Tag Archives: services

Meal Kits Rebound

Meal kits have been around for a number of years. When they first launched, the novelty and ease of use quickly drove the subscriptions up. But sales plateaued as competitors proliferated and differentiation between companies was missing. After all, how many meal subscriptions does a household need? The cost of the first sale was high, and competitors all seemed to be trying to reach the same target market. Growth stalled.

But, the coronavirus pandemic is changing the dynamics of the market once again. With more people staying at home, restaurants closed, and fear of the virus in crowded places such as supermarkets, meal kits are primed for a resurgence. According to Nielsen Research, consumer spending on meal kits in April of this year is nearly double the level from the same period a year ago.

Restaurants also are getting in on the action with Panera Break readying a launch of its own make-your-own salad and sandwich kits. It is being joined by other dining chains such as Denny’s, Chick-fil-A, Shake Shack, and others. Doing an Internet search for “meal subscription boxes” brings up dozens of options for meal and snack subscriptions!

Environmental conditions have a big impact.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of environmental scanning in marketing.
  2. What are the environmental factors that are impacting the meal kit industry?
  3. How can meal kit companies use this information to retain and grow their customer base?
  4. Divide students into team. Have each team research one of the following meal kit companies, or another of their choosing:

Hello Fresh: https://www.hellofresh.com/

Home Chef: https://www.homechef.com/

Sun Basket: https://sunbasket.com/

Blue Apron: https://www.blueapron.com/

Freshly: https://www.freshly.com/

  1. How are these companies different? How are they similar? What is the value offered by each company?
  2. Have students build a SWOT analysis chart for the company.

Source: Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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Movies and Music for Cats and Dogs

Worried that your pet doesn’t get enough stimulation when you are gone during the day? Does your cat or dog just sleep the day away, seem bored or anxious? Then pet TV and music might be just what Spot and Kitty need.

Yes, there are now movies and special music playlists, plus audio books, just for the pets in our lives. Even pet owners seem transfixed by the new services; both humans and pets seem to find it meditative and calming.

Some of the offerings include:

  • Amazon Prime has a number of streaming videos that feature birds, squirrels, and other creatures in their outdoor habitats. The sounds and motion make it seem that it is all happening just outside our windows.
  • Audible collaborated with famed “dog whisperer” Cesar Millan to highlight books for dog listening.
  • Spotify has playlists created just for dogs, cats, and owners, as well as My Dog’s Favourite Podcast. Spotify also offers music for iguana, hamsters, and birds.
  • DogTV offers a subscription streaming service developed specifically for a dog’s sight (color) and hearing (no startling sounds).
  • And, don’t forget about YouTube which hosts thousands of videos that may appeal to pets.

By all accounts, the pet products industry is growing by leaps and bounds, accounting for an estimated $70+ billion in purchases of toys, food, and supplies last year in the U.S.

Rock on!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has pets? Do these pets watch TV or listen to music?
  2. Divide students into teams – include pet owners in each team. List the items that are purchased for pets during the year.
  3. Show pet video/music sites:
  1. Assign each team one of the above sites to examine.
  2. How should these be marketed to pet owners?

Source: Advertising Age; New York Times

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