Entrepreneur Report- Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 900 members in 80 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism.

The market the ATTA is pursuing is adventure travel industry. Because the ATTA has a strong orientation towards low impact travel and less harm to the environment, the ATTA also positions itself in eco-travel industry, which is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education”. (TIES, 2015)

Ten years ago, when Shannon bought the company, adventure travel industry has already existed. However, there was no company that dealt with adventure travel seriously and the quality of the service was bad. As a result, the ATTA was unique back to that time. Now, the adventure travel industry is much more developed, the volume of adventure travel tourists is booming very fast. The globalization development also advances the international tourism.

The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. The ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism.

Because when Shannon came to the board, there were already several business partners, he did not need to find the first customer. However, their clients were not satisfied with their service of the time, that was the critical issue facing him. To deal with the issue, he began to talk to every clients and hear what their demands were, what they envisioned from ATTA. The financial cycle was bad at the first year, there was small income, so Shannon and one full time junior assistant and one half time staff had to cut down their budget a lot. By sincerely listening to people’s feedback, things began to pay back after three years. For now, the ATTA have 16 full time employees, 5 part time staff and 5 contract employees.

For marketing channels for the public, they have platforms in Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram, Google Plus and Youtube. Email is also a frequent and suitable tool for the ATTA. Now, it has 20,000 professional to register the ATTA email serve list. Since the ATTA insists on a business to business model, it develops their customer normally through one to one conversation. Built on interpersonal communications, Shannon believes that this can be a strong and competitive tradition for ATTA to compete with other companies. They use Sales Force, a tool to track customer relationship, to manage their clients. This tool helps them record all the conversations, how complexity the conversation is, how people meet, what service clients want to or have purchase from ATTA, and who to contact. The ATTA also has its own channel the HUB, The Adventure Travel Social Network, working as a networking forum and new business development tool.

ATTA Website: http://www.adventuretravel.biz/

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Re-targeting

I don’t know whether things have changed recently, because I haven’t been able to catch the sneaky culprits on my favorite sites, but it used to be that Foster School of Business and the Husky Team Store were the two biggest re-targeting offenders. The two would split time prominently displayed on my favorite “news” site (Dawgman.com) and on my favorite media channel (Pandora.com).

For me, neither were effective. With the Foster ads, I am obviously already enrolled in the program and thus do not need to be sold on it’s benefits. As for the Husky Team Store, I can definitely see how this could have been an effective strategy as the ads were usually displayed where I was consuming other Husky news. However my purchasing behavior is more direct than that…I don’t generally make purchases on a whim, they are usually planned, making these types of ads less effective at inspiring action on my part.

ZenHub.io

ZenHub is a workflow management tool for GitHub. ZenHub offers many of the project management attributes you would expect, including kanban boards, communication tools, file sharing, etc, but  is the only tool runs natively in GitHub’s interface. This allows users to avoid context switching with third-party tools and to work more cohesively within GitHub. They provide a feature set designed to empower teams from large enterprises, as well as the open source development community.

I would recommend ZenHub reach out to:

Ben Sandofsky (@sandofsky) – He has blogged about git on his site, and seems to be well connected in the tech community.

Coderwall.com (@coderwall) – Coderwall is a collaborative learning platform for software developers to improve their programming knowledge.

OPEN, by NY Times (@NYTDevs) – Open is a blog about code and development written by NY Times developers, covering topics from their own open source projects and api’s to the technology driving open source projects.

Entrepreneur Profile – Wilder2

Matt Jasper, a Foster MBA and entrepreneur extraordinaire, kindly sat down with me to discuss his work as Director of Business Development with start-up marketing firm Wilder2. Wilder2 is a Seattle based full-service advertising and marketing agency founded a few years ago by Mark and Corrie Wilder.

Wilder2 targets small and medium sized companies in a variety of industries. Given the backgrounds and experiences of the management team, most of the firm’s clients come from the consumer electronics and entertainment industries.  Their client list includes the Musicians Institute, Panasonic, Yellowtec, and Lamsac. However, the firm has also carved out a niche in the renewable energy, financial and legal services, and exploration industries. Clients in this space include Space Angels, Ocean Gate, PearTree Strategic Partners, and Planetary Power. The agency is operating within, and disrupting, an existing market. Wilder2 provides the same services as traditional marketing and advertising agencies, but with more agility and a significantly improved cost structure.

The agency’s relative youth and business model requires the management team to explore a variety of industries and company sizes to fill out its client portfolio.  The agency is on short-term retainers with most of its clients. These retainer agreements are built around project-based contracts. While Wilder2 does have some repeat business, its business model and limited bandwidth disallows it from establishing a robust foundation of consistent work for a large base of clients.

Wilder2 utilizes a variety of channels in reaching and acquiring clients. The agency has positioned itself as a lower cost, but still high quality, alternative to traditional marketing firms. Their customers have responded well to the project based model, which gives Wilder2’s an even more pronounced cost proposition advantage over larger agencies.  Primarily, the agency has reached customers through trade shows, tapping into contacts made in the decades of experience possessed by the management team.  In addition, the agency has participated in public requests for proposals for projects as a way to supplement the direct contact business generated through trade shows and referrals.

In its few years of operation, the firm has consistently provided quality work at a price point lower than traditional advertising agencies.  Through this, the management team has created a high-quality lifestyle business. The limited bandwidth and resources available to the management team appears to be the primary barrier to the agency’s growth and expansion.

Accessible Stock Trading – Robinhood.com

Robinhood is a mobile application based stock broker. Because the brokerage is completely technology based, their model contains almost none of the traditional overhead of brokerage firms. Many of the functions of a traditional brokerage firm are fully automated, which substantially reduces Robinhood’s cost structure. This dynamic allows them to offer unlimited free trades for listed and OTC stocks.  The application has not yet been released to the public, but they are allowing people to sign up for priority access on their website (robinhood.com). Robinhood seems to be adopting a revenue model that includes the “freemium” dynamic as well as gaining revenue from partnerships and as remuneration for providing trade volume in certain markets.

I was drawn to this company because I appreciate certain aspects of democratizing access to equity markets and because this ideal provided much of the drive for creating Robinhood. By offering commission free trades and allowing users to set up accounts with no minimum account balance, Robinhood creates a low-cost, easy to use method for participating in equity markets. While creating high-frequency trading platforms for Wall Street financial institutions, the co-founders noted that there were essentially no fees for high-volume traders.  A desire to bring this same dynamic to the general population compelled the co-founders to being conceptualizing Robinhood. Additionally, I believe this application has incredible market potential. If the company is able to seamlessly provide secure brokerage services with minimal cost, individual traders across demographics will be drawn to it.

A few obstacles will have to be overcome including users’ comfort level with giving sensitive personal information to a mobile application. In order to comply securities regulations, Robinhood is required to gather personal information including employment and social security data. If the company can prove that user information is safe and secure and calm user anxiety of transmitting such information through their mobile devices, Robinhood has the potential to be very successful.

Repost of Blackboard Email – Assignments Due Before Session 2

If you did not receive this via email. please let me know.  This is simply a copy/paste of what I forwarded everyone via Blackboard.

>>

Because we only have 8 sessions, we will accelerate quickly.  Here are the assignments due this week, by 5:45pm Monday 1/14.

1) You should have formed your group and emailed me your team members.  If you do not have a group, we’ll decide whether it makes more sense to have you join existing groups, or we may form you all togtehr into a new one.  We will see on Monday.

2) The groups that are formed should go through the basic exercise of setting up a Twitter account.  We will discuss why this is important and how to use it on Monday, but please just set up the account andmake sure your group members kno whow to access it.  Please do the same on Slideshare.net.

3) Individual assignment: Last week’s class focused on finding a good market to build a business in.  To complete that topic area, I would like you to look at a very small company.  I suggest using the Geekwire 200 list as a reference point.  Look for one of the companies neaar the bottom of the list, perhaps past the 100-150 mark, and do a brief profile on what market they appear to be going after, and what segment of that market they appear to be marketing to.  This is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis.  But big a company you are genuinely interested in, read their web site and any associated articles about them, and write somewhere between 300-600 words (3-5 paragraphs) in which you breifly describe what the company does, who they are targeting, and why you think they are approaching that segment first.

4) You will all receive WordPress invites shortly.  If you cannot access WordPress, please let me know.

The 9 New Companies After Day 1

Based on the class vote of 45 students on Monday night, here are the 9 companies that got their initial “Seed round” and made it to the next level.

  • Find a spot
  • MyStyle
  • Online glasses fitting
  • Legal Marijuana Business
  • Posture Monitoring System
  • Foodie Network
  • Gift giving protocol app
  • Yelp for healthy living
  • Ship and ride

Note: We had 2 people who wanted to run a company around “Jewelry that alerts you when your phone rings.” We might be able to have some people who missed class join this group.

More details to come.

Oh Yeah, And Do a Social Media Campaign…

The breadth and depth of topics covered in Entrepreneurial Marketing this past quarter has been expansive, to put it mildly.  Some of the key points have been stressed often enough throughout my MBA career: know your customer, size the market, have a plan! For me, the one key take-away is this: social media is more than a channel, it’s a community – or rather, series of communities.  And in order to leverage social media successfully to build your brand and market your product, you need to engage in community service.  Simply having a company Facebook page won’t cut it anymore – you need to engage with your customers, your peers, and yes – your critics, too!

Furthermore, each forum is unique – customers use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest in different ways, to different ends.  Understanding the relative strengths and weaknesses of these channels will help you develop a campaign that can not just reach, but also connect with your target consumers.  The best social media campaigns are rooted in interpersonal interactions – that is, they are linked to the humanity behind your brand.  And in order to get your customers to connect with you, you need to contribute something to them – something beyond the service your product provides.  A great way to do this is through social media.

One company I will continue to follow is Glympse, which provides a timed, ephemeral glympse of a user’s real-time location via a map-sharing app.  Glympse brilliantly recognizes a key concern of privacy among consumers in an overly-social-networked world, and therefore stops sharing your location after the user-determined period of location-sharing time has elapsed and does not keep records.  This allows customers to reach out to individuals in their social networks and effectively solve the age-old “but where ARE you and when will you get here?” problem while respecting customers’ desire to keep that information protected from the world at large.

When people stop being polite, and start getting real!

Except for possibly doing it yourself (and succeeding or failing), there is no substitute for hearing it straight from the mouths of those that are doing something. From understanding the ins-and-outs of SEM with Brian Rauschenbach or SEO with Rand Fishkin, to understanding how different start-ups learned to listen to, react to, and love their customers with Maggie Boyer Finch, John Scrofano, and Ruchit Garg, the speakers in this course showed us how well (or poorly) classroom concepts can translate to the real world.

I specifically have loved the chance to play with Google AdWords for our possible start-up: FlashPick Flash Mobs. From understanding the basics of the running a test ad, to how to knowing what to look for to maximize my impressions while minimizing my CPC (if that’s what I want to do), the mystique of the process has turned into curiosity. And from curiosity, I have turned to experimentation. As a Tech lover, this will help me immensely in my future work.

I specifically plan on following SEOMoz after this course, because it is universally applicable for any business. From knowing that 82% of clicks come from organic search, to understanding how to build your page to get that organic search, knowing how to sell yourself on the internet is incredibly important. I may have to wait until I have the time to do this for my own pages, but I am sure SEOMoz will be applicable no matter what enterprise I seek out.

Farmer’s Markets 2.0

Washington is known for its agricultural diversity and richness. In Seattle, we enjoy the results of the state’s bounty in the form of farmer’s markets, some of which operate on a year-round basis. Although I love the idea of having uninterrupted access to real, locally grown (and often organic) food, the unfortunate reality is that I usually don’t have the time or budget to patronize these markets. This problem is compounded by the fact that farmer’s markets’ distribution cycles are often completely out of sync with my lifestyle.

In general, neighborhood farmer’s markets operate one day per week (usually a Saturday or Sunday) for a limited amount of time. During this time, vendors are often too distracted to provide the one-on-one service that they claim helps compensate for the above-par pricing. Add out-of-control kids, tangles of leashed pets, and dozens of other obstacles and distractions, the charm of buying and selling at farmer’s markets quickly breaks down into a series of rushed, unsatisfactory transactions.

The CSA distribution system, in which participating farms pack and deliver boxes of produce directly to homes or to a centralized site, represents a partial solution to the problems of farmer’s market distribution. CSA’s offer more convenience, (in terms of number and location of sites) and they distribute to them more frequently. However, they price on a subscription basis, which locks customers into a weekly or bi-weekly commitment. The CSA pricing structure is incompatible with single students like me, whose at-home meal opportunities are extremely inconsistent.

Given these distribution systems’ benefits and costs, I propose an alternative that combines the convenience and frequency of CSA’s with the pricing structure of farmer’s markets. The following scenario provides an illustration of how this would work: Wednesday morning in class, I receive a text alert that farmers A, B, and C are planning to drop off their goods at the on-campus produce storage locker. The 8×10 temperature-stable locker can only be accessed by members, who have the option of paying a small flat-rate access fee on the 1st of each month for 30 days per. During lunch I browse through the locker’s real-time availability and place a hold on the types and amounts of food I want. The system is first-come, first-served, so reserving early yields the widest selection. After class, I swipe my member card to enter the locker and select my goods from the shelves. At the self-checkout station, sensors collect data on the items and weights I plan to take with me. I can modify my order up until then. The locker is under 24/7 camera surveillance, and memberships are permanently revoked for bad behavior. Upon exit, my credit card is automatically billed. Since the food is stored in a controlled environment, leftovers are good for up to 3 days. Farmers receive daily notification of stock-outs and/or excess inventory so that they can time their drop-offs accordingly. These farmers have purchased a dedicated spot in the storage locker the same way they pay for a market booth. The amount of space they’re allotted and for how long depends on how much they’ve paid.

Win-win: Farmers get a new low-involvement revenue stream and entry into larger market, and consumers get fresh, real food, hassle-free.

Having worked in the food industry for many years, I am aware of the legal, logistical, seasonal, and health related issues that come with the sale and purchase of food. Although my distribution proposal attempts to pre-emptively address many of these issues, the system is obviously unrealistic given the cost-prohibitive technological requirements (at least for now).

Why Xbox and other consoles have the wrong pricing strategy

In my opinion the pricing strategy on the video console market is outdated. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are all using a pricing strategy that for years has kept me, and I am sure many others, from investing in an Xbox, a Playstation 3, or a Wii. Let’s take Xbox as an example. First you have to invest in the console, and even though it has been years since the latest release, it will still cost you about 250 dollars. The console, however, is basically useless if you don’t invest in at least a couple of games, – about 40-60 dollars, each! – not to mention extra controllers and other gadgets that come along. That is a lot of money to put up front.

When you purchase a console, or any technology, you run the risk of it being “outdated” once the next version arrives with new features and better technology. The consumer has to decide if it is worth investing now or if it is better to wait six months for the next version. Why should the consumer run the risk and why does Microsoft not make sure to get that extra revenue six months could bring? The relatively large investment and the uncertainty of the technological development either puts you off completely or makes you postpone the investment. As we know, time is money. So what could make people like me invest in a console?

What Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are selling are not consoles, but gaming experiences. The console is just the access point, and the investment is the barrier to that experience. I believe Microsoft should experiment with letting the user subscribe to a gaming experience, and customize it better to the individual need.

Follow the subscription trend and let the consumer subscribe to the equipment instead of buying it. The consumer pays on a monthly basis, and no longer has to worry about the speed of technological innovation. Once the next Xbox console arrives, let them upgrade for a fee. Give them the option of subscribing to extra equipment. Do promotions on e.g the Kinect and let people try it for free for one month, before they subscribe. Make it the IKEA-experience and let them add one extra product to the cart for just five dollars more a month. The same for games. The consumer should not invest in games themselves and get bored with the three games they can afford, but instead get access to a wider number that improves their gaming experience and consumer experience. Have three levels of offerings, or let people customize their gaming package depending on genre. Let them rent a social game for when friends are over. offer some of the old classic games and benefit from the long tail. Changing the pricing strategy, I believe, would lead to increased sales across current and new customers.

Assignment #3 (Option 2)

Reminder – whichever assignment you choose (Pricing or Distribution) is due Tuesday  11/23.

Option 2 – Distribution: Choose a product that you have used before – the smaller the company the better.  Explain how you are able to buy the product today, and how you would be more likely to buy MORE of the product if you were provided another way to get it.  Describe how/where you’d liek to be able to purchase it.  Try to hypothesize why this product isn’t currently being sold in the place you describe.

OneBusAway uses maps to hit a perceptual map bullseye

Although the popular app OneBusAway (OBA) does not quite fit the “entrepreneurial venture” mold, it offers a dynamic,  widely-accessible, and functional solution to a pain point that affects thousands of King County residents. I use OBA on a near-daily basis- largely because its positioning delivers what it promises: straightforward and reliable transit information in real-time.

OBA was developed by two graduate engineering students at the University of Washington in 2008 because, in the words of co-founder Brain Ferris, “waiting for buses in Seattle isn’t pleasant.” Brian worked with fellow student Kari Watkins to develop an open-source information system that improves transit’s overall usability. It now services over 50,000 users per week.

Before adopting OBA, my transit experiences in Seattle were fraught with frustration. Whether on its app, website, or printed marketing collateral, OBA’s positioning addresses this sentiment head-on by sending the exact opposite message. Its content emphasizes transparency, its graphics are crisp and clear, and its interface is explicit and intuitive.

OBA’s positioning states: “Where is your bus? Let’s find out.” Fortunately for me and countless other transit riders, it maps it out for us, literally and figuratively.

Dropbox – Keeping documents and promises

Dropbox. The service that led the cloud “revolution” and one of my favorite online products.

If you go to Dropbox.com you will encounter a long video showing all the things the service does. However, if you take the ‘Tour’ you will see Dropbox start out with a question What is Dropbox? (Great way to start a presentation). and the answer: “Your life’s work, wherever you are”.

The Presentation continues with what is basically the elevator pitch:

“Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere.  This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones, and even the Dropbox website.”

Dropbox has a tagline that goes: “Simplify your life”, and Dropbox has indeed simplified my life. I remember how you had to send a file via email if you wanted to bring it anywhere, and if the file was too big you had to burn a disk, get a memory stick, or forget all about it. Now I have my documents on my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. Anywhere I go. I have several folders shared with people, often different groups of people, and since I accidentally poured coffee into my laptop last year I have also had a copy of all my important documents in my Dropbox folder.

So when Dropbox has chosen “Be anywhere”, “Simple Sharing”, and “Always safe”, they are pretty much spot on to what I experience as their customer. Dropbox does what it promises, great work!

Assignment #2 – Positioning Blog Post

Great work on blog post #1.  Because of the quality of the content, we’re making assignment #2 very easy.  It should take you no more than 10-15 minutes.

  • Pick a product or company you use often.  If you can use an entrepreneurial venture as an example, even better.
  • Describe how the product or company positions itself on their web site or in their marketing materials.
  • Explain briefly how their stated positioning maps to how you perceive the product.

You should be able to answer this in 2 paragraphs.  Assignment due at 3:00pm Tuesday.

WHO IS REALLY GETTING THE DEAL?

If you’re like me and purchase a large amount of your clothes, electronics, sporting gear, etc on the internet, you have certainly noticed the rapid expansion in the number of discount shopping sites. These new discount sites have become the new shopping destination for millions of online shoppers. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast buying a new ice axe on TheClymb or a city slicker getting a spring outfit on RueLaLa, there is a specialized discount site for everyone.  These websites come in a variety of clever structures, including members only, invitation, deal of the day or one deal at a time, but all have one thing in common, BIG discounts!

However, these discount websites are beginning to change the retail landscape. To give a little background, each website creates relationships with manufacturers who allow them to sell their “leftover” products (goods that are outdated, out of style, or just plain not selling) at an incredibly low price. The manufacturers like this setup because it reduces inventory, discount sites like it because they sell A LOT of product, and we like it because we like stuff!  But what effect will this have in the long run? Is this a sustainable business model? What about the manufacturers brand?

There are a lot of questions that will surely have to be considered once the honeymoon phase of these websites has ended. These discount sites are only viable because of the manufacturer’s inability to accurately predict their demand for products; if they could sell all their products at MSRP they would. But, since this is difficult to do they usually end up with more product then they are able to sell and thus turn to the discount sites to help them with their inventory problem. If consumers become accustomed to these steeply discounted prices, they will be less willing to buy a product at MSRP that they now feel is worth less. This will cause a higher percentage of the manufacturers products to be sold at a discount, to which the manufacturer’s response might be… reduce supply!

Another issue that is perhaps more important, is the effect these websites are having on the manufactures brand. While it is great for the manufacturers to sell their excess inventory and free up some capital, what is the cost to their brand? If Nike is consistently being sold on the same website as a no-name European brand for the same price, will Nike’s brand begin to lose its appeal? As the competition between discount websites heat up, all of them are being drawn down to the lowest common denominator; sell anything, sell it fast and sell it cheap. This mentality does not bode well for manufacturers whose product ends up on these sites.

While I pose these questions, I unfortunately do not have any. I do believe that this particular market will need to start thinking about these and other questions that deal with the long term viability of their business and the effects it has on their partners.

Amazon Picks up Pushbutton

In August, 2011 Pushbutton was acquired by Amazon.  Pushbutton is a UK-based agency focused on the development of interactive television content and services.  The company’s products include applications that interface with IPTV services such as pbRemote and Wigwam.tv.  pbRemote is an application that turns existing portable devices into IPTV remotes while Wigwam.tv integrates social media capabilities into existing programming.  For example, with wigwam.tv a user could be watching a soccer game with a group of friends all in different locations but chatting on the side of their screens in real-time using the keyboards on their smart phones.

While this might hint at Amazon moving more aggressively into the IPTV market at some point, it’s also an indication of Amazon’s intent to continue developing the ways in which its users consume and interact with digital content in general.  With Amazon’s entrance into the tablet market, the ecosystem it’s building around it’s Amazon Prime memberships, and general dominance as an online retailer, the company is doing its part to make Amazon as intertwined and necessary in the lives of each of its users.  This is no different from what Apple, Google, and Facebook are up to, they each just have their own unique set of services and products that achieve this.

Pushbutton will give Amazon another set of skills and technologies that will help shape the user experience story for its customers.  This move may not mean Amazon is taking over your living room anytime soon, but it’s easy to imagine what they could do with the capabilities and applications that come with Pushbutton.  It could lead to an interactive VOD offering through IPTV devices that extends the features of Amazon prime, and they could extend pbRemote to let you interact with your smartphone keyboard instead of the clunky TV remotes in use today.

Power Balance? Power Bogus

Power Balance bracelets promised the world and delivered a rubber band.  They arrived on the scene in 2007, and up until 2010 claimed to be capable of increasing athletic performance through their ability to “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body”.  These energy bracelets claimed up to “a 500% increase in strength, power and flexibility” by simply wearing the hologram equipped rubber band.  Sounds too good to be true?  Well, of course it was, but that’s where marketing comes in.

Whether it preempted or was in response to the ridiculousness surrounding the bracelet, Power Balance created a campaign to promote and defend its product with endorsements from prominent professional athletes.  These endorsements included testimonials and photos of successful athletes wearing the bracelets, and reached out to all corners of the sporting universe, including Drew Brees (NFL), Teemu Selanne (NHL), Mardy Fish (Tennis), Ricky Romero (MLB), and more.  Then, when the going got tough, Power Balance pulled a wildcard from its sleeve.  It’s unlikely that any company could have selected a more reputable spokesperson to support the technological claims of a magic rubber bracelet powered by pixey dust than Kazaam himself, Shaquille O’Neal!

Oh, Shaq.

I don’t know what else needs to be said.  I mean, I’m sure Power Balance paid a boat load for Shaq to say this.  I’m not too sure what the going rate is for an endorsement nowadays, but there were surely several millions spent on the full arsenal of athletes, not to mention the cost of airing the Shaq commercial on TV (I’m pretty sure I saw an infomercial for it early one Saturday morning on ESPN).  At $30 a bracelet, with a marginal cost of $0.01/bracelet (yes, I made this up), let’s say Power Balance only needed to sell 66K bracelets to make a couple million in revenue.  Judging by the fact that Bill Clinton has at least 4, I’m guessing the company’s marketing strategy was fairly effective.

As for me, their campaign reached me, but failed to win me over.  Perhaps I’m too skeptical and should be more trusting of companies claiming their product will elevate me to instant superhero-like status.  It worked for Shaq and Clinton, no?

http://www.wired.com/playbook/2011/01/nba-lawsuit-power-balance/

 

Article #3: Marketing Campaigns

Here are the requirements for your 3rd contribution to the blog.

Please write 4 short paragraphs with the following:

  • Describe a company with a creative campaign that reached you. Startups preferred.
  • Describe the media it utilized and estimated budget.
  • Describe the creative utilized and estimated budget.
  • Summarize how you think they judged success, and whether you think it was successful.

Thanks.  Looking forward to more good reading.

 

Article #2 Guidelines

Great work on the 1st set of articles for the class blog.  Here are the guidelines for the 2nd article we’d like you to post.

Please post about 3-4 paragraphs about a product from a non-public company, which you have purchased in the last 30 days, and which you had to make a choice about.
  • Please provide a short introduction describing the product.
  • Question 1: How was the product/brand positioned in comparison with other options you had for a similar product/service? Where was it on Maslow’s chart? Think about Golazo’s messaging, and if your product carves out their position as strongly.
  • Question 2: How was the product priced in comparison to its competitors, both in value and pricing strategies?
  • Any concluding thoughts or analysis.
A good question was asked after class – Why mandate a non-public company? Well, it may limit you a little, but I’d prefer you to do this article based on something you’ve experienced, not something that needs to be researched.  Sometimes marketers forget to put themselves in the shoes of the consumer, so it’s good to analyze your own purchase patterns and think about how the company was able to convince you to choose them.  And a non-public company is likely to be focusing their marketing around a specific positioning statement and pricing strategy, while products from public companies have generally solved that initial problem, and are now marketing to the mass market.

Note on Suggested Readings

As I come across articles online which I think may make for interesting dialogue during class, I’ll add them to the Suggested Readings Page on this site. You shouldn’t feel compelled to read every article on this list, but go ahead and check out the ones that interest you. These articles are all good for debate during class.

Also, if one of the articles grabs you one way or the other, or if you see another article you like, please add it to the blog. Even better if you throw a comment on there with the link.

You should also have the credentials for the Twitter account, so feel free to add content there as well.

Assignment 1

Please complete a standard length blog post, highlighting a company you admire, and how they have successfully executed a set of marketing tactics to a core audience or segment.  We’ll discuss some of these companies in class on Wednesday.

If you need more structure, feel free to consider any of the following aspects of the company’s marketing tactics.  But do not feel obligated to use them if you do not wish to. These are simply questions you can ask yourself if you’d like to.

  • Did they displace a product in the market, or launch a new one?
  • Did their product iterate or improve upon on an existing product?
  • Did they create a brand new market, or simply invade an existing category?
  • What tactics did they use to efficiently and effectively reach their market?
  • Was there a “Tipping Point” which turned the market in their favor?
  • Are their tactics sustainable (not in an environmental way), or temporary?

MKTG 555’s Public Resource

I suspect one of the highlights of leading an Entrepreneurial Marketing course, especially at the University of Washington, is going to be the chance to enjoy the diverse range of viewpoints from the students.

We’re going to be researching, analyzing and evaluating the marketing tactics of some of the top entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Rather than take those analyses and stuff them in a drawer, we’re going to publicly post them here.

By the end of this quarter, this blog should become a valuable source or insight and opinions about Entrepreneurial Marketing endeavors.

Please note: No grades or instructor feedback will be posted on this site, in accordance with University policy.  Also, this blog is not endorsed by the University of Washington.  All opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors to the blog.  None of the content is reviewed by the administration before it is posted.  Any requests to have content removed will be efficiently and expediently reviewed.