Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Blog #9: MY iTunes Critique

I read Michael Yang's "The Era of the iPod: The iTunes Rant" on his Insights De La Customer blog. After reading this interesting piece, I thought back on the days where I used to listen to tracks on the radio and record songs using my very own boom box--actually it was my sister's boom box which had been passed down to me.

Either way, we have come a long way both technologically and mentally in terms of how we gather and collect our music. We now use the internet and digital recordings of songs--MP3s--as the main source of music storage. In addition, portable music (MP3) players have become extremely prominent. Of these, the iPod has particularly skyrocketed in popularity and usage. Apple has created a virtual music store through its iTunes program. Personally, I have never purchased a song from iTunes, and do not plan on doing so anytime soon. Why pay $1 per song when most CDs that I listen to have 15+ tracks and I can purchase the entire thing for $10 retail? Not to mention the fact that I'm a savvy shopper and I will usually get a CD (in the rare occasion that I do actually purchase one) off of eBay for no more than 5 bucks.

Yang wonders in his blog "What happened to the good old days where I was able to record songs off the radio for free, shouldn’t technology make recording songs freely easier now?" While bringing up a good point there that there is a lot of red tape when it comes to downloading and loading music onto your digital music player, Mr. Yang fails to acknowledge the fact that the internet era has made downloading and storing music easier than ever. Way back when, a person would have to sit by their stereo and wait for the right moment for their favorite song to come on, and then be fortunate enough so that the tape was ready to go. Then, if all else prevailed, they could only hope that the song wouldn't be cut short... or that the DJ wouldn't start commentating while the song was playing.

Nowadays, users are able to download numerous versions of the hottest song out - all in CD quality and full length. Most of the time, it will be the same exact song that you would find on the artist's CD, all without paying a dime. The digital age has created a dilemma for both musicians and consumers alike. Musicians have to worry about their music being "stolen" from the free music sharing sites Michael mentions: Napster, Kazaa, Imesh, and Limewire. Consumers have a different predicament--whether or not they would like to download free music and run the risks of getting viruses on their computer and possible fines, or just abide to biting the bullet and paying for the music they obtain the "right" way.

All in all, my colleague Michael makes an overall great point with his stand on iTunes' promotion strategies. Michael argues that Apple and iTunes "should implement discounts or promotions to better advertise their songs and increase market share." By providing the reader with a innovative ideas on how to better promote song sales, Yang delivers on his premise of conveying better overall value for its customers. He goes as far as suggesting a 'buy-one-get-one-free' style of promotion, along with packaged discounts and emphasis on album artwork and the likes. Michael indirectly - but strongly - argues, in my words, that iTunes does a poor job of differentiating the music it offers as opposed to its unofficial competitors... the internet music sharing programs. His stance is that consumers would only be driven away from the free downloads which they are all susceptible to only by better product offerings from Apple/iTunes. Michael is indeed a savvy marketer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Research Paper Outline

I. Introduction

a. Thesis: Nike has evolved the way it uses its unique ability to gauge insights from customers and incorporate them into its branding through communications and offerings through the years

i. Advertising

ii. Experience

iii. Product Customization

II. Body

a. Advertising

i. Changes over the years

1. Nike started moving towards television ads in the early 1980s

2. Back then the company focused more on track and other Olympic-geared American sports, however, its product line expanded towards many other sports throughout the world

3. Late 80s saw the creation of the slogan “Just Do It” as well as the Michael Jordan era of athlete endorsements

4. Nike has garnered a tremendous amount of athletes for sponsorship—most famously Pete Sampras, Tiger Woods, and now LeBron James

ii. Nike uses advertising to draw customers closer to the brand

1. Brand creates an image that resonates with a customer whether it’s through emotional appeal or by using one of the many endorsed athletes

2. Nike lures customers with a marketing strategy centering around a brand image which is accomplished by promoting a distinctive logo and its world-famous advertising slogan

b. Experience

i. Nike has made a point to utilize the experiential part of their offerings towards making a connection with customers and their feelings

1. Niketown is a place where true Nike fanatics can find just about any product offering they desire

2. In addition to finding just about any Nike product, they can talk to other Nike followers as well as employees and managers and get more acquainted with the brand spirit

3. Nike also promotes usage of products under different functionalities

a. EX: Air Nike Cole Haan dress shoes

b. This allows customers to fall in love with the brand and use it in all facets of life

c. Product Customization

i. Nike has now shifted towards a completely customizable line of products

1. Nike allows its customers to go online on their website and use NikeID in order to create their own product out of an existing one

2. This customization feature allows the user to choose colors, styles, and personalized inscriptions on their preference of Nike items

3. Such a product offering truly allows for company to gain understanding of what customers truly want in a shoe, shirt, jersey, or accessory

4. Nike has also teamed up with Apple to create a new technology called Nike+ which allows users to track the way that they run

III. Conclusion

a. Restate thesis and how it is addressed through the paper

b. Summarize main points as well as key research findings

c. Conclude with a detailed summary of the key insights Nike utilizes as well as how the paper applies towards customer insights issues