• Coffee vs. Tea

    In previous posts, we have established that the market for coffee retailers is absolutely saturated and that smaller stores are now experiencing declines while even the growth rate at Starbucks has slowed considerably. But even when there are too many...
  • Gucci Grabs Young Shoppers

    With all of the talk about how the vast majority of traditional brands are struggling mightily to resonate with a massive cohort of fickle young consumers, it's nice to see one of your grandmother's classic brands emerge as a winner in bridging...
  • New Owner, Old Prices?

    Much has been written of late about the lack of progress Whole Foods has made thus far in its efforts to lower prices, but this writing has been penned primarily by journalists rather than professional marketers, the latter of whom must understand that...
  • Ignoring The Internet Cheese

    In our ongoing quest to transform what we learn through social media about attitudes towards our products into some form of actionable marketing strategy, we marketers have a tendency to overreact when we hear something negative. And when it comes to...
  • One Thousand For A "Ten"

    The Apple Marketing Machine is in full swing with the announcement that a new iteration of the iPhone is pending. Just when it will be released is still a bit of a mystery, but it will indeed be released eventually, and to much media attention, both social...
  • The Sushi-Style Burrito

    In a new product development twist we would expect from the always-creative marketers at Taco Bell, coffee drink-retailer Starbucks has decided introduce a food-fusion product that is part burrito and part sushi. If you are confused as to why they would...
  • Overrunning Iceland

    Twenty years ago Iceland, although a place with a great deal of natural beauty, was nothing more than an under-populated island backwater, prone to volcanic activity, and without much in the way of tourism. Ten years later the largely inhabitable island...
  • The Gateway to Burning Man

    Most people under 40 have probably heard of the funny, improvisational TV show "Reno 911!" , which aired for seven years during the mid 2000's, and did not exactly paint Reno in a very good light. In fact, the show did much to shape American...
  • Under Armour's Misstep

    Supply chain relationships are necessary, and maintaining healthy strategic alliances with partners that add value to the exchange process is of paramount importance in marketing strategy. But in an environment wherein retailers and the brands they sell...
  • Coach Picks Kate Spade

    My, what a nice handbag you have. How much did you pay for it? If you ask handbag marketers, probably not nearly enough. Indeed sales of handbags are slowing in the U.S., as women, especially younger women, have traded down to more compact, less expensive...
  • Subway Moves Sideways

    The emergence of fast-casual rivals combined with an industry-wide over-reliance on sales promotions (like discounts and bundles) has put some serious pressure on fast food provider Subway. The brand has also lost some of its position as a healthier food...
  • Competition Shaves Prices

    Gillette absolutely dominates the global razor business and is also one of the industry's most premium brands. This is a fact. Success has been fairly easy for this 115-year-old first mover brand, and the winning strategy has been to simply introduce...
  • A More Natural Niagara

    Niagara Falls. On the Canadian side of the river families enjoy restaurants, Ripley's Believe It Or Not! and other cheesy attractions, and a bunch of pretty cool waterfall related tourist attractions. In short, it's pretty crowded and is what...
  • Target Spices It Up

    Target, in an effort to find a position the market that wasn't already held by another brand, pioneered the idea of retailer-designer partnerships in an attempt to bring a bit of "chic" to the masses. This was the 1990's, and the very...
  • "Guilt-Free" Snacking?

    Pepsi is a brand known for carbonated soda and snack foods, but not necessarily for anything that a reasonable person would consider to be "healthy". And a previous effort to divide the company's products into "good for you" and...
  • Savvier Shoppers Threaten "Natural"

    Health advocates have been telling us for decades to scrutinize the labels on products so that we know what we are putting into our bodies. In fact the natural and organic products industry owes its very existence to the transparency that our labeling...
  • Starbucks Looks For Big Bucks

    After convincing the world over the past three decades to dump the Folgers and the Sanka and instead habitually spend four bucks or more for a souped-up cup of coffee, and having become even more ubiquitous than McDonald's in that period of time,...
  • AFL On Last Leg

    The Arena Football League (AFL) has been around for 30 years. When it debuted with four teams in 1987 I was a senior in high school, and the "novelty" sport was seen as football's answer to indoor soccer or indoor lacrosse that is, indoor...
  • Downsizing For A New Era

    After decades of seemingly everything being offered in ever larger sizes and quantities, social trends like the obesity epidemic have driven marketers to re-think product sizes, number of servings, and nutritional content of their products. Americans...
  • A Retail Role Reversal

    The retail environment is tough, and it's getting tougher each day. Revenues continue to migrate online, and many large retailers have plans to scale back their physical operations by as much as 20% over the next decade. Target and Walmart are probably...
  • From Pills To Pillows

    Can a pillow that plays soothing music solve the sleep problems of the masses? Well, it certainly appears that it could do just that. Initially developed as a therapy to calm children with autism and other disorders, the Dreampad pillow will soon be available...
  • All About The Beef

    Beef, and more specifically, "conventional" beef. It's what's for dinner, lunch and sometimes breakfast. And it's what has grown, categorically speaking, by 14% over the past five years, nudged along by what experts believe might...
  • Under Armour to Diversify

    The sporting goods market has been very, very good to Under Armour. But the brand that marketers have positioned as a fairly exclusive line for "real athletes" (a market opportunity Nike exposed when it started selling plus-sized sweat suits...
  • Apple Innovation Still Stalled

    Even marketers at Apple couldn't muster up any excitement when they announced that the company would be making only subtle changes in the iPhone models it will be releasing later this year. Apparently the biggest change this year will be the removal...
  • Less Is More In India

    Twenty years ago, India (along with Brazil, Russia, and China) stood as bright beacons of opportunity for marketers as billions of new consumers were to enter the global marketplace. Of course, this did happen. But the trouble with these places is that...