• 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...
  • 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...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part Three

    Continued From Part Two By now, the point of this three-part article should be abundantly clear. We in industry have overused the term “innovation”, and are therefore somewhat desensitized to technological and product developments. Consumers...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part Two

    Continued from Part One Product Development is one of my favorite university courses to teach, and this important class we learn that there are three forms of innovation. A continuous innovation describes a new product that requires almost no change...
  • The Truth About Innovation: Part One

    Natural ingredients come from everywhere, and many of them have multiple applications that meet a broad assortment of consumer needs. Every year there are a handful of popular ingredients that dominate new product development, and each year the list changes...
  • 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...
  • Sugar Losing Sweetness: Part Two

    Continued From Part One Sugar isn't just used as a sweetener. In some chocolate products, for example, it is used to give the finished product a smoother texture. If you remove sugar from ice cream, as another example, the result is a product that...
  • Sugar Losing Sweetness: Part One

    The obesity epidemic remains a major problem in America as well as in other wealthy nations, and concern among consumers and lawmakers alike is driving food chemists to find alternative sweeteners that still satisfy our need for things that are "sweet"...
  • Target Remodels, Thinks Small

    As brick-and-mortar retailers reduce their respective footprints across the nation, it is important to remember that despite the rapid rise of e-commerce, these major retailers will always be building new stores even as they close old and under-performing...
  • Tesla Not Good at Production, Promises

    They make pretty cool cars, and that Elon Musk is one heck of a marketer, but the fact of the matter is that Tesla has been an unprofitable maker of very expensive electric cars for well over a decade, and has failed to meet almost every production deadline...
  • Natural Pricing's New Paradigm: Part Two

    (Continued from Part One) The fact that they all begin with the letter “C” makes them easier to remember as a framework for pricing strategy, but although easy to remember, "The Five C’s of Pricing" are nonetheless challenging...
  • 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...
  • NFL Tweaks Product

    The National Football League, an already-popular spectator sport product that has been boosted by the explosive popularity of fantasy football over the past two decades, is finally facing some harsh realities. Fan interest is waning, characterized by...
  • 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...
  • Coca-Cola Zero Sugar

    Once upon a time there were more diet sodas on the market than there are at present, but to most men, drinking any one of them wasn't considered to be very cool. And so Coca-Cola exploited this market opportunity with a major product introduction...
  • Apple "Harvests" iPod

    When a product or product line is in the "decline" stage of it's life cycle, an eventuality every marketer must face, it is probable that marketers have already "migrated" consumers to newer models or to a completely different...
  • 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....
  • Apple Playing Catch Up

    At this point in time it's difficult to consider Apple to be a major innovator in the true sense of the word. The company has invented a few things over the years, but for the most part, developers prefer to take an existing technology and then proceed...
  • Balking at Better Burgers

    Just as our collective appetite for sit-down lunches has peaked, apparently so too has our appetite for pricey burgers. With price points reaching $13 and beyond, the basic burger has been over-engineered to the point where costs have exceeded benefits...
  • Networks Stream to Internet

    It took a few decades of steady price increases, but it appears that Pay TV has finally become too expensive for the average consumer. Young people were the first consumers to "cut the cord", preferring to cobble together their video entertainment...
  • All About the Add-ons

    Video games have been around since the late 1970's, and almost immediately after introducing Space Invaders and Asteroids (two of the pioneering games) in bars, marketers developed home entertainment systems. The first one I had was called Odyssey...
  • The Culling of the Brands

    Packaged foods brands have been experiencing slowing sales amidst changing consumer attitudes and behaviors and, as a result, many of these brands are up for sale. Many shoppers favor fresher food these days, and food prices have been falling for several...
  • Making Slow Change at McDonald's

    McDonald's is a lot like Wal-Mart in that as market leader, it takes a lot of flak for the industry, and even the positive changes it makes are scrutinized to a degree not experienced by smaller competitors. Recently the company has made socially...
  • Costco's Controversial Golf Ball

    Everyone loves Costco. For a modest membership fee, we can buy lots of stuff at volume discount prices, and the savings are even greater when we choose one of Costco's private label brands. But when the retailer started selling a 24-ct. box of its...
  • Missing the McMark

    McDonald's has struggled with much lately, although the all day breakfast strategy is providing some much needed short-term growth for this stagnant global brand. And an announcement that it is upgrading its ice cream machines, replacing older models...