Monday, March 14, 2005

The New Era of Cell Phone Advertising

Back in the '90s, cell phones were the size of a large heavy brick and very expensive in the United States, in which only the wealthy could afford them. Right now, times have changed dramatically to where cell phones have gotten tremendously small and paper-thin in size and have become very light in weight. At this moment, cell phones have become so dirt-cheap and easily accessible that marketers will increasingly target cell phone users as a new means of advertising big time.

Demographically, marketers and advertisers alike are moving more towards targeting the extremely attractive teenage market segment. For example, pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile phones priced from only $50 require no contract and can very easily be purchased by a teenager. Making the demographics more attractive, the biggest cell phone message texters are the teenage to mid-20's segment that marketers will definitely go out of their way to reach. Without a doubt, there is going to be a very big advertising campaign aimed at the very young-at-heart, especially the teenagers. Cell phones have become so popular that almost all teenagers now own a cell phone. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, the United States is currently the second-largest single pool of cell phone users in the world. In addition, cell phones are becoming global advertising devices all around the world. For instance, messages from local retailers appear on cell phone screens to entice potential customers passing by with attractive discounts in Poland. As more and more people use cell phones, advertisements will inevitably follow them as well wherever they go.

Mobile marketing is becoming the biggest thing to do, right now! Without any doubt, cell phones will become one of the primary media for marketers to communicate with customers or potential customers at a one-to-one personal level. Even though fancy cell phone technology is still at its infancy stage, the number of current and future cell phone users are just too big to ignore. In promotions where people can enter into a sweepstakes by cell phone, they would have opted-in to the marketing campaign. As a result, these participants are usually awarded with coupons or promotional offers. Also, a restaurant can send a discount offer to cell phone users right before lunchtime to encourage people to go to their restaurant for lunch. On Friday nights, a bar can send coupons or promotional offers for happy-hours to those cell phone users getting ready to get off of work.

The downside to cell phone marketing, however, is that standards or guidelines can restrict or limit the growth of mobile marketing. So, marketers need to consider the standards before regulators get in the way of cell phone marketing, since mobile spam is a customers' greatest worry and fear. Many people just do not want to be constantly bothered with unsolicited messages, especially from annoying telemarketers. Cell phone marketing is like a "double-edged" sword, in which mobile advertising is both appealing and dangerous at the same time. If a cell phone user decides to leave their cell phone on during a business meeting with the sound off, the cell phone user can get very upset if they see a text message that tells him or her to "Drink Pepsi."

All marketers must be looking forward to the day when they can use video or other fancy images with cell phones to advertise, just like they have been advertising online during only the last few years. Few cell phones have this advanced capability, but the numbers are expected to grow in millions within the next couple of years in the United States. Just like how the very simplistic banner ads were advertised online back in the '90s, cell phone or mobile marketing is now beginning its technological evolution.

Believe it or not, Motorola has recently not only come up with a way to send advertisements to cell phones, but they can even check to see whether the message recipient actually went into the store with GPS technology. By tracking the cell phone, the company can then charge advertisers a fee if the cell phone user actually enters the store that sent the advertisement to the cell phone. For example, if you are passing by a Baskin Robbins, your cell phone can offer you a discount at the ice cream store. Amazingly, with GPS technology, the cell phone can tell the advertiser whether or not the recipient entered into Baskin Robbins, which can greatly help advertisers with their marketing strategies. It appears that Motorola is currently trying to keep up with the latest technological trends by using location-based advertising and GPS technology to follow the moves of cell phone users. However, the biggest question is whether the cell phone user will in fact give the marketer permission to have the advertisements sent to their cell phone. If the cell phone user gives permission, the more power to the marketer. On the other hand, if the cell phone user refuses permission, the advertisements sent to the cell phone will be negatively considered as being very obtrusive spam.

MobileComNetworks (MCN) is the leader in providing permission-based geo-targeted mobile marketing. Companies such as MCN are making cell phone advertising more evasive and popular. With MCN's Local Buddy system, users complete a personal profile, select the content that they would like to receive, and continually update their personal profile to ensure that they receive only the information and promotions relevant to their lives. MCN's Local Buddy System then sends messages to the cell phone as the consumer moves around during the day. For example, a consumer can get a special discount offer at a local restaurant right before leaving work. Permission-based geo-targeted mobile marketing is about to explode in the United States, especially with the younger consumers who like to talk to their friends with their cell phones for most of the day.

What is the next big thing in selling cars? To name a few, General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota may use cell phones to sell cars. Yes, you heard that correctly! These automakers are currently looking at using cell phones to reach more customers and to track their purchase decisions. For instance, people would sign up at their website and then receive data regularly about the cars. The more of a conversation that the car dealer has with its customers or potential customers, the more personal the interaction between seller and potential buyer. Unlike television or print ads, cell phone advertising can actually target a specific audience. Later on, as cell phones get even better, the technology might even allow consumers to take a virtual tour of the car on their cell phone.

Marketers are currently taking on a leadership role in adopting innovative methods to enhance marketing communications. Advertisers are rushing to mobile advertising, in which marketers communicate with consumers in a variety of ways via their cell phones. Since people grasp onto their cell phones wherever they go, cell phone users will have a hard time overlooking an advertisement being sent to their cell phone to the marketers' delight. The bottom-line is that mobile devices, such as cell phones, carry the promise of a new era in advertising strategy and integrated marketing communications. Sophisticated mobile advertisements are the way to the future.

Written by Vivian Woo

Friday, March 11, 2005

"Martha Stewart Returns to Work"

One of my classmates was challenging everybody in her article “Martha's Extreme Makeover”, asking what will be Martha Stewart’s marketing position after she will come out from the jail. And there is the answer…Martha Stewart wants to show not only to her fans but to everybody else that she actually learned from her past mistakes and from the time spent in the federal prison.

“We’re going to engage and inspire new readers and new viewers from whom these topics may have seemed alien, unfamiliar or even- believe or not-superficial.” said Stewart.

Does she really need “new readers” and “new viewers?”
As my classmate Guisselle said: “Martha Stewart was not doing so badly before she went to jail. She probably had more empathy during the trial from her fans, than any other person that has been caught up in an “Enron-like” trial-although she was far from that. The only people that backed off were the advertisers. Martha’s fans are probably more loyal to her than ever before.”

Then, did she really need to change and become more “ aware of the emotional power of the brand?” Definitely, it is something that everybody will be curious to watch. I am not a fan of MS, but I am curious to see what the new campaign will bring and what will be the next step Martha Stewart’s marketing team will take.


Camelia B

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Marketing Changes

The world changes, we are entering in a new marketing era. Marketing in its simplest form is like selling and trading. It has been around for as long as humans have been on this earth; however, marketing as distinct from selling did not commence till earlier this century. Marketing is not a science; it is a learnable skill. Marketing is nothing more than the ability to develop and maintain a credible ongoing business relationship between buyer and seller. It does sound like selling but it’s not.

Marketing has always been a very changeable business mainly because of the dynamics of the market place. Each year marketing organizations go to great effort and expense to develop marketing plans only to find that within 3 months into the planning horizon the situation has changed markedly and the plans are rendered obsolete. For this reason, one of the basic skills in marketing is to manage change, to be able to predict future market requirements and changes, and quickly respond.

In my view, the successful marketers of the future will be successful relationship builders. There is no doubt that the face of marketing changed with the changes in communication technology and transport technology. So where does this lead to in the future? In order to survive at least or prosper at best companies, marketers and organizations will continue to look for opportunities to develop a competitive advantage.

Nowadays, customers and consumers have a tremendous choice with respect of who they choose to buy from. Product differentiation is not where it's at in the future. Manufacturers have to develop extremely efficient and fast catch-up skills and an exclusive lead-time of at the most six months is all that anybody can hope for from any product development situation. More and more companies will look at differentiating themselves from their competitors in the delivery of products and services.

In my own opinion, as with today’s customers, today’s marketing mix has become more sophisticated. It is no longer just about the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Today’s marketing mix is now about (ranked in order of importance):

Customer Sensitivity – Employee attitude, customer treatment, and response to

Customers Product – Product quality, reliability, features

Customer Convenience – Availability to the customer, customer convenience, and selling.

Service – Post sale service, presale service, and customer convenience

Price – Price Charged, pricing terms, and pricing offersPlace – provider accessibility, provider facilities, pricing terms, and availability to customer

Promotion – advertising, publicity, selling, presale services, and pricing offers.

These entire fundamental changes in marketing which have been and will continue to dramatically affect the marketing environment in the next 10 years. I believe that the marketing mix will be more strategic and complicated. The list will get a lot longer and businesses are a lot more competitive.

What do you think?

Written by Jennifer Do

Marketing Engineering

The role and scope of marketing duties is growing from a typical departmental function to a broader function inclusive of many departments and individuals within an organization. Before it was pretty clear cut, you were either an engineer or you were a marketing representative and the two roles were well defined and very different. But now, more and more, companies are realizing that understanding marketing must be a part of an engineer’s developmental process.

Marketing and engineering have been considered two separates entities so far. The result of it is the proliferation of many cool gadgets that marketing and sales push to the market. This is especially true in Silicon Valley. But guess what, only few people can afford to buy the latest gadget, the rest of the population cannot afford it. Seven billion of people have different needs. Shouldn’t we (People from the industrialized world) use our talent and skills to address their needs? India is experiencing an amazing growth; however the infrastructure can not keep up.
China is growing at a very fast pace as well, they need more energy, better infrastructure and transportation, their purchasing power is increasing every day. Soon they are going to get enough money to buy what they want. What do you think they are going to buy? The latest gadget? The latest palm-pilot? I don’t think so. We need Engineer that understands marketing and marketing that understands engineering to redeploy what we have already in-house. No more new products, but old products applied to different needs.

We need to direct our technical talents toward solving simple problems affecting the majority of the population. We need to see China and India as an emerging market; we need to design our products around their market.
Engineers and marketing together need to have these customers in mind. This represent a shift in thinking from I have to make this product first to how can I solve this problem for a given population. It is not only a marketing job to figure that out but a combination of both, technical and marketing. This is my definition of marketing engineering. A profession geared to design simple products, extremely cost effective for a given population.

Written by Carmelo Sansone.

TiVo'S Impact on Advertising

On regular television, commercials have become a normal part of daily programming for countless number of years. With the invention of the remote control, viewers were able to switch over to other channels more easily when the commercials came on. In other words, the remote control influenced people to avoid commercials in great numbers. Then, TiVo debuted in 1999 and changed the way television watchers viewed commercials. With TiVo, television viewers had much greater control over what shows to record. With an impact upon advertising, TiVo allows the viewers to skip commercials, if they wished. Just as consumers are taking control over their television viewing experience with modern technology, such as TiVo, that allows them to record, play back, and fast-forward, advertisers and marketers alike have also been trying to revolutionize the future of television advertising.

TiVo's slogan has always been known as "TV your way," meaning that TiVo wanted its customers to feel that they are in total control of their television viewing experience. Sounds good to the consumer, right? Viewers can fast-forward through commercials; however, the only downside to this appealing feature is that TiVo customers cannot fully escape commercials entirely. As customers saw TiVo as being totally commercial-free, TiVo has also been attracting many advertisers and marketers. The idea of giving television viewers the opportunity to skip all commercials most definitely has been a very scary thought to marketers. In reality, consumers cannot really hide from marketing.

If TiVo consumers can fast-forward through commercials or skip commercials altogether, what else can advertisers do to come up with a different marketing strategy? Sometime in March 2005, TiVo viewers will see large billboards and small logos popping up over the television commercials as they press fast-forward through the many commercials. For instance, there could be contest entries, prize giveaways, or links to other advertisements. Also, TiVo created "tagging" technology as a way for networks to advertise television shows by showing a green thumbs-up sign in the corner of the screen during a show's promotion to remind viewers to record the show. These thumbs-up signs would appear during live commericals, inviting the TiVo viewer to click on an icon for a chance to enter a contest, receive a free DVD or brochure, or to watch another commercial.

For some advertisements, viewers can choose to provide advertisers with their personal contact information, so that they can get more direct marketing. To the benefit of marketers, TiVo sells data on the viewing patterns of its users, such as when they choose to watch instant replays and when they choose to press fast-forward through commercials. TiVo can expertly store an individual viewer's preferences and then later make suggestions. Then, this will lead to even greater direct marketing with consumers via TiVo advertising. According to Forrester Research, the number of American households with a TiVo recording system is expected to dramatically increase from 5% to 41% over the next five years. With such a significant projected increase in TiVo customers, advertisers will need to change the way they do marketing in order to adjust to the evolution of technology. If the marketers do not change their marketing strategy now, they will lose out on marketing to the large number of future TiVo viewers.

As another possibility for TiVo advertising, marketers have also decided to focus a little more on product placement to reinforce brand messaging to TiVo viewers. If TiVo viewers tune out on commercials, why not advertise the product within their favorite television shows? For example, Jeep integrated its brand into Fear Factor, the current reality series. With the viewers having such eagerness to skip commercials with the TiVo system, marketers have expanded the use of product placement within television shows. Thus, if product placement is done right, brand reinforcement can be very effective. However, you would not want to overdo product placement; otherwise, the TiVo viewer will try to switch programs.

As an advantage to both TiVo and its customers, the advertising revenue will probably drive down the cost of subscribing to TiVo. Then, with the lower cost of subscribing to TiVo, more television watchers would be more inclined to sign up for TiVo. TiVo sold space on its main menu to advertisers as a place for showing commercials that ran longer than the regular 30-second spots.

By late 2005, TiVo plans to develop a system that allows its viewers to purchase products and participate in customer surveys by using their remote controls. This sounds like "marketing heaven"! Consumers already encounter millions of advertisements a day almost everywhere they go on a daily basis from billboards to the internet. Ironically, wouldn't owning a TiVo be the most popular reason for trying to avoid these unwanted advertisements? However, if someone is not interested in your products, you are not going to get them interested just because you put your advertisement on TiVo. In the near future, we will have to see whether TiVo can take the marketing process beyond brand awareness.

Written by Vivian Woo

The New Marketing Tool: Lawsuits

You are a marketing consultant to a small, under funded, somewhat obscure interest group looking for exposure and respectability. T.V. and radio campaigns are out of the question.
Too expensive.
Word of mouth is fine, but too slow.
Have you considered a lawsuit?
If you are able to set aside for the moment, the legal, ethical, social and economic objections to that question and consider a lawsuit strictly on its marketing merits, you may have to admit a lawsuit can be a powerful marketing tool.
The moment a lawsuit is filed the parties attempt to convince their customers (the jury and the public at large) their product (their advocacy of culpability) will give them the highest value-benefit (a safer, more just society).
Take the recent lawsuit against the makers and distributors of the video game Grand Theft Auto III. First, a $ 246 million dollar claim gives the claimant instant credibility. Second, the lawsuit gives the claimant, or sometimes more realistically the lawyer or law firm, a vehicle to promote their message. In this case, it has once again sparked a debate over how much, if any, culpability the makers and distributors of violent entertainment should incur. Would the plaintiffs have achieved such a level of exposure and debate without filing a lawsuit?
I think not.
Moreover, if changing the tastes or habits of consumers is the goal, then winning the lawsuit is not necessarily essential. Note the campaign against fast-food restaurants resulting in “voluntary” healthy menu options. Or the persistent attacks against tobacco companies and gun manufacturers. Both were virtually laughed out of court for decades until finally one legal theory stuck. Closer to home, a discrimination lawsuit against Safeway filed by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area has given the civil rights organization front page coverage on the business section of a major bay area paper.
So, whether you’re consulting an inglorious special interest group on the best marketing scheme to achieve some flighty social goal or a “trouble-making” start-up attempting to bust-out onto the market or at least induce a corporate giant to buy it out---
Ask: have you considered a lawsuit?
And silently whisper…as long as you’re doing the suing and not the other way around.

Written by guest blogger Alexander Nunez (in substitution for my sister, Guisselle, who’s ill, but will return next week).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hot news: McDonald's unveil global lifestyle effort aimed at Kids

Will the new global marketing campaign help McDonald’s Corporation to make people (especially parents) change their perception about fast food? Why did the corporation finally decide to change its marketing strategy for kids?

McDonald’s Corp., the world’s biggest fast food chain, finally decided to change its global marketing strategy and promote “eating right” and “staying active”, especially in its message toward its kids. This is probably the result of numerous efforts of public health advocates and government to crack down on all marketers they blame for the child obesity.
Their message now is : “People should pay attention to the food they eat and their level of activity to find the right balance and “We have a job to do in communicating this message. We are not going to back away; we are not going to stop talking to kids in ways that are relevant.”
Somehow, I feel that McDonald’s message is not clear and in order to make people and especially kids to make right choices just by emulating their favorite characters and famous kids, it is not enough. This doesn’t mean that they will eat healthier…Is this enough? Maybe McDonald’s, as one of my classmates said, should follow up Phillip Morris’ strategy and finally recognize that their food , yes is true is tasty and convenient, but is not healthy, and kids should be aware that eating fast food all the time can put in danger their health and even look.

Camelia B

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Positioning and Communication

Today's marketing environment is more challenging than ever. Business-to-business and consumer marketers face powerful forces affecting their brands’ competitive positions whether they are selling a healthcare product, financial service, consumer brand, or new technology. These forces include rapidly changing consumer preferences, erosion in institutional trust, pricing and time pressures, along with far-reaching technological advances. Consumer and trade marketers need a competitive advantage in today's dynamic business and communications environment.

In marketing, positioning is the technique in which marketers try to create an image or identity for a product, brand, or company. It is the place a product occupies in a given market as perceived by the target market. A product's position is how potential buyers see the product. Positioning is expressed relative to the position of competitors. Effective positioning puts the company first in line in the minds of potential customers. Position can be used as a competitive advantage; therefore, it’s critical to identify the strongest strength of your product and use it to position it.

The book “The New Positioning” by Jack Trout, the author illustrated important keys of what marketers should consider when developing a positioning strategy. In the first part of the book, the author discussed about how the mind works as it relates to receiving and responding to marketing messages. Today, people are bombarded with information and marketing messages. In order to penetrate this noise, the marketing communicator must present a very simple, straightforward message in a way that is attractive to the customer or potential customer. In one of the chapters, the author talked about how the mind hates confusion and an overload of information, which can only create a mental clutter for consumers. Making it simple is the key because the mind can remember better with simple messages. In another chapter of the book, the author discussed about how the mind doesn’t change once it’s set with the image or positioning of any products. In my opinion, I believe that all of the key points the author pointed out in this book are absolutely true and valuable for most any businesses. Most importantly, these key points could assist marketers in creating better messages and communications to the customers, especially when the power of good PR has become a key factor to business’ success.

In today’s overly communicated world, effective communication has become more important than ever before. Effective communication skills are crucial for success in today’s knowledge-based society. In business and in the workplace, on the domestic front and in our social lives, we all stand to benefit from effective communication skills. The way companies communicate with the customers can make all the difference between success and failure, efficiency and ineptitude, profit and loss.

In my opinion, most everything we do tied to effective communication and sending adequate messages to customers. This is what IMC is all about. When one understands these two key concepts, one is on the way to the business success.

Written by Jennifer Do

Advertising with Blogs - Good or Bad?

Some of you who may be reading this article are currently new to using blogs or just quickly got influenced somehow to read and comment about our blogs for the sake of "Naked Marketing." Anyway, what really is a blog and why is there such a "buzz" over blogs nowadays via the internet? Literally speaking, blog is just a shorter name for weblog, a self-published online diary. Surprisingly, a lot of people who read blogs do not think of them as blogs, but maybe more as websites. Even though it is still only at the infancy stage, blogs can be a very powerful marketing communications tool for reaching interested prospective shoppers who spend much of their time doing research online.

Because blog readers have increased significantly from about a half a year ago, blogs are becoming ever more mainstream and popular. Initially, blogs started out as a political tool for commentaries and the latest news about the political campaigns. Blogging's extraordinary growth have been presentating a very big question to both marketers and advertisers alike. "To blog or not to blog?" That is the question! Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to blogging as there are advantages and disadvantages to pretty much anything in life. One of the most attractive aspects that can attract the advertisers to posting advertisements via blogging is that blogging can be dirt cheap compared to the high costs of other available communications media. For example, a number of "free" blog publishing sites, such as Google's can get anyone blogging within seconds. However, if you go into, you can view some of the ad rates currently available for prospective advertisers. For instance, these ad rates can range anywhere from a low $10 for a site with a small number of visitors to maybe a very high $10,000 for sites that have countless online site visitors; apparently, advertising with the use of blogs can still be tremendously cheaper than other marketing communication channels.

Advertisers should not only consider the low cost of advertising related to blogs because there can also be risk associated with blogs that are basically unprotected and uncensored media. As a great disadvantage, blogs can also be very scary when viewers and consumers get to talk negatively about the advertisers' products and/or services online while leaving the advertiser without any control over the editorials. Being more controlled by the customers or prospective customers, blogs are not supposed to be 100% credible. However, negative comments about an advertiser's services and/or goods can destroy a company's reputation with the possibility of reducing future sales to prospective customers who have already viewed the negative comments about their products and/or services. Blogs can be a little bit dangerous for some brands because the advertisers or marketers would not know what the blog editors are going to post on their blog site. On the other hand, clients or customers would probably enjoy being part of the dialogue on blogs to share their experiences about a company's product and/or service. In other words, blogs allow customers to be interactive with the company as well as with other customers or prospective customers. With blogs, the control shifts from the media and marketer over to the consumer or prospective consumer. Whereas, other communication tools, such as print ads and television ads, are more controlled by the company and does not allow the customers to openly voice their opinions about them. The bottom-line here is that marketers need to constantly monitor their blog sites to see what is being said about them.

In addition, the "to blog or not to blog" question for advertisers depends greatly on who the target audience is. Not all brands that post their advertisements on weblogs will become effective. Because blogs have been known to be good at reaching a specific target audience, marketers who want to advertise products that appeal to a mass-audience should stay away from advertising with blogs. Now, with advertisers realizing an emerging market in the field of blogging with more and more online viewers around the world, blogging is becoming more and more attractive and compelling to marketers. However, determining whether to use blogs for advertising truly depends upon the size and selection of the target audience.

As an example of a blog advertisement, Audi's sponsorship of the Jalopnik weblog has helped them to advertise to potential Audi buyers or Audi car enthusiasts who may be doing research online for commentaries about Audi cars. To view this Jalopnik weblog, please go to As a result of being a major sponsor, Audi gets banner ads and their Audi logo exclusively shown throughout this site without spending a lot of money on advertising. Did Audi make a smart move in sponsoring this weblog to market their cars? I will leave this question up to you to consider. With this latest buzz that bloggers have created so far, Audi is not the only one advertising on weblogs. Nike and General Electric have also begun advertising via weblogs during the past six months or so.

In conclusion, advertising with bloggers can be good or bad. If the commentaries turn out on a very positive note from the blog visitors, the brand will receive a good reputation and possibly a significant increase in sales or profits from the potential buyers who have viewed the positive feedback from others. With well-written editorials, the good news about the brand will travel at the speed of light through word-of-mouth. On the other hand, if the advertisements on the weblogs receive damaging comments or negative feedback from its consumers, the brand will face discouraging demand from prospective consumers and relative decline in sales/profits. Bad news as well as good news can travel very fast, especially with this new form of publishing platform that is becoming more and more popular with the passing of time.

Written by Vivian Woo

An Overview of Marketing and Politics

What is really sad in today’s society is that there are a few million people in the United States who vote for presidential candidates based on name recognition only. For these people, it does not matter what presidential candidates stand for in regards to social and domestic policy, economic factors, foreign policy or much less anything. They can be convicted felons and these voters would not even know it. This opens the door for anyone who is famous in some capacity such as Arnold Schwarzenegger (if allowed) or left wing lunatic George Soros to run for president and win. Scary thought.

From a marketing perspective, it would be easy to exploit this unfortunate opportunity and utilize specific internet marketing tactics like Search Engine Optimization, Pay-per-click Advertising and blogging to gain a competitive advantage over the other candidates. This is exactly what Howard Dean tried to do during the Democratic Primaries. He used the power of the Internet not only to gain recognition, but also to raise millions of dollars, and he was somewhat successful. In fact, one article states that the Internet invented
Howard Dean. Despite his off the wall, and quite deranged ideologies, he had several hundred thousand supporters.

Marketing has always been a critical element of presidential campaigning. As in business, marketing in politics can be as simple as letting people know that a presidential candidate exists (i.e., developing "brand awareness" without making specific claims, as Ford or Budweiser commercials do), or it can involve a more complex and detailed motivation for voting for a specific candidate or policy.

Name recognition is critical in any presidential campaign. Voters are unlikely to vote for a candidate they've never heard of. During campaigns, citizens usually follow only a few races at a time. Consequently, just getting people to recognize a name is the first and main challenge of many presidential campaigns.

Marketing can involve both traditional and new media, including fixed signs and billboards, print collateral, direct mail, websites and email, and radio and television spots. Usually, signs and billboards achieve only general brand awareness, while other media theoretically allow presentation of a candidate's background or a policy's expected effects. Direct mail and candidate websites are particularly good for presenting more detailed information in a setting where the major constraint is how much time a citizen cares to spend reading.

Candidate web sites have become standard features of even local races. Web sites often provide detailed policy positions, lists of endorsements, and candidate backgrounds – serving as clearinghouses of information about candidates. Web sites predominantly attract people who are already supporters, or at least leaning in the direction of the candidate whose website they are visiting. Consequently, a candidate's web site generally tries to reinforce the public's support, not to convert the already converted by disparaging the opposition. But in close races, like the recent 2004 Presidential Election, negative campaigning is likely to reach websites, too.

The broadcast media is so expensive that candidates often attempt only simple name recognition. Because of the expense and the difficulty in presenting complex arguments in broadcast advertising, many candidates engage in negative advertising and even slander. After all, it is much easier – and quicker – to condemn your opponent as crooked, dishonest, or incompetent than to offer detailed arguments about why you are the better candidate (i.e. the Swift Boat Ads, John Kerry’s flip flopping, President Bush and the National Guard scandal).

Marketing can also include non-media based activities like attending backyard barbecues, visiting citizens groups, and attending community meetings. All activities that give citizens a chance to see and relate to a candidate, and to understand something about that candidate, are critical to a campaign's advertising effort. There are tradeoffs, of course. A candidate can only attend so many barbecues, kiss so many babies, and meet so many people. Such "retail" campaigning must be combined with "wholesale" techniques like giving interviews with the news media and maintaining websites in order to reach thousands, not mere tens or even hundreds, of voters.

by michael brito

The Beauty of PR

Vietnam today is potentially one of the world’s most interesting business and marketing arenas. With approximately 80 million people, it is the 14th largest country in the world, slightly smaller than Germany, four times larger than Australia and boasts the most impressive economic growth in Asia.

After a recent introduction to a market economy and an economic growth that exceeds almost all other Asian countries, the Vietnam is actively working towards international economic integration and promoting investment and trade exchanges in order to build a favorable and fair business environment for all domestic and foreign economic sectors. Domestic private investors have already expressed higher confidence in the economy by increasing their investments significantly. A renewal of foreign investor interest is also apparent. The recent rise in ratings of Vietnam by various foreign rating agencies confirms a significantly improved perception of those abroad. In general, the economic outlook for Vietnam continues to improve and presents an enormous return on investment potential for many new businesses. However, major challenges still lay ahead and the Vietnamese business community must improve its competitiveness and be prepared to face trade barriers in its integration into the world economy.

In recent years, PR activities and its role in business has been thrusted into the limelight a little more. As we are all aware, PR has played an important role and is considered as an industry that has multiple functions that perform diversified activities. In developed markets, PR has been rising but conversely, advertising is falling. Consumers are no longer buying products because of TV ads, radio advertising, newspaper, etc. Consumers are getting smarter, or in other words, they are getting more knowledgeable as it relates to what is going on around them. These are some of the effects that cause by various factors such as the Internet, the technology, the level of education, etc. The Internet, ease of technology, educational levels, etc. are some of the various.

Interestingly, I just read an article about the recent change in regard to PR in Vietnam, and I was blown away with the information. A real PR industry has begun to form in Vietnam. Many new launched PR services have created opportunities for Vietnamese companies to increase their service quality, and at the same time helped their consumers to recognize the difference between various products, make adequate comparisons, and finally make their choices. In addition, by providing top-end services to customers, companies have helped themselves to become more diversified and true market leaders. The boom of PR in the Vietnamese market has helped the nation to become a strong and better place for businesses domestically/internationally.

In my opinion, this is great news and as person born in Vietnam, I am very happy for them . All this time, I thought that the power of good PR only affected developed countries such as the US, European countries, etc. This information has definitely changed my perception about Vietnam, and I believe that it will also help the nation to attract new potential investors.

PR has definitely changed the way of doing business in Vietnam and is one of the most powerful vehicles one can use to drive their business to success.

Written by Jennifer Do

Martha's Extreme Makeover

If you were on Martha Stewart’s marketing/publicity team—how would you advise her to improve her brand image after her release from jail?

So far, it sounds like Martha Stewart will be very busy trying to get back the reins of her business empire, but many in the media are speculating that her image makeover may include everything from an “Apprentice” like show, to keeping her old daytime television show, to writing a book on her experience in jail. There are those that say that Martha needs to work on making her image a bit softer, less “bitchy” and tyrannical. Thus, the different activities she may be involved in would emphasize the “softer side of Martha.”

My opinion? Martha Stewart was not doing so badly before she went to jail. She probably had more empathy during the trial from her fans, than any other person that has been caught up in an “Enron-like” trial-although she was far from that. The only people that backed off where the advertisers. Martha’s fans are probably more loyal than ever before.

So, what do I think she should do for her makeover? Focus on her fan base, doing some of the old things that made her brand so popular, as well share with her fans her experience while in jail, what she learned, new recipes concocted while jailed, and “lessons learned” to share with her fans. Give the fans a little more insight into the “Martha” that everyone thinks they know.

What do you think?

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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Market Plan for a market that doesn’t exist

Markets that do not exist cannot be analyzed. Suppliers and customers must discover them together.
When we are in the presence of a disruptive technology most of the market analysis fails because it focus on a set of data representing what is currently in demand, what customer wants. But do customers really know what they want all the time? Sometime they don’t. A disruptive technology shows a new way to solve a problem, a new approach. The application of a disruptive technology might be unknown at first as it happened in the past and their users actually discover new ways to utilize it later on. For example the Internet’ original idea was to connect two different site of the office building for sharing documents through a computer. Original inventors could never imagine the enormous potential their invention had. A marketing plan targeting a disruptive technology must focus on developing a set of actions to learn and study his potential customers. Some managers confronting disruptive technologies prefer to wait until others have defined the market. However this gives first-movers an enormous advantage. So managers faced with disruptive technology need to do their marketing homework, get out of their laboratories and create knowledge about new customers and new applications through discovery-driven expedition into the marketplace.
It is true that first movers do not always prosper. Some first movers with new products in new market have been surpassed by other firms entering later. For example, in the market for video recorder the first movers were Ampex and Sony, yet they were surpassed by JVC and Matsushita. The performance of a firm depends on the fit between its bundle of resources and the external environment. If there is a good fit between its resources and the external environment, then the firm will be rewarded with superior performance; however if the fit is poor, then performance will also be poor. To obtain a good fit an entrepreneur venturing a new market must analyze that key requirements are met. For example a key requirement can be that the technology of the company’s product fills a gap left open by the big corporation. When corporate business stagnates, chances are that a disruptive technology is on the way. You want to thrive on the gap left behind? then make sure there is a marketing niche and direct all your efforts to build some value for serving that niche. To minimize the risk of failure the learning process of your customers must be taken into account early on. Do not shot with a big gun, but start trying to understand what is the potential growth of new product, adapting and changing the product according to feedback collected back from a pool of elected users.

Written By Carmelo Sansone.

[1] Clayton M.: The innovator's dilemma [when new technology Cause Great Firmto Fail]
[2] R. Hisrich, Michael Peters, DEan Shepherd: Entrepreneurship.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Advertising Game

Probably you will ask yourself how far advertisers will go to attract new and new customers.This ad for beer is definitely funny and catchy. Don't you think? Enjoy!

Camelia B