Tag Archives: product differentiation

Google’s new Pixel 5

Ready for a new phone? Just the thought of researching new phones and then paying hundreds of dollars more can give consumers a headache. Google seems to be paying attention this fatigue and is making its phones a little simpler and a little less expensive.

It seems like Google is responding to pandemic economic concerns and is pricing its phones in a comfortable middle ground. These products seem made for watching TV or listening to music at home, all without needing to shell out a thousand dollars for a new device. [A Google executive stated that “The world doesn’t need another $1,000 phone right now.”]

The new Pixel phones are priced a bit differently than the past. For example, last year’s Pixel 4 pricing started at $800, but the new Pixel 5 starts at $700. There is even a lower-priced model called the Pixel 4a5G that is priced from $500 – $600.

The Pixel 5 eliminated facial recognition to unlock the phone (good for mask-wearing users!), as well as radar technology that recognized a user waving a hand over the phone, and telephoto and zoom lenses. But on the other hand, it added a larger battery and ultralow-power mode that lets the phone run 48 hour on a charge. The screen is larger and users can wirelessly charge other devices by laying them on the back of the phone.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What phone do they have? How long have they had it? Are they going to buy a new phone in the next few months? Why or why not?
  2. Video of Pixel 5 phone: https://youtu.be/twNDke-cfv4
  3. Show Google’s new phones: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_5
  4. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team do a chart of a different brand of phone, including features and pricing.
  6. What are the points of difference between the various phones?
  7. How much does pricing matter?
  8. How much do features matter?

Sources: Associated Press; New York Times; Washington Post; The Verge; other news sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Should Marketing Mention the Coronavirus?

Let’s face it – marketers are always on the lookout for new opportunities to sell products and services to consumers. This is true in bad times as in good. However, marketers must also be sensitive to what is happening in consumers’ lives and in the general marketplace. It is not wise (or ethical) to take advantage of someone’s suffering or fear in order to make a sale.

It can be tough though. Retail sales have been declining since March and had their largest drop in April as employees worked from home and stores and restaurants were shuttered. Shopping has also shifted from brick-and-mortar stores to online and ecommerce. People are nervous and anxious about their current situation, and about their future. They are also isolated at home and crave human connection. What should a marketer do?

This brings us back to basics: focus on the target market. What is the message the customers want to hear, need to hear, and will respond to positively? Messages should be calm and positive, not scaring to consumers. Stay with the basics of marketing principles: understand the customer, stay connected, alter the tone of messages, stick to the facts, and listen.

Stay connected with consumers. Be honest. Be safe.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their opinion about marketers’ responsibility in times of crisis?
  2. Specifically for the coronavirus pandemic, should companies promote their goods and services by using a painful situation to their advantage?
  3. Show a video about marketing during crisis: https://youtu.be/vmEJZ08rBoM
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team research how various companies are addressing the coronavirus pandemic in their advertising and marketing. (Suggestions: Nike, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Tide, etc.)
  5. What is being done correctly? What should be changed?
  6. In teams, assign a product to the teams and have the students develop a marketing campaign that uses the pandemic in a way that shows a value to consumers.

Source: Ad Week; New York Times; other news sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Where’s the Meat?

In case you haven’t noticed, there are a growing number of meatless ‘meat’ products now available at both grocery stores and restaurants. In the past few months alone, several fast food chains launched chicken-free chicken and meatless burgers to their offerings, and all seem to delight customers who are looking for plant-based alternatives to meat.

In one instance, KFC supplied an Atlanta franchise with faux-meat chicken from Beyond Meat called the ‘Beyond Fried Chicken’. Customers arrived before the doors even opened and the restaurant sold out of its supplies in just five hours! Of course, social media was responsible for the rush to test, but nonetheless, selling out what was supposed to be a several day experiment in less than a day says a great deal about the changing consumer tastes.

Burger King is already established in the meat-free burger category and has been selling the ‘Impossible Burger’, using the plant-based patties from Impossible Meats. White Castle is also in the mix with its ‘Impossible Slider’ (also from Impossible Meats), also sold nationwide.

And last, but not least, McDonald’s has jumped into the meatless game with its ‘PLT’ burger from Beyond Meat – plant, lettuce, and tomato. While today the PLT is only available in Ontario, Canada, it seems likely to make the move to a national distribution as well.

What’s going on? What are these new ‘meats’? The term ‘meatless meats’ is a contentious point, but the products are made by combining plant-based fats, binders, fruit and vegetable-based colors and flavor to create a fibrous texture of meat (no animal components). While these types of products have existed for a number of years, they were commonly marketed only to vegetarians and vegans. Today’s new plant-based meats are aimed directly at meat-eaters, particularly consumers who are concerned about climate change and eliminating animal products from their diets. However, plant-based meats are not typically as healthy as eating unprocessed vegetables and beans and meat consumption is still increasing worldwide. The burgers are often high in calories and fats.

Are you hungry?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review meatless meat products and meals as needed:
    1. McDonald’s PLT burger: https://youtu.be/StVR1njx2ow
    2. KFC meatless chicken: https://youtu.be/U-imMy7Ohik
    3. Burger King Impossible Whopper: https://youtu.be/N9FED3jkNTo
    4. Impossible Whopper: https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper
    5. The Better Meat Co: https://www.bettermeat.co/
    6. Beyond Meat: https://www.beyondmeat.com/
    7. Impossible Foods: https://impossiblefoods.com/
    8. Carl’s Jr Burger calorie: https://www.carlsjr.com/menu/nutritional_calculator/beyond-famous-star-with-cheese
  2. Discuss the five factors of an environmental scan: Social trends, technology trends, competition, economic trends, and legal/regulatory factors.
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team use their laptops or mobile devices to discover at least two points in each of the five categories of an environmental scan.
  4. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board.
  5. Do these factors show why companies are embracing the new foods?
  6. Extra video: If students are interested, a scholarly video about climate change and food can be found at: https://youtu.be/8miQs3mPGu8

Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Associated Press, and other news sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities