Going Where CPGs Do Research (Shopper Marketing)

Focus Groups and Research LabsAt KnowThis.com, we are firm believers in the need for organizations to regularly undertake marketing research.  In fact, we go as far as to call marketing research the Foundation of Marketing.  As we observe in our Marketing Research tutorial, “Just as a well-built house requires a strong foundation to remain sturdy, marketing decisions need the support of research in order to be viewed favorably by customers and to stand up to competition and other external pressures.” The need to support marketing decisions with research can be seen in our recent post covering Gap’s decision to reinstate their old logo.

Gap Scraps New Logo After Taking Flak Online (MSNBC)

Changing a Marketing DecisionA classic marketing mistake taught in nearly all basic marketing courses is Coca-Cola's 1985 decision to change the formula of their flagship Coke product.  In a nutshell, during the mid-1980s Coke was being hammered by their main competitor, Pepsi.  At the time, Pepsi was running highly effective taste test advertisements showing their brand being favored over Coke.  As hard as Coke tried to counter this with their own ads and other promotions, Pepsi continued to gain market share.  With changes to promotion, pricing and even distribution not working, Coke felt the need to respond with the only marketing mix decision it had not changed, the product.  In particular, they altered the Coke formula, a drastic decision as the formula had not changed for almost 100 years.

Game Changer (Stores Magazine)

Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices to Help Purchasing It is a challenging time to be a retailer in the U.S. and in many other countries.  On the economic front, conditions continue to be a concern.  With unemployment rates not falling, credit remaining tight and uncertainty existing across nearly all industries, consumers are reluctant to expand their spending.  But, once things do recover retailers may face an ever bigger problem – a smarter customer.

Since the beginning of buyer-seller transactions in ancient retail marketplaces, sellers have benefitted from consumers' lack of information.  Seller have used this to their advantage in several ways including charging higher prices for products that can be purchased elsewhere at lower rates; getting consumers to make purchases of products that are not all they are advertised to be; selling consumers on the need for additional products or services such as protection plans; and many others.  This is not to say retailers deliberately take advantage of consumers (though some do), but to suggest consumers are often not fully informed when entering a retail transaction.  Technology, though, is changing this.

Frito-Lay Sends Noisy, 'Green' SunChips Bag to the Dump (USA Today)

Snack Food Company Problem with PackagingWhen it comes to making business decisions, marketers often find powerful forces affecting their decisions are located outside the organization.  As we discuss in our Managing External Forces tutorial, these forces are diverse and include economic, legal, governmental and competitive factors, to name a few.

Seasoned marketers know that it is not wise to ignore these forces, especially those that hold the potential to impact the organization directly in a financial or competitive way.

From Four Wheels to Two: Has Mini Gone Too Far? (Time)

Auto Company Mini Moves to Electric ScootersOne of the most difficult decisions facing marketers is figuring out how to grow their business beyond what originally made them successful.  For most marketers, there comes a time when the products that led to initial success have hit their peak and a decision has to be made on how to further grow the company.

As we observe in our Planning with the Product Life Cycle tutorial, many marketers, who see product sales stagnate (i.e., reach maturity), will often look to make changes to the product (e.g., new features, target new market, introduce lower-price models) in order to keep sales going.