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Technology and Planned Obsolescence

27 Dec

As we approach the end of 2016, we are going to present some of the most popular of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing. Today, we cover the topic of planned obsolescence.

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As defined in Evans Berman’s Marketing: “Planned obsolescence is a marketing practice that capitalizes on short-run material wearout, style changes, and functional product changes. In material planned obsolescence, firms choose materials and components that are subject to comparatively early breakage, wear, rot, or corrosion. In style planned obsolescence, a firm makes minor changes to differentiate the new year’s offering from the prior year’s. With functional planned obsolescence, a firm introduces new product features or improvements to generate consumer dissatisfaction with currently owned products.”

In recent years, NO company has applied planned obsolescence more than Apple. Yes, this practice has led to rapid advances in the technology of music players, tablets, and smartphones. But, does Apple’s philosophy also spur consumers to buy new product versions that they don’t need?

Apple has recently been criticized for its planned obsolescence strategy. Do YOU agree with this criticism?

Consider these observations by Catherine Rampell, writing for the New York Times:

“The new software and recent app updates from Apple offer fancy new features that existing users want; maybe the battery is sealed with tiny five-point screws for aesthetic considerations. Perhaps, but this isn’t the first time that tech analysts and random crazies on the Internet have noted that breakdowns in older Apple products can often coincide with when upgrades come onto the market. Many have taken this as evidence of ‘planned obsolescence,’ a term that dates to the Great Depression, when a real-estate broker suggested that the government should stimulate the economy by placing artificial expiration dates on consumer products so people would buy more.”

“There is, however, a simple way to effectively render an old product obsolete without fleecing your existing customers. Instead of degrading the old model, companies can offer innovations in the new model that make upgrading irresistible. Apple succeeded at doing this for a while, offering new iPhones that included major improvements. In the past, consumers were so excited about the cool new features, like Siri, the voice-activated interface, that they may not have minded (or even noticed) if their old phones started to deteriorate; they planned on upgrading anyway. This time around, that’s less true. The iPhone 5S and 5C offer fewer quantum improvements. Consumers are more likely to want their old phones to continue working at peak condition in perpetuity, and to feel cheated when they don’t.”

[Note from Evans on Marketing: Many consumers still believe that Apple practices planned obsolescence with its latest lines of phones, tablets, and computers. In 2016, for the first time in years, had a quarterly sales drop. Do YOU agree or disagree?]

 

 
Click the image to read more.

Illustration by Kelsey Dake

 

Best Business Decisions Ever?

19 Dec

As we approach the end of 2016, we are going to present some of the most popular of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing. Today, we cover our MOST popular post ever.

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In 2012, a book titled The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time was published. This book is by Verne Harnish (CEO of Gazelles) and the editors of Fortune.

As Fortune’s Brian Dumaine said:

“Once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business as well. These big decisions are counter-intuitive — they go against the conventional wisdom. In hindsight, taking a different direction may seem easy, but these bet-the-company moves involve drama, doubt, and high tension. What made Apple’s board bring back Steve Jobs to the company?”

“What motivated Henry Ford to double the wages of his autoworkers, and how did that change the American economy for the next century? Why did Intel decide to spend millions to brand a microchip? The following stories, adapted from the new book The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, provide the background to these pivotal moments. You’ll learn how these groundbreaking decisions have shaped the thinking of today’s top leaders.”

 
Click the image to read the introduction of the book. [Please note: Since the publication of the original post, Fortune has removed its excerpts. However, the book introduction may be accessed from Amazon. After clicking the book cover below, wait for the pages to fully load; then scroll down to the introduction (which starts at p. 27). It is VERY interesting.]


 
What other “big” business decisions would YOU cite besides those noted?
 

Not Trying to Keep Scaring You About Online Security, But …

30 Nov

Yes, we at Evans on Marketing have made a number of posts about about online security, privacy, identity theft, and related issues. We’re not really trying to scare you, but we are trying to get you to be more alert and to protect yourself better online. That’s why we we’ve posted several tips, such as: 1, 2, 3 (a short video quiz),  and 4 (video tips).

So, here’s another alert for YOU!!  🙂 

Recently, AV-Test, a nonprofit organization that monitors online security, published its latest report. To grasp the highlights of this report more easily, TechRepublic has summarized what it considers to the top four points made by AV-Test:

  1. “Android is becoming more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats — While the majority of malware deployed in 2015 and 2016 targeted Windows, the most widely-used operating system in the world, Android is increasingly under fire as well. Malware attacks on Android platforms jumped from about 3% in 2015 to nearly 7.5% in 2016. Though it seems like a fairly small percentage jump, it represents an increase of millions of attacks, and marks ‘a significant trend away from Windows and towards Android,’ the report stated.”
  2. “Mac’s security fortress is just an illusion — Many Apple Mac users believe that the devices cannot be infected with a virus—even those using Macs in the enterprise, the report stated. And compared to Windows, the number of malware programs attacking Apple’s Mac platform is tiny: Just 819 malware threats targeted Macs in 2015. [Due to the small percentage of Macs in the marketplace — which remain at a 7.5 percent market share as of the date of this post.] However, that does not mean that these attacks were not serious. Plus, attackers would not need to program a large number of malware applications to obtain data from Mac users, as they rarely have antivirus solutions installed, the report said.” [Is this YOU?]
  3. “The rise of potentially unwanted applications (PUA) — A new cyber risk comes in the form of potentially unwanted applications (PUA), which are deployed by the advertising industry to track personal information on user and movement patterns, and to then display personalized advertising without the consent of the user. PUA represented nearly one-third of the online risks in 2015, the report stated, and are steadily increasing.”
  4. “The top 10 Windows malware of Q1/Q2 2016 — More than 85% of malware attacks occurred on Windows machines in 2015, with that number dropping to 67% in 2016. Some 12 million new Windows malware programs enter the market each month, the report found. Here are the top 10 malware for Windows to keep an eye out for.”


 
Click here to access the full AV-Test report. Click here to access the TechRepublic synopsis.
 

A Post for iPhone Loyalists

4 Nov

Over the years, Apple has revolutionized the smartphone industry — sometimes, with great advances from model to model; and other times, with more modest changes.

According to Statista:

“Since its introduction in 2007, Apple’s iPhone sales have consistently increased, going from around 40 million units sold in 2010 to more than 230 million iPhones sold in 2015 alone. iPhone sales worldwide generated more than 155 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2015. As sales increased, the iPhone gained space within the company, and has become the most successful Apple product to date. “

“The iPhone’s share of the company’s total revenue has jumped from about 25 percent in the beginning of 2009 to around 70 percent in the first quarter of 2015. As of the first quarter of 2016 (4Q ’15 calendar year), iPhone’s share of Apple’s revenue was at 68 percent, the third highest figure to date. Much of the iPhone’s success can be attributed to Apple’s ability to keep the product competitive throughout the years, with new releases and updates.”

 
Here’s an interesting video that shows how the iPhone has evolved over the years across several attributes.


 

Big Leap for Digital Ads

19 Sep

As we know, digital advertising has seen strong growth in recent years — at the expense of more traditional media. This year marks another milestone as digital advertising surpasses TV advertising in the United States. And as of 2020, digital will far outpace TV advertising.

eMarketer reports that:

“It’s no secret advertisers are flocking to digital at the expense of traditional formats. But the latest data show the shift accelerating faster than expected in the United States. According to eMarketer’s latest ad spending forecast, digital will overtake TV ad spending this year for the first time. eMarketer had forecast in March that the shift would not happen until next year.”

“By the end of this year, U.S. digital ad spending will reach $72.09 billion, while TV spending will grow to $71.29 billion. That means digital will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending, while TV will represent 36.4%. ‘Digital advertising is not only pulling dollars from traditional media, but it’s also creating new advertising opportunities at the local and national level,’ said eMarketer forecasting analyst Martín Utreras.”

 
Click the chart to read more.


 

What Generation Has the Best Future in Entrepreneurship?

8 Sep

As we noted in a prior post, according to the Pew Research Research Institute: “Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.”

So, given the huge size of the Millennial generation, what are its prospects for producing successful entrepreneurs?

Bob Horton reports for Online MBA Page that:

“Millennials may end up being the greatest entrepreneurial generation ever. Just think about it for a moment.”

“Digital natives have the upper hand in our tech centered world. The on-demand, plugged-in, Millennial generation is influenced differently than previous generations and molded by global happenings in real-time. Smartphones have provided improved tech resources over the last 10 years. Ready-made distribution platforms allow for quick tests of ideas, e.g., Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon. ‘Crowdfunding’ has enabled entrepreneurs to raise capital from online sources, rather than relying on traditional sources like banks to grow their business.”

“Independence is more important than a corner office. 67% of Millennials report their goals involve starting their own business. Only 13% report their career goal is to climb the corporate ladder to become CEO/president. Creative freedom is the key to real happiness. Since 1985, entrepreneurship classes on the university level have increased 20X, so educational exposure is at an all time high for Millennials.”

“Collaboration and coming together around great ideas rocks. Making a difference in the world is HUGE. 79% of Millennial employees who volunteered through a com­pany-sponsored initiative felt they made a positive impact. 57% of Millennial employees want company-wide volunteer opportunities. There is purpose over profit.”

 

Do Millennials Make The Best Entrepreneurs? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Ransomware: Even Worse Than the Name Implies

30 Aug

The term “ransom” has been around for hundreds of years and is best described as a way to redeem someone from captivity, bondage, detention, etc., by paying a demanded price.

Today, we have another destructive variation of the word ransom — that is “ransomware.” What is it and what can we do about it?

TechRepublic recently produced Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, written by James Sanders. This is an executive summary quoted from the guide:

  • What is it? Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.
  • Why does it matter? Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, criminal organizations are increasingly relying on such attacks to generate profits.
  • Who does this affect? While home users have traditionally been the targets, healthcare and the public sector have been targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.
  • When is this happening? Ransomware has been an active and ongoing threat since September 2013.
  • How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack? A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

Sanders adds: “For those who have been infected, the No More Ransom project — a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security — provides decryption tools for many widespread ransomware types.


 
Here are a couple of informative infographics by LogRhythm:



 

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