Have you ever had the Pepsi vs Coke argument?
Which is better?
My personal opinion says they are interchangeable, they taste a little different but so what?
But to someone with a preference, it is very important. If you perceive something is different, to you it is. And that is very real.
To be con't
I'm back. Had to run to class.
Marketers use that as a tool, to reinforce behaviors or attempt to alter them. To go back, the "Cola Wars". The cola companies fueled this, ours vs theirs. Made your opinion a side in a "battle". Gave validation to your choice to reinforce your preference in their product. Also, they made it seem like you were supporting them, on a side. This idea is very powerful, you perceive you are a part of something greater then yourself, I may think, "it's a soda pop, grow up". To me, soda allegiance is inane, that is my reality.
Which is right?
Depends on your point of View.
Ok, been doing dsome thinking.
People just don't want to accept what a revolutionary Vince McMahon is.
Take a look at the creation of "Sports Entertainment"
B. V. (Before Vince)
Attitude towards wrestling: Entertainment for low IQ rednecks and mouthbreathers.
Belief towards wrestling: It's Fake therefore it is crap.
Vince saw this and he recognized and understood these attitudes and beliefs. When deciding to expand his World Wrestling Federation, he decided to do something truly revolutionary in the industry. He embraced these people.
He worked to change the attitude that wrestling was for low IQ mothbreathers by making his product a grand spectical. He brought in some of the biggest mainstream stars of the day from music, movies, pop culture and aligned his product with them to show the world professional wrestling was not redneck olympics but a form of entertainment everyone could enjoy, I mean if Liberace loves wrestling, why don't you?
The second part was true genuis. Wrestling is fake. He said," So What?". This was huge. No promoter in the history of the industry had ever considered taking this approach. "Kayfabe" or the sacred rule of wrestling that says what goes on behind the curtain stays behind the curtain was broken. Wrestlers in the past have faced physical retribution for breaking "Kayfabe". Some even exiled from the business. Vince recognized that people were smart and the suspension of disbelief only went so far and if he wanted to truly expand the business he had to embrace the people who held the belief that wrestling was fake. So he coined the Term, "Sports Entertainment". He said to the world, professional wrestling is a show not a competative athletic event, but professional wrestlers are real atheletes putting their bodies and health on the line to entertain you, give them respect.
Attitude: Professional wrestling is fun entertainment.
Belief: It's fake, but fun to watch.
This is the part or Marketing I have the least amount of trouble with, because it is the part I hate the most. Psychology or the attempts of companies to use psychology to change my behavior to a result that is more favorable to their company. I hate it for personal reason, that companies see me, as a consumer, am such a sheep that I will jump to their product because they now show it to me in a new way. I, also, hate it because it works.
Large corporations spend millions of dollars to find out what colours get what reactions out of people to help drive people to choose their products. Even in Politics, candidates will have psychology professionals helping choose their clothes to help portray a certain image to specific demographics.
Psychology is a powerful tool in manipulating consumers and a very effective one.
Despite how much we are like Americans there are significant differences between us. Taste preferences is a big one.
Take beer for example. Pretty much every brand of American beer is available here in Canada. Budweiser, Coors, Miller Genuine Draft are a few of the must popular American beers here in Canada. But are they American beers?
The Beer producers recognize and respond to the fact that Canadians have different tastes and expectations for beer then Americans do. We expect our beers to have a certain taste and alcohol strength than beers produced in the States. Producers have to respond to that difference and the results are the same name but a difference product. American companies will sell the rights to the names of the beers to Canadian companies and allow the Canadian companies to essentially make Canadian beers with American names.
Successful companies working international markets have to recognize these differences and adapt products to these different demographics.
Beer is just one example (and one of my favorites). But if we look at the Canadian and American markets we can find numerous examples of how companies will change the product to suit the market. Potato chips, soda pop, cookies, one that really surprised me, Kraft dinner (yes American Kraft Dinner uses a very different cheese powder in the States that has a very different taste).
Next time you consider heading south, try some common products we have here in Canada. You might have noticed before that they tasted a little different, now you can realize why.
Gross Income, oh that is always great. Simple numbers, take what you earn hourly, time by the hours you work and whoot, that's some pretty good money.
But there are taxes, and deductions and union dues and pension and EI. Ouch. But But now you still have a fair amount. That my friends is often mentioned disposable income.
But, now you have rent, and loans, and bills, now you don't have a lot left. That is your discretionary income.
Where am I going with this you ask?
Thank you for asking.
My old roommate moved back to Alberta a few years ago to earn the big Alberta money everyone was talking about. Two years later he moved back.
Income is a funny thing. People tend to see their gross income and think I am making lost of money, hooray.
What they don't consider is how much they lose through the sheer act of living.
Back to my old roomie. He moved back to an Alberta oil town. Moving back he was telling how starting at A and W you earn $15 an hour. He was doing good to. He was earning $10 more an hour doing the same job he was doing here. It didn't take long for the reality of living there to set in. The taxes were low and that was good, he had good disposable income but the costs of living there were astronomical. After 2 years he was was planning to come home so that he might have a chance to enjoy living as opposed to working only to pay his bills.
Moral of the story, just because your gross income is high doesn't mean a better life is right there.
I have been thinking about what is definitive marker of the break between the generations and I believe I have found it.
Yes, Star Wars.
And no, not the new ones put out in the last decade but the original trilogy from 1977 to 1983.
From a chronological stand point the Star Wars trilogy came out when Generation X was about 14 years and younger. To our parents in the Bay Boom, Star Wars was just "that space movie". We of Generation X were still young enough to fully appreciate the movie with our till youthful imagination. I know from experience for a lot of us born in the early 70's it was the first big movie we ever saw I theatres.
Those Gen X'ers born a bit later were still able to gain the Star Wars experience because of the great sequels it spawned over the next 6 years. Star Wars was what we grew up on, it was our games, our toys, our make believe world.
The Baby Boomers didn't "get" Star Wars (for the most part but as with everything there are exceptions), to them science fiction consisted of bad actors in rubber suits and paper plate UFO's, and space was a reality they had just been introduced to and for them it was a new reality, where Gen Xers had lived with men on the moon since our birth.
Now, Gen Y. Gen Y comes into play almost 13 to 20 years after the Star Wars phenomenon. As a Star Wars Geek, I cannot count the number of times I have spoken to members of Gen Y who have never seen Star Wars, for them it is just that old Sci-Fi movie.
My last bit of proof on my theory. 1999, The Premiere of Star Wars Episode One. The line up stretched around the entire theatre. The age spread 20 40 years of age. Very few older and the younger tended to be there with their parents who were Gen Xers or as it should be know, The Star Wras Generation.
What are the 2 most significant events that have had the greatest impact on consumerism and globalization?
I am old enough to have not only witnessed both but to understand the impact of both.
The first was in the 1990's, the fall of the Iron Curtain. Though western countries had made slight inroads into Eastern Europe before this, the collapse of Soviet Communism opened up literally dozens of countries in a very short period of time. With millions of new consumers who were starved for anything new, the market potential of this almost unheard of at the time and marketers where practially salivating over the opportunities they saw there.
The second happened in 1999. Hong Kong was returned to Mainland Chinese control. Leading up to the change of hands was a period of great uncertainty. I was living in Vancouver at the time and the Hong Kong Chinese were immigrating as fast as they could. Hon g Kong was a jewel of capitalism in the orient and what Communist China would do with it was practically unknown. After taking control, having Hong Kong and it's financial power launch China onto the international markets. The effects, both culturally and economically are still being felt today as china has placed itself into the position of an international financial powerhouse. This is driven by it's incredibly large and cheap workforce but also by it increasingly large growing middle class giving it huge buying power. Strict governmental control makes entering this market difficult but Western and Eupoean companies are realizing the gains are worth the troubles.
I am a Safeway Shopper. I have been since I first moved out on my own. But why? Why has Safeway been so successful in getting, maintaining me and garnering my customer loyalty?
I am the Target Market here.
Let's do a quick comparison of the marketing mixes for Safeway and Superstore to see how their well their mixes work in determining me as their target market.
Price - Superstore has the edge here. For general products Superstore goes from being slightly cheaper to considerably cheaper for most products. First a student then a low wage earner a lower price for necessities is quite important but Superstore never had my loyalty and business . Interesting.
Place - The edge here would go to Safeway. More locations located closer to larger population concentrations and access to major transport routes allows Safeway a big advantage here. Personally, though my inital residences were closer to Safeways, there were times where I lived closer to a Superstore but have travel farther and at more inconvenience to myself to get to a Safeway.
Promotion - Both seem to be on par with each other in this category. I always find through distributed material that I am well aware of what is being offered by both companies at almost any time, as well the in store presentation for both is well displayed and available.
Product - For sheer goods the advantage goes to Superstore. Though their stores are fewer, they tend to be larger with a greater selection of products and brands available for purchase. Service though, this is where the biggest difference is. Safeway has a much greater service component to their product that Superstore doesn't offer. Where Safeway bags your groceries, Superstore has to bag your own. Superstore has you buying your own bags for the groceries, Safeway doesn't. Safeway offers carryout service, more employees on the floor to assist customers.
Considering their Marketing mixes, Superstore does have some distinct advantages but relating to me, one of my determining factors for any purchase is service. I am willing to pay more for better service. Safeway offers that to me. The Value I put on that service is worth the costs.
Back in 1980 in the world of professional wrestling North America was cut into a number of Territories by the major wrestling Promoters of the time.
The Largest Three at the time were:
Vince McMahon Sr. and his World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) had the American North East.
Verne Gagne and the American Wrestling Association (AWA) had the North Central states and Central Canada.
National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), a collection of independent promotions, with Jim Crockett Promotions as it's largest and most powerful member. had the American South East.
This was the way it had been for decades as to allow promotions to prosper in a marginalized industry. Promoters had agreements about area, talent (The wrestlers), etc.
In 1982 the wrestling world would change forever. Vince Sr. sold his promotion to his son Vince K. McMahon. Vince Jr. had a vision of the industry. His vision was create a national promotion and take professional wrestling from the margin to the mainstream.
His first move was talent. He began signing the top talent of the day, including the man who would become the face of professional wrestling even to this day, Hulk Hogan.
He read the culture of the time, understood the extravagance of the 80's and created "Sports Entertainment". His talent would become characters, larger than life. He dove into Closed Circuit televised events which evolved into Pay Per View. He felt the effects of a booming economy and rode the money to bigger and grander productions. He took professional wrestling to network television. When he was brought in front of the U.S. Senate during the Steroid scandals of the late 80's he came out like an underdog trying to fight the system.
He saw the uncontrollable factors and made them work for him.
The AWA did not fare as well. They lost most of their young top talent. Their product continued to be "Old time wrestling" was unable to attract new fans to their shows. They did not grow with the times and their business felt it. In 1988 AWA closed it's doors.
The NWA fared better then the AWA. Their structure of an alliance of smaller promotions allowed them to better appeal to their individual target markets. Where the WWF was product based the NWA was able to keep market based. They produced a much superior product then the WWF but their downfall came from not being able to match the money that the WWF could offer the talent and their greatest strength, the Alliance, kept them from being able to unify enough to expand and internal difference between the individual promoter tore them apart from with in.
Back to my friend Pedro.
I was speaking to him recently about Marketing and some of the concepts and I asked about how he deals with the Uncontrollable factors of business.
Competition - he has felt the sting of direct competition. What he tries to do is to make sure the products he is carrying are diversified enough that when competition hits at one aspect of his business he is able to weather the hit if it is temporary or adjust his products if it is is more long term effect.
Technology - is the uncontrollable factor he worries about the least as his target market and the products they purchase are not technologically based (they are by todays standards very, very low tech). He stays away from the tech based games as his specific Target Market, generally, does not go into those types of games and combined with the plethora of sellers of electronic games he does not see a niche for himself.
Government/Political/Legal/Regulatory - this one concerns him, a lot. Although he deals with distributors and not the companies that produce the games, a major portion of his games are imported from outside Canada. Political shifts, tariffs, foreign climates effect his company greatly. i.e. There was a much anticipated new edition of a French game called Settlers of Catan. The release date of the game was pushed back 5 months due to a strike of woodworkers in southern France preventing the game makers from being able to produce the pieces for the game.
Social/Cultural - He actually likes this one. He says it is what makes a gaming store fun. His Target Market, the Hard Core Gamers, are as much a social group themselves as a buying force. Gamers as a social group tend to game together talk together, compare new games, talk about old ones. It is a social system he, himself, is a part of. It changes, grows, shrinks. As the Hard Core Gamer tends to be an outsider from most social circles, major cultural shifts don't effect them as much as a more mainstream group.