- Published: November 1, 2013
Back in October we wrote about how the Christmas holiday shopping season was going to get underway on Thanksgiving night. We explained how Walmart was planning to open its stores at 8pm, which at the time seemed to give them a leg up on their rivals. But we also noted that competitors were not likely to sit back and let Walmart be the sole retailer to start early. And that has been the case as many retailers have matched Walmart’s opening time.
But now, competitors have something else to match, and they cannot do it in their stores. Today, exactly four weeks until Black Friday, Walmart rolled out its online holiday specials. By doing so, they have effectively dismissed the so-called Cyber Monday, the heavily promoted Monday after Thanksgiving when online sellers show off their special deals.
Of course, as with the early store openings, we would expect other retailers to follow Walmart’s lead. Expect to see more special online deals from other retailers very soon.
- Published: October 30, 2013
Here is the story of a market that appears to be changing. For years, sales in the toy market, which are mainly products targeted to those under the age of 12, was dominated by toys aimed at boys. Products like transportation toys (e.g., Hot Wheels, Matchbox, trains, etc.), video games and building products would easily outsell highly traditional girls’ products, such as dolls, dress-up items and play kitchen products. But now girls’ products are outselling boys' toys.
Yet as the story notes, the overall toy market is experiencing a considerable change. In particular, mobile gaming is threatening the entire toy market. This has led toy companies to expand their product offerings by investing in gaming companies. It may also suggest toy companies will be reducing the emphasis they give to traditional products.
It will be interesting to see if in 10 years the top sellling products in the toy industry are physical products or whether the future is in digital, online products.
- Published: October 29, 2013
Today is a significant day for us at KnowThis.com as it was 15 years ago today that we acquired the KnowThis.com domain name. The site has changed a lot over the years, not only in terms of its design but also its focus.
Below we summarize some of the key changes that have occurred.
(If you would like to learn more about our evolution, including early site pictures, see History of KnowThis.com.)
February 1998: The forerunner to KnowThis.com was published on a university library page. It was limited to offering a collection of links to Internet resources under the Marketing Virtual Library name.
October 1998: The site moved off the university server and began operating under the KnowThis.com domain. While the Marketing Virtual Library name was still a prominent feature, over the next few years that would change as the KnowThis.com would become the key branding name for the site.
Throughout 2004: This was a pivotal year for the site. There were many changes including moving from a static HTML based site to a dynamically coded and database operated site. Also, there were a number of important features added including our extensive Marketing Tutorials and the Latest Marketing Stories. Finally, probably the biggest change was the move to accepting advertisements.
December 2010: A significant site redesign led to the introduction of a blog-style layout. This layout is still the principle design of the site.
We would like to thank everyone who has visited KnowThis.com over the years. We hope to continue to provide good marketing information for many years to come.
- Published: October 28, 2013
Likely the first fundamental concept explained in any marketing course, whether in college, high school or even in our online tutorials, is the famous Marketing Concept. At the heart of the Marketing Concept is the idea that, to genuinely satisfy customers, marketers must give them what they actually want. As we note, the Marketing Concept is crucial because it ” … suggests marketing decisions should flow from FIRST knowing the customer and what they want. Only then should an organization initiate the process of developing and marketing products and services.”
This idea of finding out what customers want is a core objective of nearly all successful companies, no matter their size. As an example, this story about a small Colorado bike manufacturer, Big Shot Bikes, shows how offering customers the option of customizing their order is aimed directly at addressing the Marketing Concept. As noted in the story, the company’s inspiration for offering this build-your-own option came from Nike, and it NikeiD website, which allows customers to create their own footwear.
Yet, what may be most intriguing is how Big Shot can provide a customization option that builds and ships the final product at a price that is relatively competitive to store-bought bikes. You have to wonder whether the product-creation options and ordering convenience would suggest they could offer a somewhat higher price.
- Published: October 24, 2013
Everyone with an advertising supported website is well aware of how Internet advertising has changed in the last 10 years. Gone are the days when generating a nice revenue meant simply placing ads on a website. Things have become much more challenging as click rates on ads have dropped significantly and, thanks to technology, advertisers have become more sophisticated in assessing an ads’ effectiveness. Today advertisers know it takes a highly targeted and personalized approach to get customers to pay attention to ads.
However, targeted advertising is just one way marketers have fought back against low click-through rates. Another approach, and one that has been used in television and print media for years, is sponsored-content advertising. With sponsored-content ads, information is placed on a website by an advertiser in a way that may seem to match the website owner's content and layout. Often the content is presented in the form of a small article or even a tweet. These forms of so-called native advertising are becoming bigger everyday as content sites, such as newspapers and information sites, look for ways to generate more revenue. (For more information on native advertising see this link.)
But, with some forms of sponsored-content advertising, it is difficult to determine if the content is actually an ad or is part of the content produced by a website. Because of this it is attracting the attention of industry self-regulators. According to this New York Times story, there is concern that some forms of native advertising are not providing enough evidence to show they are actually sponsored- content ads. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also getting involved, not for potential regulation reasons (at least not right now), but to help the industry gain a better understanding of this evolving advertising method.