For retailers, figuring out what to stock in their stores for the holiday selling season is often the most difficult merchandising decision they face. It is especially challenging for retailers selling winter products, such as clothing, footwear and snow removal equipment, because weather prediction is extremely challenging. Consequently, estimating customer demand for winter products is quite difficult. And because retailers must determine how much inventory to order months in advance of the selling season, making the wrong decision on what customers will buy can mean missing out on significant sales (i.e., not enough inventory) or being forced to slash prices (i.e., too much inventory).

Designing a product’s package is often an under-appreciated marketing task despite it being an integral component in shaping a brand’s identity. While not all marketers focus enough attention on packaging, those that do are discovering how it can serve as much more than just being a container for the main product. This is especially the case with the advent of social media. Marketers are finding that unique packaging, that captures consumers’ attention, will drive social media activity. For instance, earlier this year, in Columbia and Denmark, McDonalds gained social media attention when it tested its McBike package that makes it easy for bike riders to carry takeout orders. And last year in Asian markets Coca-Cola introduced a variety of screw-on-tops that can be used to re-purpose standard plastic bottles.

Importance of Segmenting DoctorsIn several posts over the years, we have noted how challenging marketing has become in the pharmaceutical industry. For instance, in 2014 we discussed how changes in how drugs are prescribed will likely result in the need for fewer drug sales representatives. And in 2013, fears of potential legal problems was forcing some drug companies to change their promotional tactics.

The problems facing drug companies are also being heightened by increased competition. The number of companies seeking doctors to prescribe their products has grown in recent years. Doctors are being overwhelmed with promotional messages as competitors battle to be heard.  And, as a result, drug companies will need to adapt their promotional approaches if they want to remain competitive.