Marketing

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Mastering the ‘Name Your Product Category’ Game

When is the best time to enter a new industry? As it turns out, understanding the product category dynamics in an emerging industry and when a dominant category label has been introduced are important to identifying the “window of opportunity” to enter. Dominant category labels typically are introduced right before the industry starts a phase of rapid growth and consolidation. Companies would do well to track category labels before introducing a product in a nascent industry.

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Adapting to the Sharing Economy

Instead of buying and owning products, consumers are increasingly interested in leasing and sharing them. New strategies can help companies embrace this “collaborative consumption.” For instance, Ikea and Patagonia have found that helping people resell or give away products both enhances the companies' reputations and helps customers create space in their homes for new Ikea and Patagonia items. Companies have also found value in embracing opportunities to share existing assets and capacities.

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The Case for ‘Benevolent’ Mobile Apps

Smartphone apps that provide consumers with helpful information — instead of simply pushing product sales — can improve users’ preference for a company. As well, mobile apps that are about useful information, what the authors call “benevelance,” can significantly impact sales at a low cost and thus improve profitability. “A benevolent app can build trust, which in turn can lead people to consider purchasing your product,” write authors Glen L. Urban and Fareena Sultan.

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Customizing Social Media Marketing

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for social media marketing. Instead, companies need to tailor campaigns to fit their products. Recent research suggests that one key question that can guide the approach is whether a company’s products are primarily useful or fun. For instance, consumers expect to encounter messages about fun products on platforms like Facebook. In contrast, they will only glance over recommendations for useful products. Because reactions differ, so too should the social sharing mechanisms used to promote these products.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Phil Roeder. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tabor-roeder/14584628629
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Will Customers Be Fair When They Pay-As-They-Wish?

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The obvious risk of pay-as-you-wish pricing is that customers may be tempted to offer unreasonably low payment. But organizations as diverse as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wikipedia and Humble Bundle have figured out how to manage that risk and make pay-as-you-wish work.

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Can You Really Let Employees Loose on Social Media?

At Mitel, a $1.2 billion communications technology company, employees tweet about the company and are proactive on LinkedIn with only one rule: “Use your best judgment at all times.” There are no other rules. Martyn Etherington, the company’s chief marketing officer and chief of staff, has no problem with that. “We have to enable the majority and not hold them back by implementing catch-all policies that are aimed at a few.”

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How Effective Is Location-Targeted Mobile Advertising?

New research shows that mobile advertising targeted to consumers based on their locations can be effective. This is particularly the case with customers who have shown a high level of interest in the type of product being shown to them. Researchers also think that some users might simply need more time to evaluate the trustworthiness of an app or offer — suggesting that marketers might see delayed responses to location targeted mobile ads.

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Why Your Company Is Probably Measuring Social Media Wrong

If a teenage girl retweets you in Japan, will your video go viral in Brazil? Social business expert Jerry Kane argues that it might — because social media is a complex system, where small or seemingly unimportant factors can converge to produce large or unexpected effects. The challenge for managers in the social arena is to consider the unexpected instead of the linear “X means Y” thought processes. Managers should pay attention to four characteristics of social media that can affect outcomes.

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How to Win in an Omnichannel World

Retail customers now readily use both online and offline retail channels. To thrive in this new environment, retailers need to reexamine their strategies for delivering information and products. Companies that are successful at navigating the omnichannel environment take a customer perspective and view the activities of the company through two core functions: information and fulfillment. They also consider hybrid online-offline approaches, including inventory-only showrooms and “buy online, pick up in store” options.

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Why Social Media Will Fundamentally Change Business

Of you haven’t yet jumped on the social media bandwagon, you may want to hurry up and join. Social media is not a passing fad, but a permanent, transformative technological change to how companies conduct business. Social business expert Jerry Kane explains how social media is likely to fundamentally alter the business environment in the near future.

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The Upside to Large Competitors

New research suggests that a smaller company can benefit by making consumers aware that it competes against bigger corporations. In six lab and field studies, the authors explored the effects of having a large, dominant competitor and found advantages in highlighting a competitor’s size and proximity. “Small brands see consumer support go up when they are faced with a competitive threat from large brands,” write the authors. “This support translates into higher purchase intention, more purchases and more favorable online reviews.”

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How Facebook is Delivering Personalization on a Whole New Scale

As Facebook becomes more mobile-centric, it’s also becoming adept at laying its customer data over brand data and third-party data to create uniquely customized experiences for its users. In a Q&A, Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, details the power that comes from being able to overlay all that customer information. “Historically, we’ve never had the ability to have the scale of a mass media along with the personalization that digital provides,” says Chandlee.

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An Audio Summary of “Moving Beyond Marketing”

An audio briefing by Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane, co-author of the 2014 social business research report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte. The report indicates that that measurement sophistication is finally taking hold in social business. More than 90% of “socially maturing” companies actively measure their social business efforts. The authors explain why C-suite leadership is crucial to reaping value from social business.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Michael / Hello Turkey Toe. https://www.flickr.com/photos/helloturkeytoe/8782246559
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After a Social Media Gaffe: How to Recover and Not Dig a Bigger Hole

It was late at night when a staffer from the American Red Cross accidentally sent a personal tweet from the organization feed. Unfortunately, it was a tweet about beer. Immediately, there were thousands of tweets in response saying, “The Red Cross is drunk.” Wendy Harman, director of Red Cross information management and situational awareness in disaster cycle services, says that what happened next was a product of being prepared for social media mistakes and trusting that a little humor would help.

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Moving Beyond Marketing

The 2014 research report by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte finds that measurement sophistication is finally taking hold in social business. More than 90% of “socially maturing” companies actively measure their social business efforts, and measurement sophistication is starting to prove its value. As well, social business is becoming not just a B-to-C phenomenon, with nearly 60% of B-to-B companies saying that social business initiatives are positively impacting business outcomes. Crucial to all these efforts: C-suite leadership.

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Be a Good Sport With Social Media

Reaching out to customers on social media platforms can be a double-edged sword, particularly when the subject is sports. As airlines KLM and Delta discovered, there is a fine line to be walked between supporting the home team and offending a multitude of potential customers. Social media expert Gerald Kane offers some lessons derived from the Twitter errors made during the 2014 World Cup.

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Rejuvenating a Brand Through Social Media

When Nestlé UK invited customers to vote for a new chocolate bar flavor, the company’s target customers participated in droves. By leveraging social media for the Kit Kat brand, the company was able to build positive word of mouth through consumers who became brand advocates; increase sales; and generate a higher return on investment. The process followed a four-step framework that any company can use to extract valuable information from the vast amount of data generated by social media.

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When Customers Help Set Prices

To many managers, the idea of involving customers in pricing decisions seems counterproductive. For most companies, pricing is a sensitive, private affair. But it may be time to reexamine those ideas. Letting customers have input on prices provides opportunities for customization and can promote greater customer engagement. Opening up customer participation also offers a way for companies to create a new sense of excitement.

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Reimagining Customer Service at KLM Using Facebook and Twitter

For KLM, social business arose as a spontaneous response to the Icelandic volcanic eruption that spewed ash into Europe’s airspace for days, halting all air travel and stranding thousands of passengers. Since the abrupt birth of the airlines’ social business strategy, e-commerce senior vice president Martijn van der Zee has made the company a model for using social in customer service.

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