All Aboard. Back-to-School Marketing Refresher from 1929 Blue Comet Train.

It’s back-to-school season. Even though we’re not heading off to class, those of us done with our formal education understand that learning and subject-matter refreshers never stop.

Sometimes that happens in unexpected places. That was the case for me this summer, while taking my visiting, young nephews to a local museum. For the price of admission, I got fun time with my buddies and:

◉ A marketing communications refresher about the importance of painting an image and creating anticipated, sought-after experiences in the mind of the target customer. Continue reading

Why “Pop-up” Thinking Can Boost Your Marketing

What can marketers apply from the “pop-up” go-to-market concept popularized in recent years by Halloween costume stores, and now chefs?

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

First of all, think about “pop-up” as a business mindset, not just a retail brick and mortar tactic.

Applied this way, pop-up thinking encapsulates a range of important ideas such as customer choice and variety; experimentation and testing; and an agile, asset-light business approach.

For example, writing in The Wall Street Journal, Jane Black highlighted how chefs are using a modified pop-up model to build their brands and make money. A common approach is to join forces with an existing restaurant owner and “take-over” the physical space at a designated time to produce and deliver the chef’s concept. As Black explains, “permanent pop-ups also feed diners’ hunger for all things new.” Continue reading

Gatorade’s High-Tech, Sweat-Reading Vending Machine Delivers Brand Positioning

For the Gatorade marketing team, the old adage “never let them see you sweat” does not apply.

Quite the opposite.

Credit: Gatorade.

Credit: Gatorade.

The Gatorade brand is all about sweat and countering its effects on the body. For the past three years, Gatorade has activated marketing around the “sweat it to get it” idea.

Now, Gatorade’s team in India has evolved the idea with a high-tech vending machine that dispenses free bottles of Gatorade to workout warriors. It’s technology powered marketing that delivers positioning and product benefits in a fun, content-friendly activity that’s well-suited for social media and mobile Internet sharing. Continue reading

Free Supermarket Turkey is Easy. Donating is Harder. Why?

Free turkey promotions are common at USA supermarkets leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. But something’s missing: providing shoppers with an easy donation option.

I was next in line at a ShopRite supermarket the other day when the woman in front of me asked the cashier/bagger team: Is there a way to donate my free turkey?

ShopRite Free Turkey Promotion

Credit: ShopRite

What a great question, I thought. And missed opportunity – to foster a charity spirit and help those less fortunate at a point in time. Continue reading

When Strategy and Tactics Don’t Mesh, You Get Ruth’s Chris Steak for -50%

On Saturday afternoon, the management team of Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor, MI had a bad case of indigestion.

That’s because they faced a week of giving 50% discounts on every check.

Read on for the explanation and marketing analysis, but first the headline.

This is why you need Marketing Discipline. Strategy first, then tactics.

this-is-how-its-not-done


The Promotion

Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Ann Arbor, MI) decided to implement a sports marketing promotion tied to the local University of Michigan football team.

Beginning with Saturday’s game and running for the rest of the season, the upscale eatery would offer percentage discounts equivalent to the Wolverines’ margin of victory. For example, a 17-point win would mean a 17% discount.

The “Score Big” promo would be in effect, after the game, Sunday through Thursday. Continue reading