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October 2008 Marketing Archives

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Top Lessons From this Week

Here are some of the easy lessons to remember from the week

Appease your audience, but don't sacrifice product quality: Follow the example of VideoEgg's AdFrame Model and Southwest's latest expansion- focus on the right audience,provide more options for the user and reliable results for the advertiser

Set barriers and standards to attract the unique clients: follows a strict guideline: Only candidates who have made 100K are allowed to post resumes. As a result, the site has developed a positive reputation among the country's top recruiting firms.

The best way to enhance your brand may be a new alliance: Starz and Netflix combined to deliver more streaming movies to a customer base that originally joined for mail-exchange. As a result, Netflix is now attracting new customers that may not have considered joining as recent as last month.

Customers and investors want more than a revision or an upgrade:Nintendo and Apple appear lazy to the public and potential investors because they've lost their innovative drive and they're just repackaging old products. When we don't see any bold moves, it makes us wonder not what you're holding back, but why you're holding back.

 Crisis can open doors to opportunityIn times of uncertainty, it's important to remember the essentials. That's why it's not a bad idea to invest in tested and proven companies,I.E. Warren Buffet's $3 Billion dollar investment in GE. You should also consider how crisis will affect price and demand. When chaos erupts, people become self-reliant, and personal protection becomes a priority. Thats why if there's an ominous economic meltdown, it might not be a bad idea to invest in companies that produce safes,guns and security systems.




The Top Lessons From this Week By Matt O'Hern at 04:54 PM
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Nintendo's Next Gadget: DSi Disappoints at Media Debut

nintendo dsi

Nintendo's next hand-held device-,the DSi, (an updated DS) was unveiled to the press this week, but it didn't generate much of a buzz. In fact, the bigger story was Nintendo's vow to ship more Wii's for the holiday season. The outrageous demand for Wii makes it one of the most-sought after consoles, and the positive momentum shot Nintendo's profit up 47.7 percent to $2.5 billion last year. As for the DSi, it delivers a handful of new features, but nothing revolutionary.

New features in Nintendo's latest creation:

  • A wider screen (From 3 inches to 3.25 inches)
  • Camera (.3 megapixel camera)
  • SD memory card slot to store music,pics and video
  • Functions as an mp3 player
  • A web browser
  • DSi shop

Nintendo's lackluster overhaul is probably due to the fact that it was thrown together as quick solution to stymie the rising popularity of games for the Iphone. For those Iphone owners who have enough disposable income, they'll probably spend the $170 for the new gadget, but Google's Android, which will boast an open-sourced platform and sell for $180, may seem like the better choice.



Nintendo's Next Gadget: DSi Disappoints at Media Debut By Matt O'Hern at 03:52 PM
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Family Dollar Enjoys Profit Boost During Economic Slump

 We all know the U.S. dollar doesn't go as far as it used to thanks to inflation, Wall Street panic and countless other factors. The crisis has actually translated into good news for stores such as Family Dollar. family dollar logoDuring the economic slump. Anxious Americans are snatching up the best deals they can find, and they've provided a profit boost for bargain retail chains. An article at stated that Family Dollar's fourth-quarter profit rose to $53.2 million, up from $37.8 million from last year.

family dollar profit graph

Family Dollar's Chairman and Chief Executive Howard R. Levine told CNN that there were several factors for the impressive growth.
"Fourth-quarter sales benefited from the effect of the government stimulus checks distributed this summer," Chairman and Chief Executive Howard R. Levine said in a statement. "Strong sales of consumables and effective management of inventory risk, combined with disciplined expense control resulted in robust earnings growth...while we are not immune to the current economic conditions, our strategy of providing customers with value and convenience positions us well within today environment."

I'm convinced the bailout bill will pass, there are still plenty of people looking for work and there's no guarantee that the plan will make an immediate impact. In my opinion, it's still a good idea to bet your dollars on Family Dollar, because so far, everyone's loss has become one store's gain.

Family Dollar Enjoys Profit Boost During Economic Slump By Matt O'Hern at 12:07 PM
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Iphone's Stanza App May Lure More Readers than Amazon Kindle

In only four months, Stanza, an electronic-book-reader App for the Iphone, has been downloaded by more than 395,000 users, with an average of 5,000 copies each day . Compared to Amazon's kindle, which is projected to sell 380,000 for the entire year.(According to Forbes)
How did one Application become such an overnight success? The most logical answer is one simple word: Free.

The app was developed by Lexcycle, and if you don't think Amazon is feeling the heat, I went to at 10 a.m. and laughed,because the Kindle, was displayed front and center, as if it was making its debut, but it was released 11 months kindle

The Kindle sells for $360, and offers copies for an average of $10. Its main advantage over Stanza is that it offers 180,000 titles, including the latest bestsellers, while the Stanza's library consist of public domain books. However, Stanza's developer and Lexcycle's chief executive, Marc Prud'hommeaux,told Forbes that they're in the negotations with major publishers and anticipate a major announcement by January.

Once we've got that kind of deal done, you'll be able to do everything on the iPhone that you can now do on the Kindle: browse, purchase, download and read a book without interacting with your computer in any way.

Another strong advantage for Stanza is the simple fact that its an application, not another bulky device to lug around. Having said that, Stanza's ultimate success hinges on the outcome of those negotiations, because the young generation of Iphone users are much more likely to buy contemporary work rather than The Great Gatsby or War and Peace.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for similar apps to spring up in the App store as well as Google's Android app store. Healthy competition could produce easier and cheaper access to more of the authors and titles sought by every reader. Everyone, from professors, to lazy slobs like George Co"stanza" would appreciate the convenience.

george costanza with iphone

Iphone's Stanza App May Lure More Readers than Amazon Kindle By Matt O'Hern at 10:45 AM
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Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Tribute to a Marketing Icon-House Peters- the original Mr. Clean

house peters jr mr. clean

Today, America lost one of the most famous faces in commercial history, as House Peters Junior, "Mr. Clean" passed away at age 92.  He was the first actor to play the role of "Mr. Clean" for Proctor and Gamble's cleaning product. Eventually, his cartoon caricature became one of the most recognizable logos in american households.

Most of us immediately associate "Mr. Clean" commercial's simple jingle and the cartoon character, but Mr. Peter's live-action version, a strong,burly bald man, gave the  cleaner a reputation as strong and trustworthy product. Mr. Clean's verifies the power of branding. His image shows the signifcant relationship between customer loyalty and name recognition. 

In a sense, Mr. Clean was was the Google of household cleaners- the name replaced the product, similar to how Coke has become the common term for any soft drink. R.I.P. House Peters.

A Tribute to a Marketing Icon-House Peters- the original Mr. Clean By Matt O'Hern at 04:48 PM
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Southwest Airlines Expands as Other Companies Struggle to Survive

southwest airlines

In the midst of mergers between major Airlines such as Delta and Northwest, one company has defied the odds and continues to build on it strong base: Southwest, which just added a Minneapolis-Chicago connection to its flight list.

Through savvy tactics such as fuel hedging , Southwest carries more passengers than any other airline, manages to preserve profits and maintain low fares, while other airlines are scrambling for solutions. However, there is one major difference to this expansion, because Southwest typically adds multiple routes in a new market. So why didn't the ambitious airline add extra routes this time? Well, CEO Gary Kelly told

The outlook for next year is a little dubious for our economy, for the airline industry and for Southwest Airlines. You couple that with very high fuel prices and it's just a time for us to be very cautious.

Considering the comparatively high-priced tickets offered by Southwest's competitors, Minneapolis and Chicago passengers should greet the news with open arms. USA Today claims that  fares currently range between $270 and $436.50 one way for coach and cites Southwest's Dallas-Houston route as an indication of what it might offer between MSP and Chicago Midway, adding that fares on that route "currently range between $74 and $137 one-way. Those fares, combined with Southwest's promise of no extra baggage fees,means they already have a major advantage over the competition.

Southwest's slowed yet steady rate of expansion is a strong illustration that smart leadership can guide a company to success, even in an industry that's struggling through treacherous times.

Southwest Airlines Expands as Other Companies Struggle to Survive By Matt O'Hern at 03:52 PM
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Eric Schmidt debates Google's Future with Jim Cramer of Mad Money

Jim Cramer talks Google with Schmidt

Occasionally, I tune into CNBC to watch Jim Cramer rant and rave on Mad Money Yesterday, he spent 10 minutes with Google CEO, Dr. Eric Schmidt, for a rapid Q&A session. The stark difference in their personalities was amusing in itself. Cramer,with his bouncy,loud and emphatic style, versus the calm,cool and pensive Schmidt, who reminds you of a college professor.

Cramer voiced a concern that's probably weighing on the minds of investors across the world- Has Google hit its peak? He also reflected on comparable corporations such as IBM and Microsoft, who appeared to be invincible at one point, but ultimately hit their peak and stalled.

I worry there is a price where Google simply cant get any better.When I first started trading IBM and Microsoft , I thought they were untouchable.

Schmidt insisted that Google is immune from a similar fate because they're still enterprising and starting new projects, I.E., Trends, Earth,Android,etc.

These companies hit an "s curve" after rapid growth,and they stall because they can't grow anymore. The way you address that s curve slowdown is you keep adding other businesses. This is an advertising generation and advertising is now a multi-sector thing.

Fortunately Cramer immediately challenged Schmidt's formula and asked how Google's ambitious model for expansion won't earn the same stigma that Microsoft developed when the government attacked them as a monopoly.
Schmidt's reply? He used the pending advertising agreement with Yahoo as an example of Google's fair approach to business. He also boasted the benefits of  Youtube, which should prove to be an asset,regardless of the outcome from the online ad revenues. According to Schmidt, it's all about traffic.

Eventually we'd like to make some money out of it, but even if we dont', so many people come to Youtube that they ultimately go to Google and do google searches and go to google ads, since its such an enormous success globally we know we'll eventually benefit from it.

As for the future of Android, Schmidt refused to give any projections, because "the phone hasn't shipped yet,and he reiterated the point "it's software, and our  goal is to get lots of people to use the software to build a different platform."

I think Cramer's opening questions and concerns were valid, but I also agree with Schmidt's point that Google is still aggressively pursuing ventures and projects that should ultimately produce innovative ideas and valuable partnerships to keep them on the track toward the next tech breakthrough.

Eric Schmidt debates Google's Future with Jim Cramer of Mad Money By Matt O'Hern at 11:54 AM
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Warren Buffett Bets $3 Billion on General Electric

Buffet invests in General Electric

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who warned of an "economic pearl harbor" if the bailout plan wasn't passed, is banking on an American classic, General Electric, to weather the financial storm. Despite GE's gloomy September, Buffett believes that GE provides the essential items to maintain America's industry. He told CNBC, which is owned by GE.

It's the backbone of American industry.I'm sure they've got some troubles,but they're going to be around 100 years from now.

With an estimated worth of $50 billion, Buffett  has plenty of cushion if the GE investment proves to be a poor decision, but I think he sees the writing on the wall.

When you're forced to cut your spending and rethink your budget, one of the first priorities is to separate "wants" from "needs". When I was growing up, my dad always emphasized that principle, and I think most Americans will be forced to adopt that mindset in the weeks,months and possibly even years to come.  In my humble opinion,Buffett's investment implies that  Americans will begin to pinch their pennies, and as a result, the corporations that provide essential products,in addition to innovative ones, are the most reliable places to turn to.

As a result, investors might consider the companies that have established a solid reputation in household essentials, I.E.,light bulbs,microwaves,refigirators,etc. There are certain items we can't live without, and those items will continue to sell,regardless of the economic conditions.

Yesterday, while I was driving to lunch, I was stuck behind somebody who may have taken the "Seperating wants from needs" philosophy a little TOO far. Apparently, the driver didn't see the need for the rear section of his car. Many local employees at NASA are anxious about the pending layoffs in Brevard County. I wonder if he's decided to auction-off his car, one piece at a time.bad economy hits brevard driver

Warren Buffett Bets $3 Billion on General Electric By Matt O'Hern at 10:29 AM
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds?

paypal pays you later Let me preface this rant by asking - Have any of you have noticed changes to your Pay Pal account this week? I reached the point where I no longer have much interest in my DVD collection, and the dwindling economy was enough motivation for me to auction a few box sets on eBay,just for some extra cash.

I figured there were enough George Lucas fanatics out there who couldn't turn down a combo deal of $40 (Buy it now price) for both the Indiana Jones and Star Wars Trilogy collections. Within an hour, I had a buyer,and I proceeded to the next steps to complete the sale. To my disappointment, I learned that PayPal is now placing a hold on eBay transactions. Now, I'm by NO means a power seller, however, but I last week, I sold two other DVD sets and I had the money within the same week.

I've been an eBay and PayPal member since 2003, and I've purchased a decent amount of items during the past few months. I realize that most banking transfers usually require a day or two to process, but I'm certain PayPal never took 21 days to process my payment. Now, I'm not so desperate for cash that I NEED the 40 bucks, but I was curious about this new HOLD notification and I decided to contact Ebay's live help center, which eventually deferred me to PayPal. This was the Ebay Live dialogue, which was about as useful as a blister on my butt.

paypal holding paymentsMe-I have a question about a hold on funds from a transaction.

Ebay-Sure go ahead.

Me-Why is there a 21-day hold on the $43 from my sale? I've never had to wait that long before.

Ebay:I will be happy to assist you with this.(one minute later..)Please note that PayPal keeps this hold on some of the transaction.

Me:Ok, so you can't offer any explanation?

Ebay:You will be required to contact PayPal for more information on this hold.

Me:Ok, can you give me the contact info?

Ebay:Sure give me a moment.

He gave me the phone number, and I went through the same runaround we all do, until I finally found an option disguised as a solution to the reason I called for.

PayPal's Automated phone system: (paraphrased) Say Ebay if you have an ebay question

Me: Ebay

Automated response: Sorry, our agents are only trained to answer questions about PayPal.

I fiddled around the system and finally got to a live Paypal agent.

Me: "Why is there a 21-day hold on my last transaction?"

Paypal customer service: "Its not 21 days, it may be released 3 days after proof of delivery is received, or after your buyer leaves positive feedback

Me: I sold DVDS on here before,even last week, and I've never seen a hold notification, so was this recently implemented?

Paypal customer service: Paypal and Ebay is doing this for security reasons including - ebay member of less than 6 months, low feedback score,...

He rattled off a variety of reasons, including electronic items such as video game,cell phones and DVDs The list of reasons reminded meof those drug commercials where you hear "Possibe side effects may include..diarrhea,violent vomiting and hallucinations".

Ultimately, I got the impression that PayPal can use just about any reason to hold your transaction, but maybe it's just me. The mere fact that I'm seeing unprecedented 21 day holds just makes me wonder if they're holding on to any cash they can during the next few weeks.

Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds? By Matt O'Hern at 03:00 PM
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NetFlix and Starz Add Thousands of Movies to Watch Instantly Online

Net Flix Teams With Starz

America's favorite mail-exchange movie rental service, Netflix, boosted its  "Watch Instantly" online option, by adding 2,500 new titles.

The influx is due to Netflix's deal with Starz Entertainment (LLC). As Netflix reduces its overhead for shipping costs, the deal also gives much more control to customers by providing easier and instant access the movies they love,such as the Spiderman series. As a Netflix customer, I can honestly say that prior to the deal, most of the "Watch Instantly" titles were mildly appealing, to say the least. (I.E.- Ralph Nader-An Unreasonable Man).

The article from today's Seattle-Post Intelligencer article states:
While this is just a fraction of the 100,000 titles Netflix has available on DVDs, Netflix says it continues to grow both numbers and eventually hopes to close the gap between them.The addition of the Starz movies means Netflix viewers will have access to streaming movies from studios like Sony and Disney earlier than they would otherwise. Because movie distribution rights are tied up years in advance, Spider-Man 3, for example, would not have been available for streaming for at least nine years, said Bill Myers, Starz's president and chief operating officer.

Nextflix's latest move comes only a few months after their alliance with XBox, and if they can combine with Starz  to produce an effective marketing strategy, imagine the potential impact this deal could make on  Apples Itunes' popular movie section. On Itunes, you pay an average of $2.99 for EACH title you rent .On the other hand, my monthly $8.99 one-at-a-time (by mail)  Netflix plan, I have unlimited access to instant viewing. It doesn't take a math major to realize the better deal.
If Apple doesn't formulate a similar model, they might see a serious drop-off in movie rentals and purchases.

NetFlix and Starz Add Thousands of Movies to Watch Instantly Online By Matt O'Hern at 11:06 AM
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October 2008 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (10 entries) October 1-4
  • Week 2 (16 entries) October 5-11
  • Week 3 (16 entries) October 12-18
  • Week 4 (17 entries) October 19-25
  • Week 5 (12 entries) October 26-31

Iphone's Stanza App May Lure More Readers than Amazon Kindle
Hi, I am Korea stutent. I am studying is on App. B...
by Do-A
Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds?
After everything I've read concerning...
by Annie Briggs
Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds?
PayPal recently settled a lawsuit out of court not...
by Gray
Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds?
Yes, this is crap paypal sucks i will not do busin...
by james
Is the Bank Fallout Hurting EBay and PayPal Funds?
I recently quit selling on Ebay beacuse of this re...
by James Fleenor

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