Monday, June 30, 2008

Vrooooom - the Harley-Davidson Museum

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Just two weeks until the opening of the new Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. Having owned a couple of motorcycles in my time (OK, my first was a little step-through-frame Yamaha 50 cc bike, followed by a not-so-big Yamaha Twin Jet 100, but still), I'm putting this on my travel list.

From a marketing perspective, I think Harley's hefty multimillion-dollar investment in the museum will pay off in the long run. Lots of people who visit the museum will decide to finally go ahead and buy the Harley of their dreams; current owners will undoubtedly bring non-owners along for the ride and get them hooked on the brand. In the short run, even though summer is cycle season, this year's economic woes could be a drag on museum attendance.

Friday, June 27, 2008

"New" Marketing Definition

American Marketing Association - Marketing Power

New Definition of Marketing (est. in 2007)

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Previous Definition (est. in 2004)

Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

The new definition takes into account input from a broad cross-section of the Association membership. Marketing is regarded as an 'activity' instead of a 'function' and positions marketing as a broader activity in a company/organization, and not just a department. The new definition also positions marketing as providing long term value rather than narrowly as an exchange of money (short-term) for the benefit of the shareholder/organization.

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Late last year the American Marketing Association updated its definition of marketing. This clip shows the old definition and the new one, which I think is particularly vague.

The new definition also talks about offerings that have value for "society at large" but applying that part of the definition can get tricky for controversial products such as cigarettes, IMHO.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The AP and Fair Usage vs. The Bloggers

The Associated Press wants to charge bloggers (especially the big-time guys, but also small fry like me) who excerpt and quote 5 or more words of an AP story. Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing blog entry gives the kernel of the story. As an author, I'm all for protecting intellectual property rights but this is ridiculous! AP, you've gone too far.
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Associated Press expects you to pay to license 5-word quotations (and reserves the right to terminate your license)

In the name of "defin[ing] clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt" the Associated Press is now selling "quotation licenses" that allow bloggers, journallers, and people who forward quotations from articles to co-workers to quote their articles. The licenses start at $12.50 for quotations of 5-25 words. The licensing system exhorts you to snitch on people who publish without paying the blood-money, offering up to $1 million in reward money (they also think that "fair use" -- the right to copy without permission -- means "Contact the owner of the work to be sure you are covered under fair use.").
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Depot Eco Options

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CFL Recycling at The Home Depot
Home Depot just announced it will accept compact fluorescent bulbs for recycling at all U.S. stores (Canadian Home Depots began doing this late last year). Considering the mercury content in CFLs, free and convenient recycling is a big plus for the environment and for encouraging wider adoption of these bulbs. I've already set aside some bulbs to be recycled--Home Depot, here I come (and while I'm there, my shopping list includes . . . !).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Legalities of Blogging

Lawyer Duncan Calow points out key legal issues related to blogging or commenting on blogs in the United Kingdom, including defamation, infringement, harassment, and incitement (!). Interesting reading for bloggers and blog-readers who like to comment, anywhere in the world.

Goodbye Charter Comm Web Tracking

Last month my local cable company, Charter Communications, announced plans to track the web surfing activities of customers in my community. Its letter explained that this would lead to "an enhanced online experience that is more customized to your interests and activities." The real reason, of course, is so Charter can sell targeted advertising.

To see how Charter explains its program, check out this page:

I'm not opposed to advertising, just to Big Brother-style monitoring of my online activities. How many Charter customers would opt in if we were asked to join the program instead of being forced to opt out? Just asking. And of course I opted out.

June 24 UPDATE: Today Charter "froze" this program (no implementation date as of now). Here's the Wired blog entry plus links to earlier items about the program.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

BusinessWeek Branding Primer

BusinessWeek's special report on branding is definitely worth a quick click. From namestorming to building a brand online, the report is full of helpful tips and tricks.

P.S.: Check out BusinessWeek's Blogs for more on business and marketing trends, management issues, investing, and many more timely topics.

Here's to Shrink Wrap

I don't always agree with John C. Dvorak (who I read in PC Magaazine), but his July 2008 "Ode to Shrink Wrap" column is, like his earlier "Shrink Wrap Software vs. Hosted Services" column, absolutely dead-on correct.

Given a choice between (1) software I can buy, preferably install via CD and keep on hand and (2) software that is delivered via the Internet as I need it--free or billed monthly--I'll choose #1 any time. Even the most reliable web connection goes down occasionally and having felt the full brunt of Murphy's law, who needs another headache?

Dvorak also demonstrates, once again, his insightful knowledge of the business side when he notes that using software services delivered online opens the door to potential gouging. "Imagine becoming dependent on one of your online apps and then watching the price quadruple just because the company knows you have no other choice. The temptation to do this is extreme," Dvorak says. I agree. Gimme shrink wrap.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Net Promoter Score

Fred Reichheld's Net Promoter Score (NPS) has helped GE and many other companies gauge customer loyalty and use these scores as benchmarks for improvement.

Fortune Small Business presents four recent success stories of companies using NPS to boost loyalty, with good financial results.

A new study, reported in Industry Week, suggests that customer feedback professionals should understand the limitations of NPS as a single score against which to measure and enhance customer loyalty. I expect more back-and-forth as we see the long-term effects of loyalty strategies based on NPS.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Can Staples Be Target?

The latest Staples ad campaign is for "M by Staples," a stylish collection of stationery and desk/storage accessories. Here's the microsite, which includes links to the ads and various product categories.

Looks like Staples wants to be the Target of personal office supplies--hip, tasteful, and distinctive. Having just visited a Staples store yesterday, I'd say the effort isn't yet fully integrated into the physical presentation. (I even had to search the regular Staples site just to find the right page to link to.) Given the "back to basics" spending by many customers feeling the recession, the timing doesn't seem right for M by Staples.