may increase revenue eventually, but isn't the eco-friendly concept too played out for Coke to get much ROI from this campaign?

Regardless of the outcome, the bottom line is that companies that begin painting their brand green need to insure that they actually follow through on this commitment and it is not simply lip service. It appears that Coke really intends to be the social "good guy", but it may take consistent effort and action to convince skeptical consumers and green advocates that they truly have a green thumb. Illustration by Marc Simon