Monday, December 13, 2010

Selling a service

Selling education, like selling any service, is difficult because it is an intangible.  However, unlike other services, education institutions must paint a picture of their service in a way that helps people to understand the value of their service in comparison to other institutions that can provide you with the exact same service.  This commercial from Wichita State University sells the idea that at their university, dreams can become reality, and people can alter the world.  They differentiate their engineering degree from other universities appealing to peoples' fantasy of making a reality out of a far fetched idea or childhood dream.  In reality, they are selling a four year degree.  As all students know, you don't go to class one day to find that suddenly your dreams have become reality.  A four year degree is a lot of multiple choice tests, classes taught by TAs with dubious English skills, and late night study sessions fueled by coffee.  Wichita State may have a good engineering program, but the image presented in this commercial likely is unreflective.  However, they sell the school in a way that makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  I want to go there and become a leader.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Guerrilla marketing

When I studied abroad in Switzerland, I took a weekend trip to Milan, Italy.  We rode the train into their main station and then used their underground to get to the Piazza Duomo.  Coming up the stairs from the station to the Piazza, you walk up a flight of stairs that has piano keys on it that play the tone you are stepping on.  This is a really interesting way to advertise a music store.  However, the one draw back is that most people going to that station are likely tourists who won't be buying musical instruments.  Also, many people will be so excited by the how cool the experience is and won't pay attention to the company promoting their product.  Even when I searched google for photos of the musical stairs, I could not find even one picture with the name of the company who paid to install the stairs.  


Product Placement

I've been thinking a lot about product placement because we seem to get asked a lot of questions about it during the research sessions for our marketing research requirement.  I began to wonder how openly and honestly people could actually answer questions like, "when you see product placements in TV shows or movies do you ignore them?"  I do not think I noticed product placements nearly as much as I do after taking Marketing 360.  They are so prevalent in TV and they often times seem so natural that it is hard to even notice them at all.

I decided to watch an episode of Weeds to see how many product placements there are in one episode.  There were several very obvious placements for the Toyota Prius (it was mentioned by name several times), Diet coke which the main character and her family drink regularly and Apple computers which are in every episode several times.  However, when I watched this randomly chosen episode from season 3, and actually looked for placements I found many more than I expect.  In one scene in the main character's garage, for example, there was an Old Navy bag, a case of Corona Light and several FedEx boxes.  In another scene at a drug dealer's house there were many boxes for LG TVs, a kitchen aid box and a case of Heineken.
When I asked my fiance whether or not he noticed a lot of product placements in the show, he said that there were some that he noticed.  Prius was the most noticeable for him, followed by diet coke.  Then after thinking for a while longer he could also recall seeing Apple computers.  I was surprised that it took him so long to remember Apple computers because every character uses one, I would say they are pictured between 2 and 5 times per episode.  That's a lot considering that they episodes are only 25 minutes.  When I showed him scenes at the drug dealers house, he was shocked by how many product placements there are that we both never noticed when we watched the episode for the first time.  I was very surprised as well.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Product Placement

The new computer science Barbie carries an iPhone.  Mattel, the parent company of Barbie also has an iPhone app for Barbies called "I can be".  This is an interesting marketing tactic to get younger girls interested and excited about Apple's iPhone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


There is a condom distributor, "Condomman", that sells on,  that buys Durex condoms in bulk from the company and then breaks bulk to sell them to customers through Amazon.  Since the condoms that he sells do not come in small boxes like 12 or 36 packs like condoms you would buy at the supermarket, he can offer them at a deep discount.  In this screen shot of Amazon, you can see that the 12 condoms MSRP is $9.99, yet Condomman sells them from $0.89.

Condomman's prices are so low because he is the only middle man in the supply chain.  Further, there is less packaging which also creates a savings.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Free-Sample-MM-Pretzel.pngWhen the Mars Company first release new Pretzel M&M's they were using a penetration pricing strategy to entice consumers to try their new product.  I was reading the Sunday paper this summer at my parents house, they are old fashion and still get a physical copy of the paper each day, and there was a coupon for a free package of Pretzel M&M's.  In this case, you did not even need to buy anything to get a free package of their candy.

This is a great way to encourage people to try the new product.  However, it could also lead to cannibalization because most people who decided to try the new M&M's would not also buy an old variety at the same time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Target Marketing

I already had a post about Facebook's ads a few weeks ago, but I have more to say...

My boyfriend proposed to me last week.  Last night we changed our relationship status on Facebook from "in a relationship" to "engaged".  As soon as Gavin changed his status, an ad popped up on his side bar for engaged people in Lewiston.  This is a hot air ballon company that offers a variety of different balloon riding options, including the option to be married in a hot air ballon.

This Facebook ad is a great example of Geodemography because it targets people in a certain region, near Lewiston, who are in a particular category, engaged.  Companies can very easily use Geodemography to target very specific target markets by paying Facebook for information on its users.  This company, Adventurist Air, probably pays Facebook a certain fee for use of information on users who are engaged so they can use geocoding in an even more targeted manner.