Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Voices of Chinese Workers

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A global workforce presents both opportunities and challenges to companies and countries alike. Around the world, millions of people work in factories producing high-end goods consumed in the West and Europe. As Leslie Chang begins her talk for TedTalks, she mentions that in the U.S., as beneficiaries of globalization, we often feel we exploit these workers as victims who have been treated unjustly. We assume that Chinese factories are oppressive and that is our fault as Western consumers who desire cheap goods.

Chang contends that these thoughts are both inaccurate as well as disrespectful; what is the ego involved to imagine that we have the power to drive millions of people on the other side of the world to suffer in their work? Her thesis points out that Chinese workers choose to leave their homes in order to earn money, learn new skills, and see the world. Her talk gives a voice to the workers themselves and we learn from them what they value and dream of in their own lives.

In this moving and timely talk, Chang examines the lives of workers in China, interviewing them and taking a new look at what globalization offers to workers in emerging countries. As we might assume, there is both great good, as well as some harm, that has come from the outsourcing of manufacturing to China. Listen to Chan’s talk and decide on the issue for yourself.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Begin with a discussion about globalization.
  2. Before showing the video, ask students what their thoughts are about the emerging countries’ manufacturing operations?
  3. What are the factors that have led to manufacturing in China?
  4. What are the implications of this? Positive aspects? Negative aspects?
  5. Show the TedTalks video: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/leslie_t_chang_the_voices_of_china_s_workers.html
  6. What are the responsibilities of corporations when outsourcing work to emerging countries such as China?
  7. Discuss aspects of Apple’s and Nike’s oversees manufacturing.
  8. After viewing the video, what are students’ thoughts now about emerging countries’ manufacturing?

Source:  TedTalks.com

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Tide Pods Win Market Share

8Consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) is one of the toughest categories for marketers. It’s crowded with a many similar products, the products tend to be in the mature stage of the product life cycle, and companies spend tens of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns each year! This translates to the need to keep products innovative, fresh, valuable, and memorable. Or, as least as memorable as products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and detergent can be.

However, with the launch last year of Tide Pods, detergent has recently emerged as a very memorable product. In the first year of sales for Tide Pods, the product has reached roughly $500 million in revenue. This is quite a feat given that of the 1,500 new consumer-packaged-goods launched last year, only 21% reached first year sales of even $50 million.

Tide Pods did not have a smooth market entry; the product was launched six months later than scheduled and, because of supply shortages, did not have retail promotions. Even today, supply problems have caused the Pods to be excluded from coupon offers. Despite these problems, Pods have earned the lion’s share of the market. Why? One reason is that Pods provide consumers with a new value and offering a unit-dose product (this means consumers can’t put more detergent than is needed into the washer; over-dosing is a common way manufacturers increase sales). Pods also appeal to specific market segments such as urbanites, apartment dwellers, and college students.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

 

  1. First, discuss the four main market strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. Which strategy did Tide Pods choose?
  2. View several of the Tide Pods commercials: http://youtu.be/GNz4A1rMTnA and http://youtu.be/W_3SMf2tyck
  3. Poll students: What laundry detergent do they use, and why?
  4. Next, discuss the product life cycle stages. Where are most CPG products? Where is detergent?
  5. How has Tide Pods changed its position in the PLC?
  6. Divide students into teams. Select a common CPG category (i.e., toothpaste, shampoo, soap).
  7. Have students select a market strategy to pursue (i.e., product development, etc.), then have them develop a marketing plan for that strategy.

 

Source:  Ad Age Daily, Brandchannel.com, other news sources

 

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Orapup – Toothbrushes for Dogs

Orabrush is a company that knows its way around the Web. It began selling its tongue-cleaning brushes on a Web site, and eventually though innovative guerrilla marketing, worked its way into a multi-million dollar distribution agreement with WalMart. And today, after more than 50 million hits on its human videos, Orabrush has come up with a new target for its brushes – dogs!

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Actually, it was Orabrush customers and fans (called “Orabuddies”) who had suggested that the company make tongue brushes to help eliminate doggie bad breath. The company tested the idea through crowd-sourcing site www.indiegogo.com, and raised $60,000 by selling the product, plus getting feedback and market buzz along the way.

The new product uses Orabrush’s success with humans to develop a new product and market. The company has found a formula using geo-targeted YouTube advertising to drive sales near stores carrying the products. Orabrush generates online awareness and sales first, then works on offline distribution channels (such as WalMart).

And what a market it is – the pet care industry is worth tens of billions of dollars! While Orapup is still a small player in the market, the continuing growth of pet ownership and spending sets it up nicely for continued growth.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start with a discussion about the four basic market strategies: product development, market development, market penetration, and diversification. How can each of these strategies be used for a company?
  2. Next, discuss Orabrush in relationship to the four strategies. Which strategy is Orabrush pursuing with Orapup?
  3. View the videos and Web site for Orapup’s doggie toothbrush: www.orapup.com
  4. Why, or why not, will this be a successful strategy?
  5. What other tactics should the company use to penetrate this new market?
  6. For more on the background of Orabrush and how they got noticed, view the story online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tuTi8_z6Q

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 2/22/13

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