Category Archives: Marketing Strategy

What Went Wrong at Blockbuster?

When my family first started renting movies back in the 80’s we went to a small mom-and-pop establishment called Carmen Video in Camarillo, CA. It was decked out like a movie theatre complete with a popcorn machine – something modern movie rental establishments look nothing like.

Sometime in the mid-80’s the first Blockbuster video opened up in town and within 18 months Carmen Video closed its doors forever. Between you and me- I think the only reason it stayed in business as long as it did is due to a selection of adult videos that they kept locked up in an adults only section (more like a cellar) of the store, which I never went into.

Blockbuster put Carmen Video out of business, and dominated the home movie rental business for years, because it had the lots of copies of the latest movies. They also had a huge selection of video games.

In September 2010 Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In early 2011 they approached their creditors for more money- more debt, which is bad when you are already bankrupt.

What happened? Karma? Poor management? Bad investments? Antiquated business model? Competition? A combination of all these things? Continue reading

AT&T’s New Stance After iPhone Exclusivity

For over 3  ½ years AT&T was the sole mobile phone network to carry the most iconic phone in the history of mobile phones, the iPhone.

All of that has now changed as Verizon executives have officially announced that they will begin carrying the iPhone 4 on their CDMA network. A quick visit to Verizon’s website revealed a huge banner featuring the iPhone 4 with the copy reading “iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins.” Sales start 2.10.11.

The move has been rumored for months and AT&T has spent millions of dollars during this time to beef up its network and tout other smart phones like the Blackberry Torch from mobile phone manufacturer RIM, as well as other phones based on Android and Windows mobile operating systems. In addition, AT&T pushed early upgrades in an effort to lock those craving an iPhone 4 into 2-year contracts. Smart, but short-term. Continue reading

36.4B Reasons to Like eCommerce

According to an article by Ann Zimmerman of WSJ.com, people bought $36.4B of stuff from online retailers this holiday season (between October 31and December 23).

This represents an increase of 15.4% over the same period last year. Online retail sales now account for about 10% of all retail sales – excluding gas and automobile purchases. 1 in 10 dollars made in retail this holiday season was made over the internet via ecommerce enabled websites.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the article is that the sector that experienced the largest growth was specialty clothing retailers –up 25% over last year. This is interesting because most of us like to try stuff out – especially things we need to wear.

What does this say about our perceptions of the buying experience? Continue reading

5 Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

People like to use January 1st as the starting line for new goals or resolutions. What better time of the year to resolve to do a better job at marketing your own business, your employer, or yourself.

Here is a list of Marketing Resolutions we think that every small business owner or marketing professional should at least consider and possibly adopt:

1. I’m going start understanding how things really work

In our experience, lots of smart business people do a poor job at tracking key performance metrics. This is not only poor business, it is poor marketing. This is because your key performance metrics, like sales revenue, gross profit margin, asset turnover ratio, etc, can be your friends in marketing your business. They help you understand how things really work. By identifying significantly high or low periods of time, your key performance metrics can tell you how well your marketing is or isn’t doing.

By resolving to understand how things really work you resolve to identify your key performance metrics. You then resolve to evaluate those metrics to see how well your marketing is working. Continue reading

The End of Retail (as we know it)

On my smart phone I have two apps called TheFind and Red Laser. They allow me to effortlessly comparison shop wherever I happen to have 3G. This means I can comparison shop within the walls of any brick-and-mortar retail establishment. I have become what some have coined an “empowered shopper.”

In a WSJ.com article by Miguel Bustillo and Ann Zimmerman state that on Black Friday of 2009 empowered shoppers represented .1% of all shoppers that patronized brick-and-mortar retail stores. On Black Friday 2010 empowered shoppers represented 5.6% according to data gathered by Coremetrics.

How worried you are about this trend is dependent upon what type of business you are. If you are a provider of unique or vital services or utilities this trend may be interesting, but not alarming. If you are a seller of things online, this problem is not really new to you as online retailers have always been susceptible to instantaneous price comparison. But, for brick-and-mortar retailers this trend may be alarming. To some it may, like so many other technologies, represent the end of retail as we know it.

This trend may be alarming, but it does not represent the end of brick-and-mortar retail – just the end of it as we know it. These apps like so many other technologies will not ruin retail. The internet has not ruined newspapers or magazines (although it has certainly strained things) and Facebook has not completely ruined face-to-face interaction with your friends.

Here are some suggestions, from the marketing professional perspective, we have for our friends in brick-and-mortar retail: Continue reading

Make it Personal, Make it Profitable

If your business is like most businesses, you enjoy making a profit. One idea for making your business more profitable is by creating a more personal experience for your customers.

This is actually more than just a novel idea. There are several research projects that back  it up. A study by Garrity and Degelman, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, indicated that restaurant servers who introduced themselves by name and then personalized the experience for their patrons received an average tip of 23% compared to 15% for those that made no effort at all. That’s a difference of 53%.

You may not own a restaurant, but the concept of personalizing the customer’s experience still applies and can make your business more profitable. Here are a few suggestions on how you can better personalize things for your customers: Continue reading

The Genesis of Strategic Marketing—Tier II Marketing (Part II)

Tier II marketing, data- and research-driven marketing

In a previous article about the genesis of strategic marketing, I explored the first several components of Tier II marketing, what we call the genesis of strategic marketing and the departure from Tier I or tactically driven marketing. Again the foundation of Tier II marketing is data-driven marketing where all media (e.g. brochures, web sites, advertisements, etc.) are integrated or are characterized by similar graphics and messaging. Where the previous article explored key performance indicators, market research, customer segmentation, and positioning, this article describes the remaining characteristics of the organization engaging in Tier II marketing. The remaining characteristics include:

  • Marketing strategy drives tools
  • Touch Point Integration
  • Performance measurement
  • Marketing mapped to sales process

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Marketing Tools v. Marketing Strategy—Tier I Marketing

When it comes to the marketing function, many of business owners, executives, and yes, even those of us who are marketing professionals tend to be very diminutive in our thinking. Marketing is about tools and how to use them rather than a concise game plan that drives marketing decisions. When tools take precedence to strategy, the marketing function becomes no more than the process of developing content to fill brochures, ads, web sites and tweets rather than a deliberate and planned process where the strategy not only determines which tools to use, but how to use them as well as how to deliver a concise, integrated message.

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