It’s not a contradiction in terms

Image by <a href=”;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=5475660">Buffik</a> from <a href=”;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=5475660">Pixabay</a>

Many people in marketing (and product management, brand management, or business development roles) have little background in finance and accounting. Even if you have a business degree, accounting may have been long ago, and of course many people enter these roles through other educational and career paths.

As someone who teaches business for a living, I’d argue this is career-limiting. You may be able to get away without understanding money in specialized roles, but as you progress in or grow an organization, you are much better off if you understand how what you do relates to the financial concerns of…

It’s a great headline, but not a great goal

Source: Photo by burak kostak from Pexels

“Brand Love” makes a great headline. Here are some examples from a recent Google search:

· The Importance of Brand Love

· Creating a Culture of Brand Love

· How to Build Brand Love and Why it Matters Now

· 3 Essential Ways to Earn Brand Love

· New Research Reveals 6 Ways to Boost Brand Love

“Connecting with products the same way we connect with people” (Blended Collective, 2017) is, if you will, a seductive idea. But how practical is cultivating brand love in reality? …

What I Think I Know

Over the past five days I have seen a maelstrom of panic from faculty thrust into online classrooms for the first time because of COVID-19. I have been doing online teaching for over ten years now, and have been engaged in a variety of threads on Twitter trying to help. Someone suggested I try to put everything in one place. Here you go. I’ll acknowledge some people I have learned from at the end, which doesn’t mean they agree with my presentation here. Note it’s unlikely all these tips will be useful to you, and…

And what is it good for?

Last week, as part of a curriculum review inside my department, I decided to ask Twitter what it thought of marketing plans. Should I be teaching this concept?

35K views and 3K engagements later (link here:, I want to try to summarize some of what I learned and some of my own thinking here. I also ran a private group conversation on LinkedIN with former students of mine to talk about whether and how they use plans. …

Source: pixabay.

A framework for competitor analysis

You have identified important competitors you want to analyze. (How? See this related post.) It helps to think through what you want to get out of this exercise.

Good competitor analyses should address the following key questions:

1. How much of a threat or opportunity does this competitor represent?

2. What is this competitor likely to do going forward?

Following are some ideas around which you can structure a competitor analysis.

Components of Competitor Analysis

The following perspective draws heavily on what is sometimes called the “Resource-Based View” (RBV) of strategy. Neil Morgan (2012) provides an excellent overview of the RBV as it applies…

Source: pixabay

Marketing strategy is usually cast as finding an effective competitive position in a market. How does your value proposition compare to competing value propositions and customer needs? An effective position should lead to competitive advantage. The trick, of course, is to know who the competition is.

Competitor identification is therefore an important precursor to positioning and competitive advantage. However, managers often avoid this task with one of three easy answers to the competitor identification question. “We don’t need to bother with competitor identification because we compete with”:

· No one. “We are so good (or customers are so constrained) that…

Source: Wikimedia Commons

One needs stores, the other needs a business model

For all the hype and excitement around how the Amazon-Whole Foods deal will change retail forever, the acquisition is actually an admission on both sides that their current plans needed a jump start.

Enabling the Quest for World Domination

As Ben Thompson at Stratechery puts it, Amazon ultimately wants to take a cut of all activity in the economy. The Department of Agriculture indicates that food consumed at home represented 6% of total consumer income in 2014, and Food and Beverages is a category in which Amazon is a trivial player. A Bloomberg report estimates that Amazon…

Get Away from a Bland, Mid-Market Offering

Sears is going out of business. Not immediately, but its announcement that it might not meet the accounting standard of being a “going concern” last month makes some kind of bankruptcy filing highly likely in the near future. Payless Shoe Stores announced last Tuesday a restructuring that would involve closing 400 stores. According to CNBC, nine retail chains filed for bankruptcy in the first three months of 2017, on track for the most bankruptcy filings since the Great Recession. JC Penney’s and Macy’s woes over the past few years are well-documented, with continuing store closures and sales declines. …

source: pixabay

What are the Risks and Benefits when a Brand Expresses Values?

Over the last few months, there has been virtually constant news about which brands are making public statements of values and whether that is a good idea. Lists of brands to either boycott or patronize have been drawn up for both supporters and opponents of President Trump. Some brands have taken an explicit stand around the travel ban, while others have been studiously neutral. Advertisements that the advertisers claim are non-political are routinely scrutinized for political messages.

At one level, every brand expresses values. By choosing a target market and a value proposition, brands choose to exclude some customers: a…

Can you get the message without hearing the ad?

Source: Katie Tegtmeyer,

Every year marketing experts get asked which ads were the best or worst in the Super Bowl. I’m going to take a different tack because I had an unusual (for me) Super Bowl experience last night. I was at a party which actually was a normal party with adult conversation, meaning the sound for the game was turned way down. That meant ads had to work on a visual level: can I get your key message even if I can’t hear what you’re saying?

The idea that visuals matter most on…

Bruce Clark

A practical business professor musing on marketing and management from his not quite ivory tower. Writings do not represent the views of Northeastern University

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