Tag Archives: strategy

A Ken Doll for Today’s Kids

To tell a good story and engage with a wide range of audiences, it requires a diverse set of characters. They have to look and act different. It would be a boring story if everyone was the same.

That’s one reason why Mattel has added new dolls to its Barbie collection. The latest addition is a series of different Ken dolls, with different body types, skin colors, eye colors, and hair styles. Kids can now select Ken with a ‘man bun’, cornrows, and freckles. It might make us smile to see Ken with a man bun hair style, but Mattel now has a wider number of Barbie styles than ever before. In total:

  • 40 new dolls
  • 7 body types
  • 11 skin tones
  • 28 hairstyles
  • 100+ diverse looks

The “New Crew” has a large line-up of dolls in almost all shapes and styles. Last year’s more diverse Barbie collection helped increase the division’s worldwide sales by 7%. Mattel’s research also shows that for every six to eight Barbies a child has, there is one Ken doll. All the more reason to show a wider range of looks to keep kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes interested in playing with Barbie dolls.

One future Ken idea: facial hair!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss children’s toys as a market. How diverse are today’s toys for kids of all sizes, shapes, and colors?
  2. Show the new Ken and Barbie dolls: http://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/fashionistas.html
  3. Video: https://youtu.be/c3jbh1PMsOk
  4. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.
  5. Which strategy is Mattel using for this product? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team select one of the four different strategies and explain why that strategy could be used to market the new Ken dolls.
  7. Have each team determine the marketing mix (4Ps) to support their strategy choice.

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

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McDonald’s and Millennials

McDonalds

When was the last time you ate at a McDonald’s? Long the staple of families, teens, and college students, sales at the world’s largest restaurant company have been in a slump. For U.S. locations (about 40% of its restaurants), sales at McDonald’s restaurants have been flat or declining for much of the past year.

According to data compiled for The Wall Street Journal, the problem seems to be one of age – not age of stores, but age of its customers. A large portion of McDonald’s sales have traditionally been to customers age 20 – 30. However, that age group is now in search of healthier, fresher fare and has been switching their loyalties to restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Five Guys, and Panera.

Although McDonald’s has introduced new, healthier McWrap sandwiches and is increasing digital marketing to help win back millennial customers, there are more choices than ever for fast-food patrons. A decade ago, there were more than 9,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S., plus another 14,000 McDonald’s; today, there are nearly 21,000 fast food restaurants competing with 35,000 McDonald’s. That’s a lot of competition for the same dollar.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about their fast-food eating habits: What restaurants do they frequent? Why?
  2. Next, ask students when was the last time they ate at McDonald’s? Why?
  3. Discuss the factors that millennials use to choose a fast-food restaurant.
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a list of criteria that they (as millennials) use to determine which fast-food restaurants they frequently eat at.
  5. Next, have each team select five of the criteria and create a plan for McDonald’s to use to attract more millennials.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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The Price Is Right

Price

Probably no other area of marketing is as critical as pricing. Pricing is both strategic and tactical and is the one factor that can make or break a business. Yet it is a factor that most companies struggle with when developing the marketing mix. Consider this: A one percent increase in pricing power far outperforms any other method (such as reducing costs or increasing efficiencies) for improving revenue.

According to The Cambridge Group, there are three key things that companies should do to create the optimal pricing structure:

  1. Understand the market you are pricing into.
  2. Within this segment, understand what are the different demand or occasions to purchase the customers have.
  3. Understand the value equation the customers are seeking.

Valuation is not always rational; there are emotional components and social benefits to consider as well. Finally, companies need to understand the order of the benefits to the customer. In other words, focus on what is most important to the customer in the target market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1.  Show the video in class: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2014/nielsen-tv-creating-the-right-pricing-strategy.html
  2. Write the three key concepts on the board and discuss the reasoning behind these factors.
  3. Next, divide students into groups and assign a similar product to each group. Choose a product line that has multiple price points and value to different market segments.
  4. Have each group determine the benefits of the product to each segment and determine a pricing strategy.

Source: Nielsen

 

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