Saturday, March 12, 2016

Marketing Case Study

Marketing Case Study

In 2003 a woman named Jennifer Telfer started a company after seeing her sons use their stuffed animals for pillows one to many times. The company we know 13 years later as the successful and wide spread “Pillow Pets” has grown from selling only six different original creatures to now selling over 36 jungle animals alone, not to mention the several different characters involved in their lines with Disney, Nickelodeon, Pixar, the military and several sports associations.
Over the years Pillow Pets has developed variations that are scented, can glow or even light up. They also sell different types of stuffed creatures such as their giant pillow pets that they call “Jumboz”, their “Body Pillars” which are essentially giant caterpillar-like stuffed animal body pillows, and a vast array of accessories including backpacks, blankets, sweatshirts, and even bicycle helmets. Most of their merchandise is sold through their website except for the actual pillow pets which are still sold in several locations.
During my presentation I was asked how I think a company like Pillow Pets can compete with a company such as TY which sells similar items but is far more established. I think this is a great question and in my opinion, during the 16 or so years that Pillow Pets has been around, they have done a great job at competing with companies like TY, and have done very well establishing themselves in today’s market. When they first started out they only had six variations of the same type of design. Instead of keeping it at that they chose to create several more characters and then to partner with corporations like Disney which I think is a genius move with any business. If that wasn’t enough they then chose to continue to develop new types of products so that they always had something new; which I think not only makes them very capable of competing with TY, but also gives them a leg up on the company. This might even be one of the reasons for TY’s recent redesign over the past seven years with the introduction and take-over of the “beanie-boo” and other pop culture products that can be found on their website, which bears a strong resemblance to the Pillow Pets website; coincidence?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Week 3 Topic 1: Seth's Best Story

Seth’s Best Story

Between pages 75 and 125 of Seth Godin’s book “Purple Cow”, I found the case study entitled The Haagen-Dazs in Bronxville to be most intriguing. The case study talks about how Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream shops are run, putting emphasis on the fact that the stores’ business cards offer the home phone numbers of the owners of each store and insist that customers call the number if they have any issues while in the their store. I found this interesting mainly because I can only imagine the initial stress a new employee might feel to not want to be the one who makes the owner get a call for something as menial as the napkin holder being empty during their shift. After one were to get past the fear of always doing something wrong though I can understand how this idea would motivate the staff members of any establishment.
No one wants their boss to find out when they’ve made a mistake or have screwed up in some way especially when it’s coming from a customer. Customers are the majority of the reason why a place is successful and if they don’t like what is going on then they’re going to seek business elsewhere and then you’re left with nothing but a bad review to soil a once good name. Furthermore, no one likes to be bothered by ignorant people that complain about stupid little things that no one else in their right mind would even bother thinking twice about, especially if they’re being bothered about these things during family dinner, a dinner party, or maybe during a week night serial show that ended in a cliff-hanger the week before. No one likes having all of their flaws put out on the line, and no one likes being interrupted at home during ‘important’ activities; combine these two things and I can understand why you would have a staff that would be willing to work as hard as they can to not have their boss be bothered during yet another episode of ABC’s Scandal.
On the surface, this is the reasoning behind this whole gimmick in my eyes; making sure your staff in on top of things 100% of the time. But then in the second part of the case study Seth Godin mentions the experience of sitting in a Haagen-Dazs and listening to customers talk about the business cards with one another. This is interesting because I consider what sort of comment I would make to my friend in this situation. I might look at the card and say something along the lines of… “I wonder if this is really his home number?”, or maybe.. “Do you think anyone actually calls this? How annoying would that be?”. At that point we would probably start coming up with all the different scenarios in which people have actually called the owner but we ourselves would never think to call the number. So how many people actually do? How many people actually have a reason to? Seth mentions that these stores are like typical ice cream shops only their “cleaner and a lot better run”. I wonder, were they always that way or was there a period of time where the owners had headsets glued to their ears with the sound of customer complaints ringing nonstop?
Just hearing about these business cards has opened up an array of curiosity in my brain that makes me feel inclined to one day visit a Haagen-Dazs and see for myself what this purple cow is all about. I’ll grab the famous business card and pick a table near a window or by the door and act as is I’m waiting for someone when I’m really eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. I’ll make a counting game about how many time I hear the words ‘business’ and ‘card’ used side by side and keep tallies on a napkin. While I’m there I may as well buy something; maybe an ice cream?