Tag Archives: technology

Public Relations in Action

Students often wonder how public relations can used as a promotional tool. Compared to advertising – which is very transparent – public relations and press releases are hidden from the view of most consumers. Yet, public relations is a critical tool in the marketing toolbox. It is relatively inexpensive, can be targeted to specific news outlets, can be easily sent to any geography and industry, is a simple way to “influence the influencers,” and it lends an aura of credibility when we read a story in the news.

In reality, although public relations looks like news, all of the efforts are initiated by marketers. Let’s look at an example in the news recently about autonomous-driving trucks:

  1. An article in Wired magazine recently highlighted the efforts by Embark Trucks with its autonomous trucks hauling Frigidaire refrigerators 650 miles from El Paso, Texas, to Palm Springs, California. No driver operated the trucks while they were on the expressway.
  2. While the information in the article is good, the point of this post and discussion is to examine how press releases impact business news.
  3. For that, start with the article, then examine Embark’s Web site, YouTube, Business Wire, and the press release (see below for links).

Where do students think business news comes from?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing the value of public relations.
  2. A video of the process can be seen at http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/
  3. Article on Embark and Frigidaire: Wired magazine online:

https://www.wired.com/story/embark-self-driving-truck-deliveries/?mbid=nl_111317_daily_list1_p4

  1. Embark Trucks Web site: http://embarktrucks.com/
  2. Video from Embark also posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3yPMxV11KaA
  3. Link to how Business Wire works:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/welcome/

  1. Link to press releases about Embark:

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/search/?searchType=all&searchTerm=embark%20trucks&searchPage=1

  1. Specific press release that informs the article:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171112005077/en/Embark-Frigidaire%C2%AE-Ryder-Partner-Pilot-Automated-Drivin

  1. Have students find business articles in the news and trace the articles back to information provided by companies.

Source:  Business Wire; Embark Trucks; Davies A. (2017, Nov. 13). Self-driving trucks are now delivering refrigerators. Wired.

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iPhone X – Premium Pricing

Apple introduced not just one, but two new models of the iPhone this fall: iPhone 8 and iPhone X (ten). Sure, companies often introduce multiple new products at the same time, but rarely do they introduce products that are so similar in scope and use. Why did Apple introduce two models at the same time? Easy – two different models are for two different market segments.

At a price of $999 (64 GB) and $1,149 (256 GB), the iPhone X is Apple’s first premium level iPhone model. And, since it has leading-edge features unavailable on any other smartphone, it seems to be targeting the early adopters and tech enthusiasts who are not price sensitive.

What does the iPhone X have?

  • 8 inch screen takes up the entire face of the device
  • OLED display for thinner, brighter, viewing
  • Face ID infrared facial scanning

The strategy seems to be working. After only a few days of pre-ordering iPhone X online, delivery times are easily two months away.

Are you planning on buying one?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
  2. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  3. Show iPhone X: https://www.apple.com/iphone-x/
  4. Show CBS Video: https://youtu.be/haj5nV6Muhw
  5. For iPhone X product, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  6. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  7. Debrief the exercise. Compare the various pricing models and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each.

Source:  New York Times, CBS, other news sources

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Home Delivery – Inside of the Doorway

Consumers are used to ordering goods online and then having packages waiting on the doorstep when they get home. It’s convenient, but sometimes it’s messy when packages are exposed to rain or snow, or when the neighbor dog plays hide-and-seek with the package, or if someone targets the house for a convenient theft while we’re at work. Sure, we can ask the neighbor to keep an eye out, but what if the neighbor isn’t home, or misses the action? While the costs of package theft has not been measured, one can assume the expense of stolen packages adds up for the shippers – and for the buyers.

Ecommerce companies have been working on solutions. Jet.com (owned by Walmart) is using a smart lock made by Latch to provide one-time home entry by using a code. And now Amazon has gotten into the game with Amazon Key – a $250 service that includes a smart camera made by Amazon coupled with a smart door lock made by Yale or Kwikset.

When the delivery arrives, the lock verifies that the driver is at the correct address and at the correct time. Amazon Key then starts recording video, unlocks the door, and records the entire delivery. It can even grant access to the home to other services such as Merry Maids (housecleaning) and Rover.com (dog walking).

Amazon key is currently available in 37 cities and is open to Prime members (who already pay $99/year for fast shipping and other services).

What will you have delivered?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss some of the problems that consumers have with delivery of packages.
  2. Show links and videos of Amazon Key:

Link: https://www.amazon.com/b?&node=17285120011&ref_=pe_3455630_258731250_em_ecg_bor_bs_ann_func

Kit: https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Key-Home-Kit-compatible/dp/B00KCYQGXE

  1. Also show Latch’s solution:

https://www.latch.com/

  1. How does this service benefit consumers?
  2. Poll students: Would they use this service for deliveries? Why or why not?
  3. How should these services be marketed? Who is the ideal customer?

 

Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

 

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