It is sad to see that Forever 21 filed for bankruptcy. Their backstory is fascinating and the 5 minute video backstory of Korean immigrants achieving the “American Dream” by Business Insider is worth watching.
Unlike the typical sad “decline of US malls” story and rise of “online retail” the Forever 21 story has important lessons for all businesses. It is also an eerie reminder of the the New Coke fiasco, To recap, Coca Cola did not realize in the eighties that customers did not drink Coke for taste but it was all about being American – a much deeper meaning.
The most exciting thing for business over the 2019 summer was when the Business Roundtable put out a Statement on the “Purpose of the Corporation.” Signed by 181 American CEO’s all of whose brands are well known to consumers or businesses, the statement reflects the changing times. Download the Roundtable Statement here and check out the 181 signatures from many CEO’s of companies you are already familiar with.American politicians have been telling us what we know to be true – the “American Dream” eludes most folks today due to rapid changes in globalization and technology. Thankfully, leaders of American businesses have taken notice and have decided to move their focus from the “next quarter” to “long term shareholder value” on the shareholder element and have included all stakeholders in the “Purpose of the Corporation”. The times have truly changed in the last decade with all stakeholders having a voice on social media and the old dictum of “just focus on shareholder (short-term) value” can no longer work. See Eric Posner’s article “Milton Friedman was wrong” in the Atlantic.
Monday was Earth Day and it’s a good time to think about the recycling crisis facing the US. Last year China that took in most of the developed world’s recyclable trash decided to up it’s quality standards. Do recyclables going into the recycle bin have quality standards ?- the surprised reader might wonder. Yes they do as this article in Mercury News explains. It is timely for all to understand what you should NOT be putting in the recycle bin.
The TJX group (including brands like TJMax, Marshalls, HomeGoods etc.) and Costco seem to be always crowded. And when you look at long checkout lines you know they must be doing something right in the digital age.
Next time you pass a Dollar Store in the US (including Dollar Tree and Dollar General) observe the parking lot. In towns rich and not so rich you’ll find that the parking lot is full most of the time.If you have not gone into a Dollar Store recently – do so and then compare the merchandise to Walmart. For a dollar the quality is not bad.
Dollar Stores took off after the 2008 recession and there are more Dollar Stores than McDonald’s in the USA. Between Dollar Tree and Dollar General there are 30,000 stores and these are very densely seen in the mid-west and the farmlands of middle America. A recent article “Sign of hope or worry- when the dollar store comes to town” describes the mixed bag that these stores are for local communities.
The two biggest attractions for marketers with 5G will be:1) Mobility: With mobile use already at 3 hers 35 minutes a day in the US expectations are that mobile will surpass TV in terms of time spent in 2019. And that’s before 5G really kicks in.
2)Fast=Decrease in latency: Latency or the delay between asking and getting replies due to network speeds will vastly improve. Google will get even faster replies but also even your messaging can get faster. The day is not far away when at a restaurant you see the dessert ads on your phone even before the waiter asks at the end of your meal!
Enter big, bad, old world, clunky Microsoft who acquires Github last year and the Internet exploded with jokes. Both Bill Gates and Steve Balmer were tough industrial age managers and Satya Nadella realized that the world had changed- see “How Microsoft got its groove back.”Command and Control” and top down strategy days are over in the knowledge age.
The tectonic shift in marketing occurred in the late 1980’s and 1990’s particularly with the publication of Dwyer, Schurr and Oh (1987) that spelt out the parallel between the long term human marriage and business relationships. It was earlier in Europe that scholars of the European Industrial Marketing and Purchasing Group figured out that B2B relationships are long term that B2B marketers who really sold anything already used.Similarly in B2C marketers had been using customer relationships data for a hundred years in direct ma
2019 has rolled in and understanding the digital assault on Brands is timely.Brand owners don’t seem to Google their own brands. How could many brands with 1.5 star reviews still be in the market? Our guess is that managements don’t seem to checking. If they checked, they’d find solutions to this brand fiasco.
Google on the other hand depends on searcher feedback to make the search engine better and better. If people think that an answer is good that answer is pushed up in SEO and Google becomes better next time that query pops up.In the process, when more customers view a page or video it signals that it is answering the query the customer had typed. The customer really does not have to share a page on Facebook for the page to become better ranked. Views of a page against a search query is good enough to rank the page higher. This is the reason that we watch YouTube videos that have higher page views and traditional media talks about how many views a video or TED talk has.It ‘s hard to build a product like Google that automatically becomes better every time someone uses it. If you think about it, legendary brands like Coca Cola do not have an automatic machine based system of becoming better. However digital businesses like Amazon and Netflix rapidly use big data to improve their recommendation engines.Sometimes you do feel that the suggestions are right and not simply up-sell tactics.