Nugget Dictionary Keyword – What is Astroturfing?

Hola Todos!

In short, I never heard this term “astroturfing” before so it’s time to post the keyword to the Nugget Dictionary. According to Wikipedia, astroturfing is:

“…is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message (e.g. political, advertising, or public relations) to give the appearance of it coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant. Astroturfing is intended to give the statements the credibility of an independent entity by withholding information about the source’s financial connection. The term astroturfing is a derivation of AstroTurf, a brand of synthetic carpeting designed to look like natural grass.”

I was reading the Apple 2.0 blog and was introduced to the term in a Philip Elmer-DeWitt post.  In the article, Philip detailed how Samsung “hired students to post fake benchmark reviews of HTC’s latest smartphone and reporting – falsely – that they were ‘constantly crashing.’ ” After admitting the wrongdoing, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission fined Samsung 10 million Taiwanese dollars (or US $340,000) for defaming a rival.

Something to think about today…

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

My Definition of Marketing

Hola Todos!

I found it hard to believe that after 2 years and 261 posts, that I NEVER had an explicit post on my definition of marketing: Find out what people want and give it to them!

Recently, former student Jimmy Miguel, emailed me the following:

“Dr. Dano – How you doing? Tell you what, you have some crazy good timing, I was in a Marketing workshop just last weekend and the guy that was presenting went around the room asking what we do for a career. Once everyone was done he stopped and asks out loud: “what is marketing?” Obviously, considering the majority of the audience were marketing professionals, we all knew what it was but there was some ambivalence on how exactly to describe it. After a couple valiant but feeble attempts by my cohorts I piped up and said “Finding what people want and giving it to them.”

 He was kinda taken aback because everyone was using all this sophisticated vernacular to describe what it was, but in its most basic form, that’s it. He did use a different choice of words to describe it, but he pretty much agreed that it was an accurate definition. All these years later, I still use that as my definition… Sounds like a good Nuggetville posting to me haha.” 

Agreed Jimmy.  It does sound like a good Nuggetville post and I was really surprised that since starting the blog in August 2011, that “the definition” was never a post in-it-of-itself (note: while never detailed, it has been mentioned previously).  Over the last 10 years as a marketing professor, I have been teaching Principles of Marketing or the foundation Marketing class on the graduate level at least 3 to 4 times per year and I tell the students that the definition highlights the three most important chapters in the textbook:

“Find out (marketing research) what people want (consumer behavior) and give it to them (segmentation, targeting, and positioning)”

Truth be told, I learned my definition of marketing while working on my MBA at Saint Joseph’s University.  In my foundation MBA marketing class, professor John Stanton was the first person I heard use it (he was working on a book at the time, Success Leaves Clues).  I know a nugget when I hear one and I, like Jimmy in the quote above, never forgot it.

Something to think about today…

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

 

 

Apple staying the course: Dr. Dan-o eats some of his own “Claim Chowder”

Hola Todos!

Apple did have a big day yesterday as they did in fact, “have a lot to cover” (full event here).  You will not have to search far or wide to find to review today somewhere in the blogosphere (what the analysts are saying here).  I was happy to see an iPad Mini w/Retina screen.  Changing the iPad branding to “Air” was unexpected, but overall, we did not see a new product line debut.  Sometime in the near future (i.e., 12 to 18 months), we’re going to need to see something truly new from the executives in Cupertino.

That said, it is time for me to eat some of my own “Claim Chowder.” Claim chowder is when you eat your words (nod to John Gruber for coining the term).  Yesterday in the presentation, right after CEO Tim Cook stated that Apple sold 170 million iPads in 3 ½ years, he threw up some 2010 claim chowder from journalists such as, “It’s not going to revolutionize anything, it’s not going to replace netbooks” OR “Anyone who thinks it’s a game changer is a tool.”

Exactly at this time last year, I said, “Apple messed up the pricing” as I thought $329 was way too high.  In a later post, I tried to see it more from Apple’s perspective and gave a number of reasons, (i.e., R & D costs, supply chain constrains, a new form factor, etc) to why Apple priced the Mini where they did.  However, the Claim Chowder did not stop there.  In the same post, I later said, “Mark my words, the price of the Mini will drop by this time next year – either $279 or $299.”  I guess I thought I was going to be hungry in October 2013.

The only thing is truly said right last year was the axiom “You price what the market will bear.”  Although Apple does not break out sales of the larger iPad from the Mini, we know that the Mini sold very well in the past 12 months.  Moreover, competition is nowhere close to offering the quality – nor the free software (please don’t underestimate this folks, all that updated new iLife and iWorks software is a BIG BIG deal) making the Mini a fine package.  I’m not saying it’s the cheapest package, but Car and Driver magazine has been calling the BMW 3-Series one of their “10 Best” for 22 straight years – if you want the best, you going to have to pay for it.

Something to think about today…

Best regards,

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

 

From Burberry to Apple: Angela Ahrendts is headed to Cupertino

Hola Todos!

While everyone thought Apple would have interesting things to say (and debut) on October 22nd, no one expected the announcement of Angela Ahrendts as Apple’s new Sr. VP of Retail Operations (starting sometime in Spring 2014).   Needless to say, the news caused a title wave of posts in the blogosphere, including:

Apple and China (via Daring Fireball)

Five videos: Tim Cook taps Burberry’s CEO to run Apple retail (via Apple 2.0)

Apple’s Angela Ahrendts: What the pundits are saying (via Apple 2.0)

At the intersection of fashion and technology, is retail chief Angela Ahrendts Apple’s next CEO? (via GigaOM)

Can Angela and Tim Create Apple 3.0 — Or Not? (via Steve Tappin on LinkedIN)

 

Not surprising being the Apple geek that I am, I too jumped into the fray:

Apple hires Burberry CEO to head its retail division (via the LA Times)

 

When I saw the news Tuesday morning, I put a few thoughts together:

(1) Apple really needs help in the retail dept – since Apple fired John Browett in October 2012, they have been leaderless in the retail area.  Ron Johnson made the Apple stores what they are but there has been little to no innovation on that front since Johnson left 2011.

(2) Angela Ahrendts knows technology – There is not another luxury retailer on the planet that targets their customers better through digital channels.

(3) Angela Ahrendts knows upscale – Apple is not a mid-tier player.  Apple does not want to target the mass market. Apple likes to play in the premium space – premium customers.

(4) Angela Ahrendts knows China – and this item BY FAR is the most important.  Apple needs a major push in China.  They have a paltry number of Apple retail stories in China and they have been slow to add more (and no one knows why).  Apple is on the verge of signing a deal with China’s largest telecom carrier – China Mobile – and when that happens, suddenly Apple will have access to 740 million customers to whom they have been locked out from.

In summary, this fills two MAJOR holes in Apple’s overall strategy – (1) China and (2) retail.  I’d call it a bigger grand slam than David Ortiz’s in Boston on Sunday night.  And in the culture of Lean IN, she’ll be an incredible female executive to the likes of Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer in the Valley.  Apple does not have a female executive in upper management/Sr. VP level (Angela will report directly to CEO Tim Cook) and Apple only has one female board member (Andrea Jung).

I’d say it’s a win-win-win all around.

Something to think about again in early 2014 when Angela lands in Cupertino…

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

http://www.shu.edu/academics/profiles/profile-details.cfm?customel_datapageid_148360=349125

 

 

 

 

Privacy Lost…Part III: All in the Name of Transparency?

Hola Todos!

In a previous DigNuggetville posts, I highlighted just how much the marketers know about us.  One of the biggest of these firms is Acxiom, and I nearly fell out of my chair when I read the following headline: “Find out what Big Data knows about you, (it may be very wrong).”

It turns out that Acxoim unveiled a website called AboutTheData.com where if one were to put one’s name in the field, one could get a “snapshot” on what Acxiom knows (and sells to retailers and marketers) about you.  Not surprising, the data is not 100% accurate.  In fact, Acxiom states up to 30% of your data might be wrong at any given time.

What was surprising is most of the middle part of the article focused on privacy and the fact that this website “is a win for privacy advocates who have long called for increased transparency. But with that transparency comes a chance for us to see just how much information is gathered and sold — and how much of it is off-base.”

What made my jaw drop was this line two-thirds of the way through the article:

“It even asks consumers to ‘correct’ their profile in order to ensure they’re receiving the most appropriate offers.”

Say WHAT!

Let me get this straight, Acxiom is trying to increase their transparency correct?  Yet, they having the individuals in THEIR database (at least 30% inaccurate remember) CORRECT their records so they can sell a more accurate representation of us to future marketers.

Yes, you read that right – Acxiom is using a wisdom-of-crowds technique (e.g., crowdsourcing) to fix one of their biggest problems – all in the name of “transparency” – and yes, they probably can sell these more accurate records at a better price because they have been “verified” by the user.  Incredible they can get away with that.

I’m not going to check myself as last thing I want to do is help out a firm like Acxiom.

Something to think about today…

 

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University

 

Campbell Soup CEO Visits Seton Hall University

Hola Todos!

We, in the Seton Hall community, had the pleasure of welcoming Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Co. (and only one of twelve female CEOs in the Fortune 500) as the keynote speaker for our Fall Integrity & Professionalism Convocation (the video of the presentation can be found here). CEO Morrison discussed the future of Campbell Soup Co. but devoted much of the talk discussing her personal journey to the CEO seat.  I felt it was an incredible experience for the Seton Hall students, particularly for my two freshmen sections of BUSI 1000 (Introduction to Business) that are examining the functions of the firm through the lens of Campbell Soup.

The keynote presentation was part of a week of events including a Go Soups and Skillet Sauces tasting on campus.  The following are my nuggets – favorite takeaway or quotes from the presentation:

– – -“You can’t do it all at once but you can do it all over time”

– – – Denise started her career in sales at Proctor & Gamble and spent much of her pre-CEO career in the sale function; one of many Fortune 500 CEOs who rose to the position from the sales function.

– – – “The art of the zig-zag; Look at a company as an opportunity to gain different experiences” Meaning you make meaningful shifts in your career to gain difference experiences.  I really like this one as it echo’s Sheryl Sandberg’s metaphor from Lean In that your career is more of a jungle gym (i.e., there is more than one way to get to where you want to be) as opposed to a ladder where there is just one way up (or down).

– – – “Its not work life balance but work-life integration; you cannot be in balance all the time but you can balance out over time.”  I do not believe Sandberg’s book ever said this so clearly.

– – – “Networking is not fooling around.  Networking is hard work – building relationship for when you need them.”  This echo’s Reid Hoffman’s mantra in The Start Up of You that farming is a much better metaphor than hunting when thinking about networking.

– – – “Integrity and ethics is not an extra curricular activity.  It is who you are.”

– – – “Serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference.”  I believe in being more of a Y-type servant leader (here and here) than an X-type command and control leader.

Many thoughts to think about out today…

 

Best regards

Dr. Dan-o

 

Daniel M. Ladik, Ph.D.,

 

Associate Professor of Marketing

Stillman School of Business

Seton Hall University