FLASH! PETA SHUTS DOWN POKEMON GO EVENTS IN PORTLAND, OREGON!

Pokemon Go BallThe controversial organization, PETA (Protection for Equivalent Theoretical Animals), has managed to rally citizen support to protest and block several Pokémon Go events scheduled in Portland, Oregon, on the basis that monsters qualify as “theoretical animals” and that Seekers, in pursuit of points, status and otherwise basic irrational and illogical storytelling opportunities, will resort to irrational, illogical and virtual fantasy activities as they prey on innocent virtual creatures unable to defend themselves.

LET OUR POKEMON GO GO!   jail pokemon

Signs of Pokémon Go monsters contained in squalid cages and fed items with virtually no substance are popping up everywhere. Worse, in a demonstration of how low seekers will fall, “monster-fights” reminiscent of the dog fights that got old basketball players almost arrested have been seen in the back alleys of one of America’s greatest cities.  The conditions are perceived as horrible, with poor monsters gripping bars and crying out for their families.  In a worst-case situation, a baby monster was separated from its mother before it could flee its hunters.

pokemon#2Other groups attempting to capitalize on the event have even started a “slave labor” camp for captured monsters, selling them on Craig’s List for virtual bucks.  Enslaved monsters are expected to ensure harsh working conditions while captors and seekers seduced into this unsavory world go out in pursuit of even more monsters.  It’s an awful situation as wild and carefree monsters are struck down in the middle of their natural habitat, with little time to defend themselves from the “slaying ball” that is used to swipe them away.  As one concerned citizen reported, Pokémon Go monsters are even starting to show up in  historically human red light districts.  Poor PokemonRepublicans across the country are in an uproar as questions of equality for animals and citizens’ concern for these imaginary creatures takes priority over what they have long considered to be a more important agenda while Democrats are looking to expand universal health care programs to include Pokemom Go Monster Dads, Moms and kids alike.

GETTING EVEN

As the Pokémon Go phenomenon has exponentially accelerated in the last few days, pokemon fieldreports of Seekers getting creamed is also increasing, to include (most recently) a group in Salem, Oregon that found themselves standing in the middle of Liberty Street in the front of the firehouse, trying to climb up the fireman’s pole in search of an evasive and illusive creature.  Seems that Seekers may not be using a lot “upstairs” as they look for PokeStops and through Lures out to grab yet another poor, defenseless monster.  But, the monsters are starting to get creative and gang up on Seekers.

In yet another unreported incident, four ridiculously cute monsters threw their own “lure” out to catch a few unsuspecting Seekers.  Using the guise of a broken paw, one monster lay await in a green circle as the Seekers approached.  Just as the swipe of the ball was about to happen, three other monsters ran out and jumped on top of the Seekers, scaring the bejeezus out of them, causing them to lose their phone and of course, their corresponding identity. (Anyone looking for a Samsung XII should call the local authorities).   It’s only a matter of time before massive uprisings between man and beast lead us all to lock ourselves in our shelters and wait to see who wins.

RELEASE OUR POKEMON GO!

PETA, founded by M.N Sterious, an 84 year old member of the Portland community, is dedicated to the protection of virtual reality of any form.  M.N. Sterious planned and coordinated the Portland Pokémon Go blockade using age-old wisdom combined with helpful hints from Google search engine.  Demands for a release of all caged Pokémon Go monsters must be met before the blockades are removed.   As in all things fantastical, the PETA group has staged a virtual hunger strike with hopes to gain attention of those who are oblivious to this ridiculous condition.   It certainly grasped this author’s attention!

For more information on PETA, look no further.  You won’t find anything anyway.  Meanwhile, stay OFF THE STREETS, OUT OF TREES, AWAY FROM FIREHOUSES…oh yeah – all that advice assumes people are using their heads when playing this game.  That’s where we went wrong!

How to answer trolls when they’re just worried about their loved one.

There are unique challenges to marketing in health care. As a hospital, you aren’t selling a product, and many of your services are not based on traditional notions of demand. Social media marketing in health care is frequently focused on community education and outreach, which makes negative comments extra jarring. A comment about somebody’s son waiting in an emergency room for nine hours stands out starkly against a cheerful post of recommendations for managing your sodium intake this holiday season.

Ragan, a respected voice in health care PR, communications, and marketing gives some great basic tips for responding to negative comments here, but is that enough? Negative testimony speaks loudly against a service experience that many people already resent. Marketing professionals in health care have the opportunity to continue to educate—there’s a reason you may have to wait in the emergency room—as well as use the feedback to inform patient satisfaction initiatives. Indeed, some negative feedback must be addressed, to prevent a snowballing blow to community health. Visible negative comments can lead community members to delay care, or avoid trips to the hospital, which undermines the benefit of having locally available care options.

Amazon: Signaling You to Buy No Matter What the Price

imgresFor over twenty years Amazon has been losing money on every transaction but winning in volume.  The now $100 billion E-commerce giant has eliminated the list price.  For individuals not familiar with the marketing and the signaling theory let me explain.  Amazon signals to the consumer that the item is on sale because the list price is depicted as what the item should sell for in an ideal market.

READ: Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices

Let’s say you need to get a new Iphone 6 case.  After a couple minutes
searching on line you spot a Crushed Damson Purple / Pink Otterbox Defender Series 6 case with a list price of $47.76 using Amazon Prime but wait, hold on,  just for you …it is now selling for $39.77.  You think to yourself hold on I need to logon to my Amazon Prime account right now and capture this deal before it goes away.  Deep breath you captured the deal and it will be on your doorstep in a day thanks to Amazon Prime.

So what happened, well your primordial brain sensed prey in the form of a deal, your adrenaline started pumping because you are on a proverbial hunt. This is when your rational brain kicked in asking the question “Hey is this a good deal?”  Now your primordial brain trying to appease the rational side of your mind says “ hey dummy chill out we just saved $7.99  from the list price. We got a killer deal!  High Fives all around!”

Now is as good a time to bore you with the details of the Signaling Theory.
In the context of marketing the seller has full knowledge of the total cost
of the item, the quality, the breadth of similar items and the market price
that consumers are willing to pay.  The consumer meanwhile has few resources to compare the item to and in most cases revert to user reviews that have been cultivated by the merchandiser. Information asymmetry occurs where one side as all the information and the other side has little to none.

Back to the iPhone case, Amazon has all the information of what it costs to
buy the purple Otterbox Defender 6 case from the manufacturer. Amazon has calculated the administrative, holding and shipping costs down to the penny. They have metrics to determine product quality and demand for this and all similar iPhone 6 cases, so they know what is hot and what is not down to the tenth of a percentage point (or more).

But what do you know, well, let’s see you can see the list price and the
quoted price on Amazon’s website. You know that users like the product and that you can get it in 24hours if you buy it now.  More importantly, you know that you got a fabulous deal,  a savings of $7.99 is real money.  But did you save money, well that is another question?  It is a relative
question with a nebulous answer.  Yes, you saved money from an artificially high list price, remember Amazon and OtterBox are in the business to make money.  But did you get a good deal? Well, this is where Signalling theory comes into play because Amazon has signaled that you are getting a great deal, and you have accepted the signal without question.

So why does Amazon want to change business as usual,  well to be honest
because we have now been so conditioned to buy almost everything from Amazon that they don’t need to signal that you are getting a good deal anymore? In fact,  Amazon has collected so many data points from you that they know what you buy when you buy it, the frequency that you need it, who you are sending it to, what colors you prefer and the urgency in which you need it.

Like Pavlov’s dog, they have you trained and can predict what shipments to direct to their local distribution centers even before you click send on
your order. Because they have taken all the guessing out of this process,
there can fix the price on the optimal value proposition for the consumer
and Amazon.  To some, this is a thing of beauty but to some, it is very
scary, almost Orwellian.  Rest assured big brother Amazon knows if you have been naughty or nice and will be shipping your Purple iPhone 6 case to you even before you … oh wait the delivery guys here with an Amazon box.   I wonder what it is?

Thoughts On Microsoft’s “Bae” Invite

Microsoft

Read about the Bae invite to get lit with lots of dranks here. 

Why is it so hard for the middle-aged to look hip and cool?  How many middle age men get ridiculed for being out of “vogue” and most middle-aged women are labeled Volvo driving soccer moms. Yes, it is true most of us have lost the battle with gravity, and any free time we may have after work and family obligations is not focused on discovering the latest trends in fashion or music. Heck,  I proudly admit that I buy shoes based on comfort over style or brand recognition, but does that make me a fuddy-duddy?

Why should I care?   I am okay with being a middle-aged man; I believe that the gray hair in my beard is just wisdom exiting my body, while the aches and scars I have accumulated during my youth provide a natural segue into a great story.   Shouldn’t an amazing company like Microsoft be comfortable with being middle aged?  I mean they had a spectacular youthful run in the 80’s and 90’s.  In the 00’s MSFT expanded into new markets during their early twenties and emerged in the next decade as a community leader and technology integrator. Microsoft mainstreamed personal computing, reimagined work productivity and transformed how the world communicates. Yes, there were some missteps, and more than once youthful exuberance got them in trouble but they are still synonymous with technological innovation and value creation. Not a bad pedigree for a middle company,

Sure they aren’t as shiny as Google or Facebook, but why should Microsoft a storied brand succumb to a disingenuine recruitment tactic?  I find it hard to believe that Microsoft recruitment tactic is to convince young developers that they are hip and cool?  Don’t they know that their recent recruitment effort was like a 45year old balding male divorcee trying to pick up a sorority girl as the trendiest Manhattan bar?  Didn’t someone say hey wait a minute, this is not befitting of our brand image?

When I think of Microsoft’s brand image, I think of integration, consistency, and global interoperability.  These are not expressions of youth but years of hard work, technological leadership, and innovation.  Microsoft should wear the badge of middle age with pride;  Microsoft is the elder statesmen in the technology world, the mentor to fledgling startups dreaming of achieving a fraction of the success that Microsoft has achieved.

As I have said before, I don’t pretend to be hip and cool, and I could care less if I am perceived that way. I believe my value to the younger generation is my experience, my ability to put their life into perspective and the vast network of resources that I can engage if required.

Microsoft has the same ability only exponentially bigger.  So why are they pandering to millennials with incomprehensible slang?  The only explanation that I can come up with is that they are insecure about their brand’s patina?  Unfortunately, they are not comfortable with their wrinkled skin and what’s even worse, this recruitment effort was like a Middle Aged woman getting a facelift to turn back the hands of time. Unfortunately, the result in every case no matter how good the plastic surgeon is a plastic façade that scares young people away instead of bringing them closer.  

So my advice to Microsoft is to be yourself, engage developers with a vision, test their skills with a real world coding challenges and engage them with a story that captures their imagination. Use your resources to shape their impression, if you want to be hip and cool, enlist a genuine millennial superstar to host a charity concert, have a celebrity chef cater the event but most importantly showcase why Microsoft is a technological giant in the land of start-up pipsqueaks.

Please , for god sakes don’t die your mustache, squeeze into a pair of leather pants and hit on sorority girls. That is totally gross and more importantly not in line with your professional brand image.

Target’s Target Market, Decided By Kids?

 

Sam Walton once said “There is only one boss.  The customer.  And he (she) can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his (her) money somewhere else.
TargetIt is a rough time in the mass merchandiser sector. Consumers are migrating away from brick and mortar stores like Target seeking the efficiency and flexibility that online shopping provides.  Why spend the time schlepping your kids to the mall or shopping center just to shop for school clothes for your children.  Most parents dread fighting traffic, the crowds and adding one more weekend task to their already chaotic life. If your family is kid centric like mine, then you can find a dozen reasons why buying junior’s new shoes online from an online retailer like Amazon or the direct to consumer (DTC) webstore from Nike is appealing.

So why would Target focus on the very reason why I don’t want to go their physical store?  The answer is simple follow the dollars, teen related purchases account for $117.6 billion in US discretional spending.  Target estimates that the youth related purchases account for  $25 billion in high margin annual sales.  Target realizes that getting kids to buy in to the Target brand of hip, funky, cool clothing will provide the

The answer is simple follow the dollars, teen related purchases account for $117.6 billion inTeenage Consumer Spending US discretional spending.  Target estimates that the youth related purchases account for  $25 billion in high margin annual sales.  Target realizes that getting kids to buy in to the Target brand of hip, funky, cool clothing will provide the differentiation from their physical and virtual competition.

So off to Target we go… but wait… how do you get kids to follow the plan? Well, this is where it gets tricky because most 10+ year olds can smell a gimmick 100 yards away.  During the recession Target lost the bubble on what made them special, they began to differentiate with lower prices, which any marketing class student will tell you is an unsustainable strategy.  This was evidenced by their slogan “Expect More. Pay less” however consumers perception of Target indicated that shoppers felt that they were paying more for less.

After years of declining sales Target remembered its secret sauce. To re-capture market share they need to generate sustainable brand differentiation by catering to the wants and desires of their target market (youth).  This is dangerous territory because today’s youth can be fickle if they feel pandered to, Merchandiser’s must genuinely seek out their input and then deliberately integrate preteen and teenager input into their product plan. (kids today are inherently suspicions of institutions) and can be very vocal of their displeasure if they feel slighted.  Based on their focused research they discovered that kids want to be unique but not different.  So how do you walk that fine line.  Easy…. Like Target you have kids draw it.  Currently, Target engages with close to 1,000 kids ages 4-12 nationwide developing one of their signature brands.

Most retailers conduct research on kids.  Target on the other hand integrates kids in the entire process.  Kids are advising the clothing designers, helping produce multimedia ads and informing merchandisers of store physical layouts.  This approach can sometimes become contentious because well this shouldn’t be a news flash but spoiler alert kids and adults don’t always see eye to eye.  So why bother with all this drama? Well Target realized that in order to capture the hearts and minds of the decision making unit they needed to increase the odds.  Kids today have a significant sway in consumer purchasing decisions.

Target experienced a shift in its typical consumer from a boomer mini-driving suburbanite mom to an urban ethnic millennial.   Target’s strategy is to develop products & marketing material that appeals to the parent’s projection of love while still satisfying the youths need to express themselves.  This is a marketing play on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs focusing on the desire for love and belonging.

The school lesson for the day is not to follow the fashionable trend in both business and apparel purchase.  This may seem counterintuitive but is it pure genius when you think about it.  If you spend all of your time chasing the latest management or marketing fad you may miss the big picture strategy of chasing your consumer which in the end is what the retail game is all about. Paraphrasing Sam Walton “your customer will spend their money somewhere else”  if you don’t pay attention to them.  So if your consumer wants to buy online and pick it up in the store give it to them.  If your customer wants a fun shirt that works for both girls and boys then produce it. So what do you want?  Well, if you are like me you want a kid that feels confident in his own skin, one that sticks out from the crowd just enough to be recognized but not bullied and you want value because why should we spend a ton of money on a t-shirt that will get stained or out grown before it goes out of fashion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 7 Ways to Enjoy Beer Festivals Like a Lady

Get your waterproof mascara ready, it is beerfest season! With the Oregon Brewer’s Festival around the corner (and many more), we’ve got you covered.

Here are our tips for getting the most out of your beer festival experience.

  1. Get your leg day in with squats over the porta potty. Because you won’t want to sit down.
  2. Come prepared-with to-go tissue.
  3. Be ready for the long lines.
  4. Make a plan for the inevitable beer fumble. Bust out the good ol’ bend and snap.
  5. Feeling embarrassed? There is always more beer.
  6. Don’t get paralyzed by too much variety.
  7. Take a cab, don’t drink and drive.