• Tip Pooling To Threaten Servers?

    Tipping for food service isn't unique to the United States, but overall, the practice of shifting most of the cost of labor onto the customer in the form of a "gratuity" (expected, but not mandatory) is something that most people around...
  • Bringing You The Gas

    It was just a matter of time before direct-to-consumer delivery reached the fueling industry, and with the widespread adoption of apps among the buying public, it appears that consumers will soon have the ability to order up just about anything. Gasoline...
  • Cobalt Looms As Electric Threat

    Raw materials. They are used in the products we buy, and when demand outstrips supply, they get to become very expensive. But most business-to-business goods are inelastic, and thus when the price goes up demand tends to stay the same. Let's take...
  • Facebook's Facts

    Facebook and Google handle about 80% of the advertising that exists online, and this duopoly certainly isn't good news for online advertisers. And Facebook became even more dominant this year with a 79% leap in third quarter profit. That's quite...
  • Bridge? Not a Sport

    In my Sports Marketing class, we often have a brief debate as to what and what should not constitute a "sport". To what degree should competition be a factor? If it is a factor then what about Jogging? Should physical exertion be a factor? How...
  • Holiday Freeze for Brick and Mortar

    The consumer shift from brick-and-mortar buying towards e-commerce buying has been in full force for almost two decades now, and the 2017 holiday shopping season won't be any different. Indeed, Retailer brands that focus on physical locations have...
  • Aurora Organic: Authenticated

    When a brand is marketed as Certified Organic it must adhere to the tenants of the National Organic Program, a set of stringent requirements that affirm a product's "organic-ness". This program is regulated by the USDA and each organic producer...
  • FDA Says, "Hold The Love"

    One of the tasks of the Food and Drug Administration is to regulate what goes into the products we buy, well, at least the products that we put in and on our bodies. When it comes to foods, the FDA manages a list of acceptable ingredients that it considers...
  • A Gorilla of a Case

    Trademarks are important to marketers since they can be tremendous branding tools, and sometimes this intellectual property must be defended against marketers that aren't even competitors. Imagine how long it would take Nike to call it's legal...
  • Avoiding Acapulco

    Vacationers who like to travel to Mexico for its myriad benefits are well aware of its reputation as a place with lots of drug-related gang violence, and unfortunately this reputation has been well earned. Mexico, which relies heavily on tourism for its...
  • Smashburger's Triple Threat

    Regional fast food chain In-N-Out Burger has cried "foul" and as a result has filed a trademark infringement suit against the national fast food giant, Smashburger, claiming that the rapidly-growing, upstart chain's "Triple Double"...
  • Giving You What "They" Want

    Have you ever wondered what drives the some of the suggestions that music and movie sites make for their users? Of course, some of it is based on past preferences, but the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article several weeks ago about streaming...
  • Overtaxed in Philly

    Over the past six-plus years, this column has warned repeatedly against the practice of over-taxing a good or service, because as something becomes more expensive, people tend to use less of it, ultimately turning to substitutes or forgoing the product...
  • Getting Off the Bus

    Public transportation advocates often aren't the ones who actually take public transportation. Suffice it to say that if you have any connections to make or have to pay full price, you are probably better off finding another way to get where you want...
  • The True Cost of a Room

    By now, those of us who don't fly Southwest Airlines have become accustomed to the "a la cart" model of pricing, one that a formerly unprofitable airline industry has been successfully implementing for the past decade. Indeed Southwest stands...
  • A Walleye Warning

    In a situation similar to that which is currently vexing Cape Cod, Minnesota and much of the rest of the upper Midwest is facing a raw material shortage. In Massachusetts it has been the over-fishing of cod, and in Minnesota it's the supply of walleye...
  • Electric Dreams: Part Two

    There has been so much hype in the media lately about electric vehicles, one would think that there has been some sort of new innovation to bring the cost of these vehicles down far enough to become marketable without heavily government intervention....
  • EU Lays Down Law

    What has been a seven-year investigation into Google's business practices in the European Union has finally culminated in the largest fine ever levied on a company for anti-trust behavior.--$2.7 billion. European regulators have charged Google with...
  • The Mighty Amazon

    Last week, Amazon purchased Whole Foods Markets, a pioneering, upscale natural products retailer that has been under pressure to regain it's mojo. But, having failed to reverse its downward trend in the allotted period of time, Whole Foods and its...
  • Fighting Ad Fraud

    The Internet has provided marketers with unprecedented opportunities to engage with consumers one-to-one, but an increasing level of advertising fraud is vexing the industry. For years, marketers have been paying for ads that consumers do not see, but...
  • InBev Gets "Mass" Scrutiny

    Marketers of branded products like to provide in-store marketing support since these activities act as incentives for stores to sell more of the brand's goods, but sometimes these sales promotion programs are seen as anti-competitive and run afoul...
  • Something Fishy at Bumble Bee

    The packaged seafood industry is currently under investigation for anti-trust violations, and, if recent action against Bumble Bee Foods in any indication, there is good reason for this enhanced scrutiny. In short, the company has agreed to pay $25 million...
  • Bolstering a "Black Market"

    When a government entity deems something illegal, an unsanctioned "black market" always develops to meet demand for the illegal good or service if such a demand exists. We have seen this effect with alcohol during Prohibition as well as with...
  • Ad Blockers Threaten Model

    What might be interpreted as good news for consumers might also be seen as bad news for the advertisers that wish to reach them. Ad blockers have been around for a while, and students of marketing know that there is no such thing as free content. The...
  • United in Anger

    So much has already been written on the negative publicity issues facing United Airlines, that the latest problems bear mentioning here in this column. It all began several weeks ago when employees refused to allow two teenage girls traveling on company...