Category Archives: Marketing Madness

Beatles on iTunes: Day Two

Tracking sales; it’s an old habit of mine. So I couldn’t resist an update on Beatles album sales. It is interesting to see how sales are shaking out among iTunes customers. It has been suggested in an article in today’s New York Times that most die-hard Beatles fans have already ripped their CDs onto iPods. So this pattern of popularity is ostensibly among less enthusiastic fans.

This may be true of the top 3; Abbey Road, the White Album, and Sgt. Pepper. But I have a feeling that purchasers of the Boxed set at $149 may be cash-strapped die hard fans who bought a few of the 2009 digital releases on CD but couldn’t manage the almost $300 price tag for the boxed set “hard copy”.

12:30 PM/ Day 2

    7. Abbey Road
    8. White Album
    9. Sgt. Pepper
    11. Boxed Set
    12. The Beatles 1967-
    14. The Beatles 1962-
    17. Rubber Soul
    19. Revolver
    21. Magical Mystery Tour
    22. Let It Be
    25. Hard Day’s Night
    27. Please Please Me
    29. Help
    31. With the Beatles
    33. Past Masters
    35. Beatles for Sale
    47. Yellow Submarine

Beatles on iTunes

I’m not sure what it is. I have no reason to get sentimental about the announcement that the Beatles catalog was finally on iTunes. I didn’t have any reason to get teary when Apple announced ‘Facetime’ on the iPhone 4 either, but I did. At the time of the announcement of Facetime, I was overwhelmed by the realization that something fundamental had changed in my world. I’m careful to say “my world”, although I am not alone as a ‘child of the 60’s, growing up with Dick Tracy, the Jetsons, Robert Heinlein, Issac Assimov, Star Trek and myriad other visions and visionaries pointing to a future where a portable communication device could provide images as well as audio.

Skype isn’t the same thing. It’s not portable (read personal) enough. But back to the Beatles. They may not have been on iTunes these last seven years but they have been on my iPod since the beginning. Eventually the 2009 remastered Beatles CDs got downloaded on my iPod/iPhone/MacBook even though I knew I was losing fidelity because, in a world of digital media, CDs have become inconvenient.

Maybe I was just happy for Steve Jobs. He and I are ‘of an age’ and I understand the importance of the Beatles. As successful as the iTunes store has been, lack of Beatles content was a credibility issue. Now, that has been resolved and iTunes can be considered a full-fledged member of the ‘music biz’.

So what is happening on iTunes? It is Day One of Beatles on iTunes and Abbey Road is climbing rapidly up the album charts. When I began this post it was at number 9, now, at 3:00pm EST they are at number 8; having surpassed Taylor Swift’s new album and closing in on Josh Groban at number 7.

At Hour 5/ Day 1

    8. Abbey Road
    10. White Album
    13. Boxed Set (at $149. !)
    14. Sgt. Pepper
    16. The Beatles 1967-
    17. The Beatles 1962-
    19. Rubber Soul
    23. Revolver
    24. Magical Mystery Tour
    25. Let It Be
    28. Hard Day’s Night
    29. Please Please Me
    34. With the Beatles
    38. Past Masters
    45. Beatles for Sale

For those keeping track that’s 15 of the Top 45 Albums on iTunes. So, in effect, the Beatles have grabbed one third of the album sales on iTunes in 5 hours. Not quite so dominant on the ‘song’ charts, the Beatles most popular song download is Let It Be at 46, Here Comes the Sun at 47, Blackbird at 56, In My Life at 68, With a Litle Help From My Friends at 83, Come Together at 87, and Hey Jude at 99.

Wal-Mart and the Vlasic Pickles

What is intriguing about this story is the way that Wal-mart, the largest company in the history of the world, according to Charles Fishman in his recent book The Wal-Mart Effect, is fundamentally changing the topology of the marketplace. The story of the gallon jar of Vlasic pickles is a case in point.
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As Fishman relates the story, the Wal-mart pickle buyer wanted to make a ‘statement’ with pickles. Vlasic agreed to sell Wal-Mart a one gallon jar of pickles that they could sell at $2.97. Accustomed to buying considerably smaller jars of similarly priced specialty pickles at the supermarket, Wal-Mart shoppers began buying the gallon jars at a rate of 200,000 per week. Continue reading Wal-Mart and the Vlasic Pickles

Batman’s Utility Belt: Open Source meets Mass Customization

“Mass Customization is the ability of a company to meet each customer’s requirements-to prepare on a mass basis individually designed products, services, programs, and communications.”(Keller & Kotler 2006) Examples of mass customization include shoes and clothing made to size, custom blended cosmetics, and choose-your-own-topping pizza. This differs from the more traditional practice of providing product features that certain groups of customers seem to be asking for. In the more traditional approach features are included in some portion of a mass production run. In the mass customization approach a menu of potential features is offered and the customer can choose from that menu. The end product is the sum of standard and individually selected features. This might be specially sized clothing, different sized shoes for each foot, or a front door in blue with brushed nickel hardware. Continue reading Batman’s Utility Belt: Open Source meets Mass Customization

Marketing: Victim of Its Own “ing”?

I was recently paging through Everett Rogers’ classic “Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition” (Everett M. Rogers, Everett Rogers) when I bumped smack into the following passage:

“Marketing” has a negative connotation in some academic circles because the term is narrowly construed as synonymous with manipulating human purchasing behavior for commercial advantage. Undoubtedly, marketing may sometimes seek to sell products to people who do not really want them, like refrigerators to Eskimos.

Ouch! For those of us “in marketing” this ungenerous characterization is particularly painful because “marketing” is narrowly construed this way not only within academic circles but in the general public as well, although I have more often heard people assert that marketers find ice cubes to be the Eskimos’ product of choice.

I would submit that one of the reasons that the concept of “marketing” is so maligned stems from the incorporation of an “ing” in its name. In the first sentence of the quote it seems that Rogers uses “marketing” as a verb. Let’s alter this first sentence slightly and replace “marketing” with “managing”.

“Managing” has a negative connotation in some academic circles because the term is narrowly construed as synonymous with manipulating human work behavior for commercial advantage.

Continue reading Marketing: Victim of Its Own “ing”?

Are You an Early Adopter ?

When you come across a product or technology that you might be interested in do you ask yourself;

    Have enough people tested this product so that I can feel confident that it will work?

Or do you ask;

    Have I missed the boat on this product?

If you’re worried you might be “too early” you’re, more than likely, not an early adopter. If you worry about being “too late” you probably have early adopter tendencies.