• Digital Jobs

    Which digital jobs are important for the future?

    The Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) questioned key decision makers and influencers (chief marketing officers - CMOs, senior executives, VPs, and directors) for its Digital Outlook Marketing Survey 2012.

    Question. Which of the following digital marketing skill sets, if any, are important to your organization?


    Note: The chart is from the study which can be downloaded here http://www.slideshare.net/sodaspeaks/the-soda-report-11690932.

    As you can see from the chart, strong writing skills are needed "to generate a constant flow of quality content that engages consumers."

    Digital brand management is also a growth area as programs aimed at sparking earned media and PR become an increasingly important part of the marketing mix. Also, strategic planning skills are in demand.

    How can college students use this type of research to direct their selection of classes? How can managers use this type of research for hiring?

  • Moneyball

    I'm often asked the question, "Is management an art or a science?" In the past, managers made decisions based on their gut instincts. Today, business decisions are increasingly based on statistical analysis. Statisticians help managers make sense of data so that objective decisions can be made. Thus, science enables managers to identify and execute a successful strategy.

    A popular example of data-guided management resulting in success is Moneyball, the 2003 book by Michael Lewis, which was made into a 2011 movie starring Brad Pitt. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards. It is the story of how Billy Beane the general manager of Oakland A's baseball team used statistical analysis to assemble a winning team.

    How does understanding statistics help managers make decisions?

  • Money Worries and Employee Productivity

    When I can, I watch the television show "Undercover Boss." In the show, a top manager, usually the CEO goes undercover as someone changing jobs, entering a new profession. Employees are told the camera crew is shooting a documentary. In the end, the undercover boss rewards the hardworking employees, usually with money to pay for college, rent, transportation, or a vacation.

    In general, the employees on the show s seem to have financial problems. So, it came as no surprise to me to read the results of a survey "Financial Education Initiatives in the Workplace" by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). (See the attached.) Human resources (HR) managers were asked, "In the past 12 months, have employees been more likely to dip into their employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, compared with previous years?" A majority (72 percent) of those surveyed agreed.

    HR managers reported that personal financial challenges have an impact on employee productivity in their organizations. Employees struggling financially, have trouble focusing on work and feel stress. The top financial challenges were lack of monetary funds to cover personal expenses, medical expenses, and saving for retirement.

    More than half (52 percent) of organizations represented in the survey provide financial education to their employees. Education might include financial planning, budgeting, paying for education, debt reduction, credit card use, homeownership, and taxes. Some offer financial counseling and resources.

    What are some good business reasons (besides improving employee productivity) for managers and employees to focus on financial education and counseling programs?

  • AT&T CEO Gets Pay Cut

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will get a $2 million pay cut for the failed T-Mobile deal. (Credit: Stephen Shankland/CNET)
    Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57383703-92/at-t-ceo-gets-$2-million-pay-cut-following-t-mobile-defeat/#ixzz1nGgKOjtV

    The failure of the AT&T and T-Mobile merger cost AT&T more than $4 billion. As a result, CEO Randall Stephenson's 2011 compensation was cut by more than $2 million by the human resources committee of AT&T's board of directors. (See the regulatory filing at http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/732717/000119312512070387/d282492dpre14a.htm.)

    Compensation takes the form of income. Money people received in return for their services is important to them financially for what it will buy, status, and recognition. Salaries and wages are determined by qualifications, performance, and pay for similar jobs within an industry, local labor market, and laws governing compensation.

    CEO Randall Stephenson's 2011 compensation was more than $18 million. Do you think losing $2 million will improve his performance in 2012? What does Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory of motivation tell us about compensation and motivation?

  • Google Glasses

    Wearable computer glasses will be available soon according to Nick Bolten of The New York Times. In his article, "Google to Sell Heads-Up Display Glasses by Year's End" (February 21, 2012), Bolten reports that "the glasses will have a low-resolution built-in camera that will be able to monitor the world in real time and overlay information about locations, surrounding buildings and friends who might be nearby."

    Bolten says that Google is not worried about making money with the new glasses. "Everyone I spoke with who was familiar with the project repeatedly said that Google was not thinking about potential business models with the new glasses. Instead, they said, Google sees the project as an experiment that anyone will be able to join. If consumers take to the glasses when they are released later this year, then Google will explore possible revenue streams."

    This story reminded me of Microsoft's future vision (2019) of input, display, and information aggregation. You can watch the Office Future Vision video at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office-labs. Do you think Microsoft will develop the glasses in this video? Will they do it before 2019?

    We all know that businesses have to make a profit. Who has the competitive advantage? Google? Microsoft? Who will buy Google glasses at $250-$600? Google makes money from advertising. Will wearers watch ads?


  • Social Media Policy

    Can employees be fired for posting or commenting about work-related topics on social media sites? Well, it depends. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has published two reports that summarized recent cases involving social media issues (August 2011) and updates (January 24, 2012) in this area of law. (The latest report is attached.)

    The reports underscore two main points:

    • Employer policies should not be so sweeping that they prohibit the kinds of activity protected by federal labor law, such as the discussion of wages or working conditions among employees.
    • An employee's comments on social media are generally not protected if they are mere gripes not made in relation to group activity among employees.

    Lawyer Kelly Shoening wrote, "Social media use in the workplace is a continuously evolving area of law. The cases in the NLRB's latest report illustrate that questions surrounding employee social media posts and employer policies are extremely fact-specific. In devising a social media policy, employers should avoid using overly broad language and should clearly define key terms so that the policy is not construed as restricting lawful employee activity."

    Barry Judge, the Chief Marketing Officer at Best Buy, discusses (in this video) the different ways Best Buy uses social media.

    Find Best Buy's Social Media Policy at http://forums.bestbuy.com/t5/Welcome-News/Best-Buy-Social-Media-Policy/td-p/20492. What would the lawyer think about this policy?

  • College to Career

    Getting from College to Career by Lindsey Pollak is a career advice book, focusing on getting a job after college. In the book, Pollak recommends looking for a job before graduation.

    One way, she suggests, to look for a job before graduation is to use informational interviews with networking contacts -- people you know and those you don't. Use the name of the referral when requesting an interview. "John Doe suggested I contact you ..." Let your contact know what information you want and that you will not take more than 20 minutes of his or her time. Prepare the questions before the interview, and send a thank you note afterward.

    Some of the right questions to ask include those below. Use the answers to create a to-do list.

    "What's your best job search tip?"

    "What was your first job, and do you think it was a good choice?"

    "What didn't school teach you about the work world?"

    "What's your opinion of the recent college grads your company hired?"

    How can learning about jobs help you to get the jump on your competition? Do you think it will help you get the job?

  • Management Memes

    Some students are so creative! And, they are funny, too! Brian Anthony Hernandez wrote "20 Colleges Where Internet Memes Are All the Rage" for Mashable. Richard Dawkins introduced memes in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. A meme is a unit of cultural information that is transmitted from one to another. Hernandez talks about humor based on college culture that is depicted on Facebook.

    Merrifield Consulting Group shares "Fast Growth Management Memes" in nine exhibits. See Exhibits 45 - 53 at http://www.merrifield.com/exhibits. According to Merrifield a meme "is like a personal value statement -- "Do unto others. . .".  Memes are combat-tested truisms that have competitively emerged over the years. They guide you towards more successful decisions. They are the smallest unit of intellectual message that can be transferred from mind to mind." Management memes would include "respect employees, satisfy the customer, and grow a business or perish."

    Mastermind Solutions has two videos on memetics at http://www.mastermindsolutions.ca/memetics.htm.

    Share your favorite memes in the comments.

  • Cisco Connected World Technology Report

    In this video, a panel of Cisco executives discusses the findings of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report. The next generation of workers will influence companies' abilities to compete. Read the report at www.cisco.com/go/connectedreport

    More than half of the study's respondents cite the Internet as an "integral part" of their lives. "For some, it more essential than owning a car, dating, and going to parties. Also, one in three would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer. These and numerous other findings provide insight into the mindset, expectations, and behavior of the world's next generation of workers and how they will influence everything from business communications and mobile lifestyles to hiring, corporate security, and companies' abilities to compete."

    Did this report describe you? Can you live without the Internet? Do you care more about your smartphone than your car?

    Video streaming by Ustream

  • Technology Kills

    The technological environment refers to new technologies, which create new product and market opportunities. Technological developments are the most manageable uncontrollable force faced by businesses. Organizations need to be aware of new technologies in order to turn these advances into opportunities and a competitive edge. Technology has a tremendous effect on life-styles, consumption patterns, and the economy. Advances in technology can start new industries, radically alter or destroy existing industries, and stimulate entirely separate markets. The rapid rate at which technology changes has forced organizations to quickly adapt in terms of how they develop, price, distribute, and promote their products.

    In this video, Eric Qualman discusses 40+ items technology will kill this decade. Do you agree? Why or why not? What items would you add to this list?

  • Employees First, Customers Second

    We've all heard "the customer is always right," and customers come first. But, have you heard "employees first, customers second"? That's what some companies best known for great customer service are saying.

    Today's print edition of the Dallas Morning News had a half page advertisement for the container store. But, it wasn't to sell Valentine's Day gifts. It was to thank employees. See some of the content of the ad below.

    We love our employees! National We Love Our Employees Day 2.14.12. On this day, of all days, we want the world to know how we feel about each and every one of our amazing employees! This is our third year of celebrating February 14th as a day of appreciation and love for all our employees for all they do for our company. Please join us in celebrating the thousands of GREAT employees who make The Container Store such a fun place to work and shop. Don't miss our video, OUR BIGGEST LOVE NOTE EVER on our blog standfor.containerstore.com/biggestlovenoteever.

    Why would a company known for great customer service put employees first and customers second? How does that result in great customer service?

  • New News

    David Amon reports that the recent news of Whitney Houston's death "broke in the same manner it would have in the 1960s: via an attributed source in a newswire bulletin, followed quickly by broadcast media keeping a diligent eye on the wires." He is president of Critical Mention, a company which provides real-time broadcast monitoring service.  First, the news was tweeted by two Twitter users. Later, the Associated Press (AP) tweeted the headline. Then, subscribers of the AP published the story. See the timeline of Whitney Houston coverage below.

    Source: http://channel.commpro.biz/broadcastintelligence/2012/how-did-you-hear-timeline-of-whitney-houston-coverage

    Even though the story "broke in the same manner it would have in the 1960s," people may not have heard the news in the same way, through newspaper, radio,  or television. Media companies in newspaper, music, film, books, magazines and television are confronting the harsh reality that in the digital age, their audience is declining. Today readers and viewers want digital delivery.

    Media company managers must change strategy. Successful companies are expanding their Web presence and innovating on the Web. They have added digital delivery, blogs, and longer print articles, adapting effectively to what readers and viewers want.

    How do get your news? What is the future for media companies? Will they survive? What suggestions would you make to media managers?

  • Unemployed Young Adults

    Young adults have the most difficulty finding a job, according to recent analysis released by Pew Research Center. Pew based its findings on a December 2011 phone survey of 2,048 adults, as well as data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Adults ages 18 to 34 are less likely to be employed than at any other time since the government began collecting this data in 1948.  The 18 to 24 age group is the most affected.

    Kim Parker, associate director of Pew's Social & Demographic Trends project said, "Young workers are on the bottom of the ladder, and during a recession like we've had, it's often hard for them to hold on. They are clearly less satisfied with their current circumstances than they were before the recession. This may be where some of the anger and frustration being expressed in the Occupy movement is rooted. They have a long way to climb back, and a lot of displaced workers to compete with."

    As a result of the tough job market, many young adults are underemployed, working in jobs they don't want in order to pay their bills. Some are working in unpaid internships. While others have gone back to college.

     What does unemployment mean for the future of young people?

  • TMI

    Managers need information to make decisions. Data (raw facts) must be turned into information (facts in a form suitable for managers to base decisions on). Global information systems include an organized collection of computer hardware, communication equipment, software, data, and personnel designed to capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and immediately display information about worldwide business activities. Today, it seems that managers have too much information (TMI).

    This Mindjet infographic  offers some suggestions for managing information overload. Which do find to be the most helpful?

  • Design Menu, Misunderstand Customer

    Decisions about menus are very important to restaurant managers. For years, most menus have been designed with a "sweet spot," an area lying just above the midline on the right-hand page where diners are thought to look the longest. Managers place the items they hope to sell the most in the "sweet spot."

    Caption: The diagram below shows the pattern of reading a restaurant menu that was thought to be the industry standard in the restaurant business. This scan path implicates a "sweet spot" just above the center of the right hand page, where it's believed that customers look the longest and gaze most frequently. Credit: Courtesy of International Journal of Hospitality Management

    San Francisco State University assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management, Sybil Yang conducted an empirical study of menu reading and found "that on average diners read menus sequentially like a book, and that their gaze doesn't linger noticeably longer over any particular location on the menu." Test subjects wore an infrared retinal eye scanner, read through a mock menu, and then choose a full meal as if they were at a real restaurant. Video recorded the readers' eye movements or scanpaths as they read the menu. (A draft of the study is attached.)

    Caption: The diagram below shows how we read restaurant menus, based on a new eye-tracker study by San Francisco State University Professor Sybil Yang. The research found that customers tend to read a restaurant menu sequentially like a book. These findings challenge years of conventional wisdom in the restaurant industry, which until now, proposed a more complex scan path with a "sweet spot" above the center of the right hand page -- an area where customers are thought to look the longest and gaze most frequently. Yang's results found no evidence of menu sweet spots. Credit: Courtesy of International Journal of Hospitality Management

    If you were a restaurant manager, how would you use this study to improve your restaurant's menus? Where would you place the items you want to sell the most?


  • Verizon and Redbox Compete with Netflix

    Verizon Communications Inc. and Coinstar Inc, parent company of Redbox announced they will start a DVD rental and Internet video delivery service later this year. Consumers can watch online streaming video and pick up movies at Redbox DVD kiosks. Verizon is a phone company offering its own cable-TV service (FIOS) in some areas. But, customers will not have to subscribe to Verizon's cable-TV service to get streaming video. Redbox has pay-as-you-go DVD kiosks in stores.

    The Verizon and Redbox venture competes directly with Netflix. Believing that streaming video is the future and DVDs-by-mail represent the past, Netflix announced (July 2011) that it would be eliminating its $9.99-a-month DVD rental by mail and unlimited video streaming plan. It would be replaced by two services, and customers of both services would have to pay two bills, instead of one. The plan was very unpopular and many Netflix subscribers canceled their subscriptions. Netflix miscalculated how subscribers would react to higher prices and reversed the decision (October).

    It is impossible for a business to develop strong competitive positioning strategies without a good understanding of its competitors. A business must provide greater value to the customer than its competitors. Being good is not good enough if a competitor is better. Do Verizon and Redbox understand Netflix? What do consumers want from their video experience? Do they want physical DVDs? In order to lower the Verizon and Redbox price, will the streaming video be ad-supported?

  • Super Bowl Ad “1984”

    More than 100 million people tuned in to the Super Bowl last night. Of course, most watched the game, but some tuned in to watch the commercials. Companies spent an average of $3.5 million for 30-second commercials. Some say that the popularity of watching the Super Bowl ads started in 1984.

    Apple's '1984' is one of the Super Bowl’s most memorable commercials. In fact, it is called a legendary commercial. In this interview, Lee Clow, then a copywriter at Chiat/Day, discusses how the ad almost didn’t happen. Steve Jobs thought the Macintosh personal computer was revolutionary. Just like in George Orwell’s 1984 novel, Jobs felt that IBM was Big Brother and the Macintosh was the only way to escape IBM’s domination of the computer industry. Jobs wanted the ad to run several times. But, Apple’s Board of Directors didn’t like the ad and didn’t want to run the ad at all. But, the ad ran one time during the Super Bowl. It was a big hit, and the ad ran in several large markets after the Super Bowl.

    Watch the interview at http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/art-super-bowl-ad-lee-clow-apple-s-1984-happen/232433/?utm_source=mediaworks&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=adage

    Eventually, Apple’s board of directors admitted that they had been wrong about the ad. What do you think about the ad? Do you love it? Or, do you hate it? Do your feelings matter? How can emotions affect our decision making? How can we be more rational when making decisions?

    Watch the "1984" Ad below.


  • Super Bowl Party

    Most of us will gather on Sunday to watch Super Bowl XLVI (NBC, 7:30 CT). Many people are hosting a party; many people are attending a party. According to a new survey by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association conducted by BIGinsight, nearly 63.6 million (27.1 percent) are planning to attend a party, up from last year's 61.2 million, and another 35.9 million (15.3 percent) plan to throw a party, also up from the 34.9 million who said they would host a party in 2011. It is a big day to eat. Most people have broken their New Year's resolution to diet and lose weight. So, they are ready for a party! According to the survey, consumer spending for this year's Super Bowl will reach an all-time high. The average game-watcher is expected to spend out $63.87 on related merchandise, apparel and snacks, up from $59.33 last year. Total Super Bowl spending is expected to reach $11.0 billion.

    According to the survey, grocery, apparel, electronics, sporting goods and home furnishing stores can expect to see their share of Super Bowl-related spending as sports fans head out to buy food and beverages (71.3%), team apparel or accessories (8.6%), decorations (6.4%), and furniture or a new entertainment center (2.4%).

    The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association's 2012 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey was conducted by BIGinsight. The poll of 9,317 consumers was conducted from Jan.4-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.0 percent.

    Increased spending is good news for managers. (The survey results are attached.) Which do you think managers find most interesting?

     What is your favorite part of the Super Bowl? The game? The commercials? The food? The party?

  • Super Ad Prices

    The Super Bowl is one of the most- watched television shows of the year.  Over 150 million people are expected to watch this year's Super Bowl. Those managers that see the Super Bowl as a brand-building opportunity will pay an average of $3.5 million for each 30-second television advertising spot.

    Kirk Wakefield, Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing, Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University explains the cost in a CommPRO.Biz blog. "The average CPM (cost per 1000 households) during primetime TV was just over $22 this past year. The CPM for the Super Bowl is over three times that at about $76." He goes on to explain that "the advertising waste spent communicating to an audience not in the market makes the effective CPM multiples of the already bloated $76 CPM." Professor Wakefield says that a Super Bowl ad can be successful if "the brand is related, prominent, and adds value to the event."

    The decision to spend $3.5 million on a 30-second Super Bowl commercial reminds me of John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a Philadelphia retailer, who is often quoted by businesspeople today. "Half my advertising is wasted, I just don't know which half."

    Some of this year's Super Bowl advertisers are Anheuser-Busch, Chevrolet, and Coco-Cola. Which ads are your favorites? Will you buy the product advertised? Are the Super Bowl ads worth the price?

  • JC Penney Transforms

    On 2.1.12 JC Penney began its transformation. It replaced its promotion-driven prices with everyday prices (an average of about 40 percent lower) that are supplemented with month-long values and the best prices (sales on the first and third Fridays of each month). Its new CEO Ron Johnson, formerly of Apple, announced the transformation plans at a launch event in New York City.

    Johnson talked about the history of JC Penney. For the first 10 years of over 100-hundred-years of being in existence, JC Penney was named "The Golden Rule." The department store is returning to its core value, "Treat others as you want to be treated."

    He analyzed the transformation with six Ps - Product, Place, Price, Promotion, Personality, and Presentation.

    Product will be transformed by improving quality, bringing back a trend perspective, and restoring integrity to a great iconic American brand. The assortments will align with consumer expectations.

    Place will update the tired stores and make them innovative.

    Price strategy will be "fair and square" pricing. Everyday prices will be set at what the customer wants to pay. The lowest prices will be offered twice a month.

    Promotion cadence will be monthly with 12 events. For example, the month long value in August will feature "Back to school"; November will be "Get ready for holidays"; December will be gifts; and January will be the New Year.  The product will be presented in a compelling way with stories to inspire cross shopping through the book and through the store, as well as through digital (smartphones and tablets).

    Personality will update the new logo of J.C. Penney. The brand is a living asset that will be brought to life across every possible touchpoint with the customer. The brandmark is a frame with jcp in top left-hand corner. It is distinctly American - a red frame, small blue square with white jcp. It is intended to communicate and unite a consumer facing messaging with honesty, simplicity, relevancy, and inspiration.

    Presentation is trimming the 400 current brands to 100 branded shops, similar to Sephora and MNG by Mango. Shops will be added each month and by 2015, stores will have 100 total shops with a "town square" in the middle.

    Changes at JC Penney began today, February 1. Management is calling this a complete transformation. There is a new logo, a new pricing strategy, and partnership with designers. What do you think? Will this differentiate JC Penney from other department stores? Will more people shop more often at JC Penney? Explain.

    Watch the launch at http://www.jcpmediaroom.com/posts/18/JCPENNEY'S-TRANSFORMATION-PLANS-REVEALED-AT-LAUNCH-EVENT-IN-NEW-YORK-CITY.