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.
LinkedIn Jobs

Forward this job

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sign up for the Google Challenge!

Hi Marketing Association Members,

Want to be a part of the Google Challenge and help a local business with its marketing plan?

Well, here is your opportunity to shine!
Google is sponsoring the Google Online Marketing Challenge, which provides a compelling learning experience for students. Additionally, you'll compete with other students from around the globe for a chance to receive a trip to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California, with 7 nights accommodation in a 5-star hotel in San Francisco.
Here's how the Challenge works:teams of students will receive US$ 200 in Google adsto drive traffic to a business website of their choosing. Student teams willcompete with other teams from their institution along with student teams from allover the world. Teams can run their campaign over any 3 consecutive weeks between the 10th of February and the 24th of May 2008. Teams must submit their final report before the 14th of June 2008. Global and regional winners are announced July 2008.
This is not a simulation; teams gain real-world experience with a
real client. Google provides US $200 in vouchers, teaching materials and other resources.
The Challenge is open to undergraduate and graduate students teams anywhere in the
world. You will find details at
Sign up information: Please let Satish Ramachandran ( and Rena Chhit ( know if you are interested by February 18th. Information about teams: We've registered for 8 teams that can be comprised of 4-6 members, so if you're interested, there's plenty of room! Feel free to form your own teams, or if you'd like, we can place you into groups based on your location. Please keep in mind that you will be working with a local business, so you may want to work with people that live in fairly close proximity to you. We hope you will take part in this exciting opportunity! If you have any questions about the Challenge, please email Satish and Rena.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'll take the yellow and blue, no wait, maybe the black...

By now has everyone seen or heard about NikeiD? If not, let me explain. NikeiD lets average Joes like myself play make-believe rock star by allowing consumers the ability to customize their shoes and apparel. Always wanted to rock your initials on a pair of kicks? Now you can. Always liked the way purple and green looked together, but could never find a shirt with that color combination? Now you can have Nike make one just for you.

This, in my opinion, is genius. The Marketing folks at Nike have uncovered a key branding truth here. Your Brand is not what you say it is. It's what your customers say it is. We've all heard that "Perception is reality" and from a branding standpoint, this is absolutely true. Granted marketers can attempt to influence and control their brand perception through various marketing strategies, but the bottom line is that people will always view your brand through their lense.

By allowing consumers to customize their hightops, muscle shirts soccer cleats, etc., Nike has found a way to give consumers the Nike brand as a blank canvas and then provided a way for customers to express themselves using the brand. Brilliant.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Book review: Microtrends

I finished reading Microtrends: the small forces behind tomorrow’s big changes, by Mark Penn. The book was authored by the pollster/political strategist who identified the “Soccer Mom” segment in the mid-90’s. These moms turned out to be the swing voters in Clinton’s 1996 re-election; Clinton tuned his message to address the concerns of these undecided voters and win their votes.

In Microtrends, the author identifies 75 new trends culled from journals, articles, observations, and polls. The premise of the book is that only 1% of the population (3M people in the US) can create enough momentum to start a movement or launch a business. Each microtrend won’t necessarily transform into a major trend; rather, each represents a changing mindset or attitude that can impact many people beyond those directly associated with the trend.

With each trend, the author provides some stats for scale, attempts to provide some explanations, and identifies some implications as well as some potential market opportunities. The book is a quick read and provides good food-for-thought on market segments and market opportunities. It could generate some ideas for the upcoming New and Small Business Ventures course (Summer ’08). The book’s format, with 75 chapters covering the 75 themes, and each chapter about 4 pages long, makes for very convenient “in-between” reading.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Global Markets-What you sell defines how you sell

Allright, I admit my interest in Global marketing arose from a work requirement, but heck, McKinsey articles are not always my bedtime read [I know, biz school is supposed to make me think deep thoughts 24/7 but I refuse to fill my bedside table with research articles by consultant as yet]. My personal interest in companies reaching out to Global markets arose from the fact that I used to live in India when McDonalds made its entry [yep, i am not ashamed to say I made my weekly trek and stood in line for 45 minutes for a McDonalds meal]. Much as the advent of a Global company caused excitement, I believe its strong success arose from the fact that McDonalds customized. There was not a single McMenu in the country that served hamburgers--nope! there were pizza pies, and veggie pies and Veggie burgers.

Cut to 2007, opportunities in global markets for clothing retailers are described thus in the McKinsey article [subscription required]

""China: Small budgets, small wardrobes" shows how the country’s fickle consumers and strong local competitors threaten to undermine the multinationals’ efforts.
"India: Shopping with the family" explains the different roles that Indian women, men, and children play in making decisions about apparel and the way the market there is evolving.
"Brazil: Fashion conscious, credit ready" describes that country’s enthusiastic shoppers, as well as the efforts of banks and retailers racing to meet their credit needs. "

I related the most to the description of the Indian families, but note how differently the multinational retail chains, for example, would need to customize their offerings based on spending patterns. Last I checked, about 10% of India's retail sales came from 'chain' stores-yes, urbanization is changing all that. But remember, rural population and semi-urban cities are still strong.

So in effect, if a Macy's were to think of inroads into global markets given the sinking numbers in US, they could not carry forth their US marketing tactics to each of these countries. How different would the products need to be? How different should marketing and service be? [altering is a BIG necessity in Indian clothing biz] and how would loyalty programs change? Hardly any retail store in India offer 'credit cards' [there wouldnt be many takers anyway]. They do, however, have redeemable point cards [a HUGE hit]

The store to watch out for , I believe, is Wal-Mart. This is the only truly diverse brand I have seen so far, even in how it communicates to its audience in US. I see regular ads for Wal-mart on Indian channels. And their entry into countries like China includes customized offerings like 'bazaar like' fish markets and in India, they plan for a 'market-like spice stall'.

Yep, there are a lotta crazy things going on with Wal-Mart. But they get the idea of 'diversified marketing' and 'customized offering' in a way no other retail store has, so far.

Super Ads? Or Just Super Hype?

Ok, am admittedly an ad freak. In my [now and previous] workplaces, co-workers zealously followed Super Bowl ads to discuss over water-coolers the next day. On my part, I discovered Super Bowl was not really about Baseball or Worldwide teams about 5 years back, but ads i can watch forever, so have been stuck forever to viewing ads [Thanks Youtube!]

SuperBowl has progressed, in what is popularly the notion of 'ad integration'--which, last I checked, is in layman's term, a way of making sure all avenues are covered and measured. Lets take an example, last year the Burger King Whoperette ad [Whoperette was a type of burger. of course]. The ad was shown on tv, a website link prominently displayed. Then measurement freaks maniacally tracked the traffic to the website right after the ad showed [huge surge] to the day of Super Bowl [still strong] to a few days later [quickly petered down]. Additionally, they put in coupons for visitors to use while they visit a Burger King outlet [coupons, as we all know, are Trackable with a capital T]. Some ads flopped miserably in its 'integration' effort [where is the website? And if they did show a website, how did they customize it for the Super Bowl ad enthused visitor versus a general visitor?]. But overall, a lotta marketers learnt their lesson. Add the 'consumer created content' angle to Super Bowl ads [yeah, those home videos you stored on tape a few years back? you can probably use them now!!] and its a whole lotta hype!

Forbes rounds up Super Bowls ads here. Who are the players in Super Bowl ads? Publishers, for one. MySpace had a section dedicated to superbowl ads, complete with comments and commentary and 'making of' videos. Youtube had a 'Super Bowl ad' competition. Which pretty clearly means there are a whole lotta folks out there like me who would rather play a game of Scrabble during Super Bowl and catch up on the ads late at nite online [No no, we do have a life too].

Agencies---offline, traditional, online, interactive--name it, they are in it. A Super Bowl campaign is made up of a whole lotta smaller pieces that seperate agencies likely run with.

Marketers---The moneybags. GoDaddy, Dove, Bud guys--all jostling for a spot in the prime time. With writer's strike et al looming big, getting those precious eyeballs focused on TV has never been so important as this year.

The quality of the ads? Thankfully, that is still a discussion point. Coca-cola rocked I thought. see Below

Bottomline, Super Bowl is great for generating enthusiasm for a Brand. Ads, however, are a means to an end. The product is still key, and clearly the established brands are much more in control of Super Bowl than newer ones. But Super Bowl ads were never made to salvage any product--Dove ads of last year generated some great hype, but their marketshare sunk pretty low last year even though they had social themes to their soaps and shampoos. People still want the 'show me what you got and why its better' line of thought--take advantage of it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Brand Gap

What defines a Brand? Does a Brand have a $ value? How do you align your corporate strategies to best improve and support your Brand? This slideshow answers these questions and also serves as a great example of how to create a powerful slideshow...enjoy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Recent Book Reads

I came across this book 'Say it with Charts' recently-I knew it wasnt exactly a powerpoint tutorial book. Written by Gene Zelazny, its a nice guide to visual communication. Especially valuable when the natural inclination is to stuff a slide with 'Too much text' [havent we all seen them? the slides we need to really squint to read coz its jammed with text?].

Am starting to dig into this one, seems interesting so far. It focuses on audience, right use of charts, and especially on what would be the WRONG chart to use. Will write a review once am done with it. Has anyone come across an interesting book recently? Let us know--its always good to share and discuss new reads.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Internship List

One of our members, Lucy Li, put together a great list for internship opportunities in Marketing. Students are certainly interested in keeping tabs on these opportunities, so we decided to publish Lucy's list here. Please contact them directly if you wish to obtain more information:

Internship list
Internships available for environmentally conscious MBA students.

MBA Internship Program- Gap Foundation Strategic Alliances-
San Francisco

The Farber Program is a leadership program for MBA students, with a passion for social change.
San Francisco

Genentech:Part of a product management brand team, the intern will have an opportunity to work on projects focused on medical education,promotions and/or strategy.
South San Francisco
Summer 2008 Internships - MBA Positions Requisition ID 28655BRUS - California - Mountain ViewUS - California - Palo AltoUS - California - Pleasanton

Marketing Manager Intern: Yahoo! Inc;_ylt=AvcmtInejaWgu7SSNA49wdz6Q6IX
Sunnyvale, CA

We are currently filling entry level positions to service our growing client base.
San Francisco

Influencing the Influencers: Is it worth the effort?

I've occasionally wondered why millions of generally level-headed Americans flooded department stores in the 70's and spent their hard-earned money on bell bottoms. And not only spent their money, but actually wore them out in public! Seriously though, how did this (and other trends) begin? What ignites crazes such as this? Who should we blame for bell bottom pants, hush puppies, tight rolled jeans, and Disco?

In recent years, marketers have become increasingly convinced that by simply influencing a select group of charismatic, social alphas, they'd spread the good news of their product to the masses. Reach the influencers and you reach everyone. This theory dates back to 1955 when when the pioneering sociologists Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld wrote Personal Influence. They had argued that advertising affected society through a two-step process: Companies broadcast messages, which were then seized upon by "opinion leaders" who proselytized their peers. In recent years, books such as The Tipping Point have further explored this topic with similar results.

The Febuary edition of Fast Company, however carries an article (which you can find here) that outlines current research by Duncan Watts which contradicts the influencer theory and states that these special, socially gifted people have no such effect. Indeed, they have no special role in trends at all. Watts doesn't deny that influencers play an important role in society, as their peers rely on them for advice on everything from cellphones to vehicle purchases. However he goes on to say that influencers can not , by themselves, ignite an trend into existence.

The outcome of this study may have widespread impact on how marketers carry the message of their brand to the masses. No longer will it be easy as simply targeting a select group of social influencers. Check out the complete article here, and let us know your thoughts.

Is it worthwhile to influence the influencers? What do you think?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Payment of Fees Info

We are close to our kick-off meeting and we want to provide a platform for students to learn, network, meet alumni and have a lot of fun.

But...we need funds to bring you the highest-quality experience. Our fee structure is very simple. We are setting the total amount to $60 / student. $30 goes to pay the ASM fee and the remaining $30 funds our club. Please note: The fee is only $90 if you are joining both marketing and finance clubs.

Payment can be sent via check to:

Amit Raman
7855 Paseo Santa Cruz
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Please make the check to "UCD Bay Area AMA."

We prefer a check, but we will accept cash in person during our first meeting. The SRVCC will also have drop boxes during class to make your payment.

If you have any questions, please contact our co-presidents or officers. Thanks and we're looking forward to see you at our first event!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

99 bottles of beer? At a Discount too!

In one of our Core Classes [Marketing I think] our team came up with an analysis of the Wine industry-competition, should the winery sell to the big guys? Should they not? And so forth. It was quite fun, and it certainly helped that one of us was earlier in the wine industry [hoy@Emmanuel]. Now here is something along the same lines on the beer industry—Costco is looking to invest in private-label beers, using local Gordon Biersch as its brewer. See related article here

I love that a retailer chain like Costco is thinking about its own beer. Granted, am not a Costco member [I would probably save on kitchen rolls at best, and my place is too small to stash 50 rolls of everything]. But they have a ridiculously loyal customer base—who are obliged to enter Costco for every need [that yearly fee? Yep. That’s the catch]. And its not a bad deal at all, if you are buying enough things of value. Add beer to that mix [well, maybe a refrigerator too..i doubt they sell anything less than a 12 pack]. It’s a fairly popular drink, its usually bought in bulk, and bringing in the brand of Gordon Biersch only convinces the hesitant buyer into plonking it into their oversized carts already. And they are not, at this point, really competing with other retailers manufacturing their own beer brands either.

And for anyone who has been just reader on this blog, how about responding with a yes/no to the following question--- ‘Are you a Costco Member? Would you buy their brand of beer’?.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

How Green is Your Valley?

The FTC is updating its Green Marketing guidelines, focusing on unsubstantiated environmentally friendly claims, or what it calls ‘Greenwashing’. High time, I would think. I am not exactly a grass-green citizen, but yeah, I do my part of cloth bag carrying [ok, I do like the Trader Joe’s raffles as well] and hop into the ever-adventurous SF buses on a regular basis. But I have to admit, when I see the ‘Green’ message pop up from the time I use Webex [the claim is they reduce air-travel by making folks collaborate via Webex instead] to my latest ‘Green’ Febreeze, I want to stop and think about what is the real definition of Green here. Not to mention the guilt-industry that spawns off—case in point, British Airways [after you book your flight of course] pops up a message asking you to offset this transcontinental flight carbon footprint by planting Olive trees somewhere. Do I know where? Nope.

I might be one of the few hit by ‘Green’ Exhaustion, but yes, define what Green is before making claims. I wouldn’t think its an easy job for the FTC though---what Green is for a company like Zipcar is very different from what Green is for Trader Joe’s or Merry Maids. I would think it should be a culture within the company that consciously calls itself ‘Green’, to prevent dreaded backlash from the pro-Green consumers. It cannot be just ‘Green’ness in how they create the product. What does ‘Green’ mean to you? How important is that label to what you purchase?

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

The following rules were taken from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Jack Trout and Al Ries. The book provides time-proven marketing advice and is a must read for any marketing executive.

What are your thoughts? (ie, is it really better to be first, than it is to be better?)

1. It is better to be first than it is to be better.
2. If you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in.
3. It is better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace.
4. Marketing is not a battle of products, it's a battle of perceptions.
5. The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect's mind.
6. Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect's mind.
7. The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder.
8. In the long run, every market becomes a two horse race.
9. If you are shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader.
10. Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.
11. Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
12. There is an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand.
13. You have to give up something to get something.
14. For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute.
15. When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive.
16. In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results.
17. Unless you write your competitor's plans, you can't predict the future.
18. Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure.
19. Failure is to be expected and accepted.
20. The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press.
21. Successful programs are not built on fads, they're built on trends.
22. Without adequate funding, an idea won't get off the ground.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New UC Davis Bay Area Marketing Association Blog!

Welcome to the brand new Bay Area Marketing Association Blog! We anticipate this blog being an active, fluid site that we can use to exchange information/ideas, ask questions, give advice and get all the current information on Marketing Association Events and announcements.

Direct-to-DVD, no Longer an Ugly StepBrother?

NYTimes reports that 'direct-to-dvd' is no longer the loser tactic here. I remember movie-discussions that went 'whatever happened to that flick with xyz in the main lead?' 'Oh it went direct-to-dvd' [scoff]. No longer, NYTimes reports.

Interestingly, the direct-to-dvd strategy depends on the potential for a multiplex draw of a potential sequel. Can be a successful sequel? Make it. If not, push it out to DVD. But DVD sales are noteworthy in recent times--and the window for DVD releases is going down all the time, pegged at 2 weeks last i checked. Movie-theatre erosion? Most certainly. Not many people are going to the movie-theatres--with 45 or 60 inch screens adorning walls of homes, its an almost theatre-like experience, i am told [sorry, I still like the movie-theatre experience. Call me old-fashioned :-p]. And DVD release channels are increasing widely--from direct purchases, to viewership via PPV or movie rentals like Netflix, consumers are offered a plethora of choices to view their desired movies in the most cost-effective way possible.

And those exclusives! commentary, extra-clips, add on the goodies for the DVD-friendly audience to sweeten the deal. Movie directors like Quentin Tarantino spend months just working on their movie DVDs, understanding the cult-like potential for some of his movies. His recent 'Grindhouse' movie effort split up the DVD revenue by making it two separate DVDs--each for a segment of the two-sided movie. What's your movie-watching preference? Are you frequenting those mom-and-pop DVD stores still? Are you a netflix user? Do you pay 10$ in theatres every single time? Why?

[Eyeing the Oscar line-up]

Loyal to your Morning Fix?

MediaPost recently reported that McDonalds is entering the 'Coffee-wars', slated for a big stand-off in 2008. An excerpt here [MediaPost is a fantastic marketing and advertising resource online, free subscription btw]
"MCDONALD'S, WHICH TOOK SOME COFFEE ground from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts last year, has announced that it will install coffee bars with Starbucks-like baristas in 14,000 U.S. locations. Along with drip coffee, McDonald's will be serving lattes, cappuccinos, and frappes."

Starbucks made great headway in building loyalty for its brand--I know the second floor Peet's coffee compels some of the employees in my office to regularly take the elevator up to the third floor Starbucks-coffee machine, and less frequently, the opposite happens. However, loyalty erosion seems swift--Starbucks lost ground in loyalty according to the loyalty brand index just in the last year. They are starting to build their $1 coffee test [for the 'i am not paying 4$ for just coffee' people] and Dunkin Donuts is on the offensive, trying to reestablish its Americanness and its price-friendly coffee lineup.

McDonalds' jump into the fray, however, fails to impress me. They tried to jump into the 'salad' bandwagon and the 'fat-free dessert' bandwagon as well, with their USP falling back firmly on their $1 meal and burgers. However, its interesting that the likes of Starbucks is fraying its loyalty a bit. I would think building loyalty is now a lot more than just building cute cozy cafes, its a number of additional aspects to service. Has Starbucks deviated too much into the land of 'mocha-strawberry-blueberry-cinnamon' zone, losing out on the core coffee customers? Are elements like free wi-fi becoming more critical than Starbucks expects? I would think both--especially on service points like free-wifi. Starbucks has been busy building partnerships with T-Mobile for paid wifi for customers, and Apple for free itunes downloads--great! But what percentage of customers are T-Mobile and Apple users? If the mom-and-pop shop down the street offers free wi-fi with 2$ coffee and scone, is that a better alternative? I would think so.

What do you think?