Monday, December 24, 2012

Defining "Price" Or "Pricing" In the 9P’s. Is Not As Simple.

In my Nine P’s / 9P’s © 2007, I define “Price/Pricing as “All aspects regarding pricing. The amount of money a consumer is willing to pay to obtain the product. Pricing includes  wholesale/retail/promotional prices, discounts, trade-in allowances, quantity discounts, credit terms, sales and payment periods and credit terms.

Pricing decision making also involves adjusting prices concerning the competitive environment, economic situations and involve buyer perceptions. Want a real-world example?

The WSJ has done a good job of investigating “Price” and “Pricing” at several stores and retailers. Marketing and Financial pros are adopting techniques for their websites to glean information about visitors to their sites, in real time, and then deliver different prices of the same products to different people.

Staples for one has acknowledged that it varies its online and in-store prices by geography because of "a variety of factors" including "costs of doing business."

The WSJ identified several companies, including Staples, Discover Financial Services, Rosetta Stone Inc. and Home Depot Inc., that were consistently adjusting prices and displaying different product offers based on a range of characteristics that could be discovered about the user.

Office Depot, for example, told the Journal that it uses "customers' browsing history and geolocation" from “Place” and/or “People” in the Nine P’s to vary the offers and products it displays to a visitor to its site.

Staples told WSJ that "in-store and online prices do vary by geography due to a variety of factors, including rent, labor, distribution and other costs of doing business."

It is possible that Staples' online-pricing formula uses other factors that the Journal didn't identify. The Journal also tested to see whether price was tied to different characteristics including population, local income, proximity to a Staples store, race and other demographic factors.

Statistically speaking, they reported that the strongest correlation involved the distance to a rival's store from the center of a ZIP Code.

Interesting how the Nine P’s are interrelated along with competitive factors.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How Important is Targeting in Marketing? Very Important. How important is Less Spam Worth to Facebook? About a Buck.

How important is Targeting in Marketing? Very Important.  How important is Less Spam worth to Facebook? About a Buck.
From today's WSJ and Atlantic Wire:

Facebook has their target markets and has garnered one billion monthly active users.

A company cannot serve all customers in a broad market. Companies distinguish major segments, target one or more and develop products and marketing mixes tailored to them.
What is Targeting? In the Marketing classes and in the classroom, I use these definitions:

  • Targeting: The market segment or segments toward all marketing activities will be directed. 
  • Target Market: A target market consists of a set of buyers who share common needs or characteristics that the company decides to serve.
So let’s use an example from today with Facebook:

Facebook has garnered one billion monthly active users. Did you hear that Facebook has begun testing a system for users to send messages to people outside their “network” or immediate circle of social contacts for a payment of $1? Facebook continues to look for ways to generate income and revenue. But what is spam or the lack of it worth to the user experience.

In their statement "imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful."

Facebook does let members send messages to those outside their network of contacts, but routed to "Other" folder. This new feature for $1 would let users send messages directly to a user's main "Inbox.”

To be fair:  Only individuals are allowed to send messages using this feature. Companies can’t send bulk emails to groups of users. But is anyone looking at Facebook and at their Facebook user experience or just revenue.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Execution and Some Background on Creativity in the Marketplace

For major financial, competitive and technological reasons, companies should be concerned with creativity.

Pay attention to Marketing objectives, strategies and tactics, along with the 9P's/Nine P's 2007©, in new ways; escape your mental patterns associated with a topic; keep moving in the thinking to avoid premature judgment and execution, are some of the topics I discuss in the classroom.

A few more: Whenever you ask employees or functional teams to generate ideas, always ask them to purposefully generate at least one outrageous idea along with the other ones. Gives the manager of the department or company the chance to explore.

Peter Drucker once said: Innovation is a core competency that every company needs. Increased distribution is an innovation.

In Marketing, the word “Where” can mean many things and places, especially under the Nine P’s or 9P’s of “Product” and “Place?”

From ClicZ today, “Truvia's Facebook-orchestrated Turning the Town Truvia contest, where the brand asked fans to say where they'd like to see the sugar substitute, has garnered 35,000 leads and increased Facebook fandom 25%. The campaign has also had a practical business-to-business effect as well, convincing Hilton Atlanta, Hilton Boston Logan Airport, Biaggi's in Chicago and the Fireman Hospitality Group, among others, to adopt the brand.”

Food for thought: Now I ask you, "Why are telephone keypads arranged with the digits 1 to 3 on the top row and while calculator keypads have those digits on the bottom row?"

But remember, real success only comes with the implementation of an idea; real success comes with innovation, with detailed, timely execution.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Does This Make Sense to Anyone But the Diet Pepsi P.R. people? How Can You Change the Ingredients, Sweetener and the Flavor Remains the Same?

How can you change the ingredients, sweetener, and the flavor remains the same? Isn’t consistency a product attribute? In the marketplace, boardrooms, grocery stores, restaurants, mass merchandisers, schools, liquor stores, and in the classrooms of Business, Marketing and Advertising classes, it surely is.Let's add 99-cent stores and the dollar stores, too.

From Advertising Age:  "Diet Pepsi wants customers to "Love Every Sip."

They admit they have lost customers, marketing share and awareness of customers, even “loyal” customers at Pepsi. As a marketing expert, are the Diet Pepsi P.R. people  trying too hard? Not believable to me, that changing ingredients and the sweetener do not change the "Product," especially if consistency has been a problem in the marketplace.

Consistency is a product attribute. The Marketing Concept is a philosophy and a practice for me. The practice of Marketing makes the customer, and the satisfaction of his or her needs, the focal point of all business objectives, strategies and tactics.

Diet Pepsi  will be featuring the tagline "Love Every Sip," TV spots starring Sofia Vergara of Modern Family fame and a new sweetener that's intended to give the flavor -- which will be unchanged??? -- more consistency. Really?

“Dine-in” AMC's Movie With Dinner Marketing Concept. Not Drive-in, Dine-in.

Here’s a new marketing "Product" or service concept from AMC Theatres. It’s their “Dine-in” AMC Movie marketing concept. Not Drive-in, Dine-in.

AMC is the nation's second-largest cinema chain and opened its first dine-in theatre in Southern California's Marina del Rey, a couple of weeks ago.  It’s their eleventh theatre of their new concept. Unfortunately we were away and had to wait. But more on that at the end.

Appetizers, entrées, desserts, beer, wine and cocktails are served at your seat, before and during the movie.

We saw “Lincoln.” But this really is more of a review of the service, marketing concept and execution.  I wanted to see and review the “Product” concept, one of the Nine P's in marketing, with the movie “Lincoln.”

If you are a serious movie buff, this is not the concept. Movies target many ages, and specifically 18-24 is not the "Lincoln" demographics. There were noises and sounds not associated with the dialogue and action from the servers, patrons, dishes, etc.  But back to the "product" concept and its execution.  The food is good… lunch, dinner or a snack. We had dinner. Popcorn comes in a ceramic bowl/dish. Interesting.

The experiences combine the cuisine and drinks/cocktails of a restaurant with the fun and excitement of a movie theatre.

How the concept works:
Your options at AMC include:
“Cinema Suites,” with recliners, a dinner menu and full cocktail bar. Under “People” one of the Nine P’s, guests must be 21 and over.
“Fork & Screen,” a casual in-theatre dining experience with a dinner menu and full cocktail bar. By the way guests must be 18 or over unless accompanied by an adult.

You get to reserve your seats according to your preference and the seating guide.

There’s a “MacGuffins,"  bar and lounge before or after the show. More on that in another Marketing post.
You have a call button at your seat and a server arrives to take your order. Not a problem. There were more servers and waiters than patrons at one point.

The food comes, routed from about three theatres away. The concept is extremely labor insensitive. Service was spectacular but there were no more than ten patrons in the theatre. Three servers: One took the order. One brought the drinks, and one more brought the dinner.  Menu is above average. Seats were like “Barcalounger-type” chairs.  Probably worth experiencing and trying again. I do feel we will do the "concept" again.

Let’s also talk about “Price,” another of the Nine P’s. As with other dine-in theaters, this luxury service comes with a price. The cost of a ticket at AMC Marina 6 will be as much as $17.50 (without food) depending on the day of week. We paid $12.50, and there was a coupon on the web for a free entrée if you bought another one, with two "over-priced" drinks. Another concept at Cinepolis charges up to $19.50 for the ticket at its California Westlake Village location.

One interesting additional point. We were a little slow answering all of the questions of the waiter. It is hard to hear with the previews in the background. We apologized and said we were jet lagged. The steward said: “Where did you fly from?  My wife said “Tanzania.” He looked like a wildebeest in the headlights. Sorry. Still jet lagged, the morning after the movie. Woke up at 3:11AM. That’s when I started to write this.

Note: Go to, and specifically to review all 9P’s in Marketing.