Finding the Book of the Month Club at the URL given for this assignment was not possible. For some reason, accessing www.bookofthemonthclub.com, leads to something called BuyDomains.com. Indeed, BuyDomains.com appears to be attempting to sell the site visitor the URL to Book of the Month Club - "Domains for sale," yells the header. Is this some kind of Internet skullduggery? However, by going to Yahoo! And searching for Book of the Month Club, one discovers that the URL is www.bomc.com.And meantime, as to which company (amazon.com or bomc.com) has the better site and marketing mix - it seems very clear that Amazon.com is far out in front in the sheer volume of offerings for the Web consumer. If shoppers just want books or movies, then bomc.com is an easy site to navigate. But when looking for clothing, electronics, toys, software, and the kitchen sink, amazon.com is the shopper's better choice. Does amazon.com try to sell too much? Not if the patron wishes to buy fancy underwear for dad for Christmas at the same time she is buying books and movies for her young niece.
Former Grey Graphic Executive Indicted in Ongoing Print Scandal Case" is the header of an article written by David Kaplan in Adweek.com (dated Dec. 12, 2002). The man charged by a grand jury in New York is John Steinmetz, former VP and associate director of graphic services at Grey Worldwide. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging Steinmetz with conspiring to "rig bids" and "evade taxes." What Steinmetz was allegedly doing was rigging bids and allocating contracts for retouching and separation services purchased by Grey. If found guilty of conspiracy and bid rigging, Steinmetz could face up to eight years in prison and fines of $600,000. Meantime, Grey Worldwide's Web site offers no mention of the charges against their former VP.
Highlighting the "Litigation/Regulation" menu button on the home page of philipmorris.com results in a pop-up photo of the U.S. Supreme Court building, but clicking the link brings this message: "This page cannot be displayed...[it] has been changed or no longer exists." Meanwhile, the visitor is encouraged to use a link leading to the "Site Map" - where a plethora of impressive-sounding links are offered. A few of the links: "Philanthropy," "AIDS," "Humanitarian Aid," "Environmental Diversity," "Hunger" and "Domestic Violence." As to whether or not a "Litigation/Regulation" section is good or bad PR for this company: in this current climate of widespread corporate corruption, it would seem that candor and forthrightness are excellent ways to win back some public trust. That should be particularly true for a company like Philip Morris, which has been forced to pay out billions in cancer-related lawsuits.
Etrade, Datek, HarrisDirect
In an economy where giant airline companies like United are going bankrupt, the Dow Jones is unstable, corporate corruption is rampant, and the jobless rate skyrockets, marketing strategies must be ever more creative. That would seem to be particularly true when it comes to companies trying to lure consumers into investing in a shaky stock market. Of the three Web sites assigned, Etrade is the most attractive and interesting. Etrade is currently using a clever little scheme using the number "9" - customers are offered a low $9.99 per trade, a $99.00 initial sign-up fee, and a guarantee that each trade will be processed in 9 seconds or less. (Of course, that deal's catch is that customers must make at least 9 trades a month!) But using "a cat has 9 lives" kind of imagery seems to be far more eye-catching than what Datek and HarrisDirect are offering. The Datek Web site is a beautiful blue (they just merged with Ameritrade), with clean graphics, but otherwise, it's nothing special. HarrisDirect's site is a bit cluttered, and does not have that rich, silky appeal of Etrade.
Kraft Foods has put together a Web site with a number of things that very young children love: electronic games, puzzles, trivia, contests, arcade-like images, and lots of flashing ads and come-ons. There is a link called "Feeding Young Children" in which Kraft warns parents that children up to four years of age can choke on certain foods. Right there is the key to understanding this site - they are marketing to very young kids, as well as pre-teen and even early teenage consumers. This is a smart marketing idea, which gets Kraft's brands (Planters Peanuts, Nabisco, LifeSavers, etc.) in the eyes and minds of younger people; they can purchase CDs, clothing, computers and software.
Sony Playstation2 and Microsoft xBox
On one level, these two products are electronic entertainment; "standalone games" played with just a monitor. But experts on gaming media say these types of products are evolving into a huge new online interactivity industry. Users definitely enjoy competing with other interactive players in remote sites. The Microsoft product xBox even has a microphone so the players can speak (yell?) with each other, from Maine to Mississippi and beyond. The hottest games? The EA collection now offers Harry Potter games, as well as Lord of the Rings and Madden Football, which boys, especially, enjoy playing.
A www.art.com, www.geappliances.com
The first thing to notice on the GE site is a tall, attractive, self-assured-looking woman (holding a dog), standing next to a shorter husband / boyfriend with suspenders and a bow tie, his finger resting against his nose in the "thinking" pose. The header shouts, "Intelligence Marries Beauty." So, the implication is apparently that buying a GE product means you're both smart and good-looking. And that buying a GE product is a smart and attractive choice of purchases. The Web page is laid out much like a Yahoo!-style page, with soft blue headers on top of multiple product links. Art.com, on the other hand, has a much more child-friendly feel to it. "Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves," the headline reads. Presumably, buying a Picasso poster, or maybe Winnie the Pooh art, brings sunshine into your family. It would seem that selling art online is easier than selling ovens, freezers, washers and dryers; and yet GE's marketing is not so much "selling" as it is just a beefing up of their branding. Perhaps all GE wants to do is burn their company's image into the American consumer's brain, for future reference when a family really needs that new refrigerator.
This AARP site markets (in a low-key fashion) a full spectrum of services without really saying, "We cater to older people." But every key thing an alert, intelligent senior citizen might need to learn about, or obtain access to, is here: consumer advocacy, medication and nutrition information, healthy recipes, travel options, important legislation pertaining to older citizens, education, and volunteering advice. The tone of the site is public service, not hard sell. Other sites online that have a similar low key yet socially important message to promote: www.naacp.org (NAACP) and www.lwv.org (League of Women Voters).
This is a line extension of Pepsi Cola. It is a relatively new "addition" to the family of Pepsi products, rather than a new product. The company hopes that the line extension of PepsiOne adds incremental business to the company, but does not cut into current business.
It is vitally important that a company portray (i.e., position) its product and its image so that they occupy a meaningful and identifiable place in the target customers' minds. As to NQRC, marketing companies should be interested, always, in examining and measuring customer satisfaction in deeper ways than just sales of the product. The promise of NQRC's Web site is not just to help the country (or company) study the relationship of customer satisfaction and quality to profits and productivity. The promise is to help the company (or country) see through the eyes of the consumer; NQRC says it is a "world leader" in helping create a "methodology" for putting customer satisfaction models into economic statistics.
American Dairy Association
The promotion objectives for the American Dairy Association over the past few years, in a general way, seem to have been to position milk and other dairy products as normal, fun, healthy extensions of the American cultural landscape, not risky food that could cause a heart attack. It would appear the dairy marketing is designed push away doubts about dairy products vis-a-vis the built-in cholesterol concerns, the high fat and lactose concerns. (The world of food marketing seems to think all customers want everything "low fat" and "low in cholesterol.") On another level, the "got milk" campaign objective is to promote popular recognition for a simple thing like milk, through use of celebrities. Years ago there was a campaign promoting milk as "fuel food" - but that apparently wasn't a huge success. The "got milk" campaign been a tremendous success because of the variety of "high profile personalities" that show up in magazines and on billboards with milk on their faces. It might be an…