Archive | Good and Bad Examples of Marketing RSS feed for this section

Bravo, Patagonia!

7 Dec

Patagonia is a remarkable company that is true to its original mission: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” Today, it “is a designer of outdoor clothing and gear for the silent sports: climbing, surfing, skiing and snowboarding, fly fishing, and trail running.” It operates online and through 30 stores.

What makes Patagonia distinctive from a social responsibility perspective is its giving back to the community, especially with regard to the environment. For Black Friday 2016, Patagonia pledged to donate all of its SALES revenue to environmental issues. Other companies sometimes pledge to donate from their PROFITS. But it is very, very rare for a firm to donate all of its sales.

As reported on the Patagonia blog by Rose Marcario:

“When we announced we’d give 100 percent of our global retail and online Black Friday sales directly to grassroots nonprofits working on the front-lines to protect our air, water, and soil for future generations, we heard from many of our customers calling it a ‘fundraiser for the earth.'”

“We’re humbled to report the response was beyond expectations. With your help, Patagonia reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales. We expected to reach $2 million in sales — we beat that expectation five times over. The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations working around the world.”

“Many of these environmental groups are underfunded and under the radar, and they are overwhelmed with your commitment. On behalf of these activists and every Patagonia employee, we extend a heartfelt thank you to our customers, friends, and community worldwide who showed up to #loveourplanet.”

“You can learn more about the past recipients of Patagonia environmental grants in your community here. This additional infusion of resources will go a long way toward addressing climate change and other serious environmental issues.

 

Click the image to read more about Patagonia’s Black Friday 2016 environmental efforts.


 

Ethically, Should There Be a “Pink Tax”?

5 Dec

Did you know that there are several instances when women pay more than men for the same goods and services? For example, nationwide, many dry cleaners charge a higher fee for a woman’s “blouse” than a man’s “shirt” — even if the items are exactly the same. This practice has become known as the pink tax. We’re at the end of 2016, and this practice is still in effect.

Consider the following excerpts from a report by Glenn Taylor for Retail TouchPoints

When Boxed.com lowered the costs of feminine products sold on its site, it brought awareness to the issue of the ‘pink tax’ — the higher prices charged for female-marketed products such as razors, deodorants, and body wash compared to similar marketed-to-male products. But Boxed.com hasn’t been the only brand seeking to raise awareness about the pricing gap.”

A recent RetailWire article spotlighted the actions of New York City pharmacy Thompson Chemists, which charged a one-day 7% ‘man tax’ in response to the pink tax. Although the drugstore didn’t actually add on a tax for male shoppers, it did give females a 7% discount on all items throughout the store. The 7% discount reflected a study from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs indicating that women’s products across a wide range of hygiene categories cost 7% more than men’s products sold in the city. As if this added tax wasn’t enough, feminine hygiene products also fall under the ‘luxury’ tax designation in 39 states, which means a 9% sales tax is charged for items such as pads and tampons.”

“Like many politically sensitive or gender-charged actions, the pharmacy’s tax was met with sharply divided opinions from consumers. While the move was reportedly received well in the store, it resulted in a flood of largely negative comments online as the story went viral.”

 

Click the image to read more on this topic from Retail TouchPoints.
 

 

Rogue One: May the Force Still Be with You

1 Dec

Last December, we wrote about the smash holiday sales of Star Wars toys, tied in to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

This year, on December 16, 2016, the latest Star Wars (Rogue One) installment will hit theaters. So, this post takes a look at some of the milestones the series has achieved — and at the new movie.

Here are some pre-Rogue One cumulative data for Star Wars, compiled by Statistics Brain:

  • More than $30 billion of revenue has been generated.
  • The global movie box office has reached $6.25 billion.
  • VHS/DVD/Digital revenues have hit $5.5 billion.
  • TWELVE billion Star Wars toys have been sold.
  • Book sales have exceeded $1.8 billion.
  • $3.5 billion worth of videogames have been sold.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the tie-in blitz (yes, these items are ready for you to buy!) for the upcoming Rogue One, reported by Erik Kain for Forbes [Note: This list is NOT a commercial; that’s why there are no product links. The list is only intended to show the mania surrounding any new Star Wars release.]:

  • LEGO Sets — “LEGO has been at the forefront of all things Star Wars for ages. This year is no different. LEGO has released some truly awesome sets to celebrate the new film.”
  • Rebel U-Wing Fighter — “If you’re looking for something a bit more heroic, look no further than the Rebel U-Wing Fighter. This is a nice twist for Star Wars fans, since we’re all pretty used to X-Wings by now. The set is a bit less complicated than the previous one, with an 8-14 age rating and just 659 pieces.The U-Wing may be the main attraction, but the characters it comes with are awesome.”
  • Video Games — “Star Wars: Battlefront is an online multiplayer shooter that pits the Rebels vs the Empire in maps on planets from across a galaxy far, far away. There’s content from Episode VII like Jakku, and there’s content from the original trilogy, including the moon of Endor. On December 6th, the final DLC pack drops, and it includes content from Rogue One. The Rogue One: Scarif pack will let gamers experience battles on the film’s planet Scarif a full ten days before they can on the big screen.”
  • Books — “Most of the books coming out about Rogue One won’t release until after the movie (because of obvious things like spoilers). Still, here are some options for die-hard Star Wars fans looking for some art and literature tie-ins to Rogue One.
  • Action Figures — “The larger ‘Black’ series figurines are especially great both for kids and collectors. You can get the 6″ Jyn Erso figurine for $12.50, Rogue One pilot Cassian Andor for $15.49; and the sleek Imperial Death Trooper for $15.99.”
  • Figurines — “An alternative to action figures, Funko’s POP figurines are as cute as they are addictive. Be careful when you start buying POP characters, because there always seems to be another one that’s even cuter. In any case, there’s tons of characters from Rogue One to choose from, ranging from a little over $5 to a little over $8.”
  • Razors — “A little off the beaten path of toys, books, and video games, we come to very sharp blades. Razors, to be precise.Gillette has some pretty cool razors available with some Rogue One branding. The boxes are cool because they have some great artwork, but the insides are also pretty neat.”

 

 

Does Avid Social Media Use Harm Your Career?

22 Nov

Over the years, we have posted a lot about self-branding, the importance of interpersonal communication (especially TALKING!), and similar topics. Last month, we discussedMonotasking Vs. Multitasking,” concluding that monotasking is a lot more effective than multitasking — urban legends aside.

Today’s post focuses on a recent provocative article by Cal Newport for the New York Times, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It“:

“Many people should follow me and quit social media. There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness, but the argument I want to make is more pragmatic: You should quit social media because it can hurt your career.”

“First, interesting opportunities and useful connections are not as scarce as social media proponents claim. In my own professional life, as I improved my standing, I began receiving more interesting opportunities than I could handle. I currently have filters on my Web site aimed at reducing, not increasing, the number of offers and introductions I receive.”

“My second objection concerns the idea that social media is harmless. The ability to concentrate without distraction on hard tasks is increasingly valuable in an complicated economy. Social media weaken this skill because they’re designed to be addictive. The more you use social media in the way it’s designed to be used — throughout your waking hours — the more your brain learns to crave a quick hit of stimulus at the hint of boredom.”

“Third, dedication to cultivating your social media brand is a fundamentally passive approach to professional advancement. It diverts your time and attention from producing work that matters and toward convincing the world that you matter. The latter activity is seductive, especially for those raised on this message, but it can be disastrously counterproductive.”

 
Click the image to read more.

Image by David Saracino

Image by David Saracino


 

PLEASE Be a Smart Customer This Holiday Shopping Season

21 Nov

Yes, Black Friday WEEK is finally here — after weeks of being bombarded by holiday shopping ads. This post has two goals: (1) To alert you to the possible deceptions this week and (2) to again present our THIRTY-FIVE holiday shopping tips.

Our first topic is this: Is Black Friday week really a good time to shop? Are there bargains that won’t be available after Friday? Let’s turn to Brian Chen, writing for the New York Times (1, 2), for an assessment of Black Friday deals:

“The overwhelming majority of Black Friday deals are duds. Retailers’ sales promotions begin weeks before Thanksgiving, with a smattering of modest deals that eventually build up to the shopping bonanza that is Black Friday. That is followed by Cyber Monday, a so-called online shopping extravaganza after Thanksgiving weekend.”

“It has become fashionable for online retailers to build up anticipation for Black Friday with so-called flash deals. These last only a few hours, putting pressure on consumers to buy with little or no research. Yet, however you shop, chances of snatching a great deal for a quality item are slim, because Black Friday is mainly for retailers to clear out unwanted goods and best-sellers rarely drop much in price.”

“Year round, The Wirecutter tracks prices across the Web to unearth true deals on high-quality items. Less than 1 percent of the tens of thousands of Black Friday deals online last year were good deals — that is, discounts on high-quality, well-reviewed, and durable products. This year, the situation is likely to be the same.

“A quick search on Camel Camel Camel, which looks up price histories on Amazon, [can be quite enlightening]. Some mediocre deals can be tricky to catch. Toward the end of October, Amazon listed a deal for its Kindle Paperwhite E-reader for $100. This may seem like a good deal because the retail price is $120. But at the beginning of October, the Paperwhite was discounted to $90 — a price drop that Camel Camel Camel could not detect because the discount was applied at the end of the checkout.”

 

Take a look at the following New York Times video for further insights.

 

 

Our second topic is this: How can you be a better shopper for the 2016 holiday season? Here are 35 tips (originally posted two weeks ago).

2016-shopping-tips
 

10 Tips on How Companies Can Be More Customer-Centric

17 Nov

A while back, Professor Joel Evans of Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business wrote an article about “Customer Centricity” for Promo Magazine (now part of Chief Marketer.)

The essence of that still rings true today — even more so given the level of competition faced. Here is that article (with only slight edits).

We are now in an era where the marketplace is so cluttered that it is more difficult than ever for any one firm to stand out from the competition—or even be recognized. As a result, a customer-centric approach is imperative.

Most firms promote as fact that they are customer-centric. Many even believe they are. But, one of the most abused terms in business is customer-centric. Here are three true examples to illustrate the point: (1) A leading department store branch is busy. In the women’s apparel section, the checkout line is long. In the shoe department (which is not leased), no one is waiting on line. The sales clerk refuses to ring up any apparel sales. The department store prides itself on outstanding customer service. (2) A customer buys a $100 gift card from a leading consumer electronics chain. The gift recipient spends $90 at the chain and asks for the balance to be remitted in cash. The request is refused. The chain prides itself on outstanding customer service. (3) A local bookstore promotes a policy to “beat any prices.” The policy is good for only three days after a purchase. The bookstore prides itself on outstanding customer service.

There are several things that firms of any type or size can do to truly be customer-centric. Here are 10 ways to facilitate the process:

ONE — Be your own customer. Interact with salespeople. Visit all your facilities. “Think like a customer.”

TWO. Be proactive. Use mystery shoppers to engage your employees in various types of situations. Do customer surveys. Adjust practices as necessary.

THREE — Encourage employee empowerment. A number of firms have cut back on employee flexibility in “bending the rules” for fear of hurting profitability. Yet, research shows that customers are more loyal when they feel the company listens to them.

FOUR — Small gestures can be big. Take a look at “Simple Truths of Service” and see how.

FIVE — Be as honest and informative as humanly possible. Don’t run a full-page ad with the word “SALE” if not all the items in the ad are actually on sale.

SIX — Every firm should offer a meaningful loyalty program. There’s no better way to be customer-centric than to reward continued patronage.

SEVEN — Match your sales staff requirements to your positioning. It is okay for Walmart to have a limited number of sales workers on the floor because of its low-price, self-service approach. Likewise, it is proper for Best Buy to have a lot of staff on the floor since it promotes more personal service.

EIGHT — Use customer-friendly signage. I once addressed a group of supermarket executives and made what I thought was a rather non-provocative suggestion: Have a large sign at the entrance depicting the full layout of the items in the store. My reasoning: With more men starting to shop in supermarkets, better signage was needed. The intense negative reaction to this suggestion was stunning. The supermarket executives thought this would cut down on impulse shopping. My response: If shoppers feel more comfortable and knowledgeable, there will be more impulse shopping—not less, I lost that battle. Supermarkets (and many others), for the most part, still do not have enough customer-friendly signage,

NINE — Run special-themed promotions throughout the year that are NOT price-oriented. Too often, firms view promotions only as “sales,” and run them frequently. However, promotions do not have to just focus on price. (Such tactics typically encourage customers to wait for the inevitable sale and not buy on full price). Examples of good promotions: Contests don’t only have to coincide with special events, such as the Super Bowl. Similar activities can be done at other times. Be creative!

TEN — Encourage employees to be more customer-centric. All those who personally interact with customers should have name tags—from the sales staff to senior executives. Every person who answers the phone (or makes calls) should state his or her name. Employee photos should be prominently placed. Recognition of good employee performance should be posted. One nice thing that I always observe is when a company has a parking space designated “employee of the month.” This is a signal that the company cares about people.

 

Can You Personalize Marketing without Shopper Participation?

16 Nov

One of the toughest issues for marketers to deal with in this high-tech world is how much to personalize their communication and offerings. On the one hand, marketers need as much customer information as possible to target individual shoppers more specifically. On the other hand, many customers want their privacy and do not appreciate it when they think they are overly tracked.

What do YOU think is the proper balance?

Here the thoughts on this subject by Louis Foong, the founder and CEO of ALEA Group Inc., (a B2B demand generation specialist):

“You want to give your prospects and customers a seamless, personalized, and sublime experience, and you know that you can’t do that without collecting their personal data. The trouble is, a lot of your customers don’t like the idea of sharing their information with you – what exactly are they so afraid of?”

“Findings by Boxever show that attitudes toward personalization and privacy are complex, and there are a few reasons why many of them are so against sharing their personal information with companies. The infographic below shows the trickiness of balancing privacy concerns and effective personalization.  Customers are also wary about receiving spam mail or offers that aren’t relevant to their interests. Only 14% of people say data collection through connected devices will improve their life.The other 86% either aren’t sure or don’t think it will improve their life.”

 
Here is the challenge.


 

%d bloggers like this: