The president and founder of a former employer, and my supervisor at the time, shared a philosophy that still guides me today. He observed that “opportunity” does not ride down Main Street on a white horse for all to see. More often, it rears its “ugly” head during difficult times, disguised as a business problem or marketing challenge.

Marketing professionals know the key forces in the macro environment that can negatively affect a well-thought out marketing plan. We cannot control changes… [more]

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The Internet offers marketing professionals a virtual education – an online source of knowledge that I often compare to receiving an advanced degree from the world’s largest university. Resources include search engines, newsletters, webinars, virtual trade shows, and, most recently, social media.

LinkedIn now comprises over 1.2 million different groups of professionals anxious to share their knowledge. Among the largest groups are… [more]

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Personal Observations

The Marketing Mix is a collection of posts focusing on marketing issues as reported in the media. It’s my personal commentary on the concepts and principles of marketing that affect us daily, both as professionals and consumers. Click on “The Marketing Mix” in the main menu above to quickly access the complete archive. I welcome your comments!

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Trader Joe’s Inspires Store-Brand Cult

My friend Ray, a Milwaukee native now retired and living in Florida, is a fanatic Trader Joe’s shopper. Ray and thousands of other shoppers across the country have a cult-like desire to shop for exclusive grocery items at bargain prices. The national chain has established a unique position for its offerings: Inexpensive gourmet groceries.

A typical Trader Joe’s stocks only about 4,000 products, compared to the 50,000 items found in the average store. And the assortment of products is uniquely Trader Joe’s: high-quality packaged foods, ready-to-eat soups, fresh entrees and appetizers, and gourmet items, such as wasabi peas, dark-chocolate-dipped fruit, and fair trade coffee. [More]

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Walgreen’s New Brand Hopes to “Charm”

The only thing worse than the increase in premiums for my health care insurance is the ominous name of the extended coverage provided by my former employer. The COBRA acronym (based on the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) must have been coined by a sadistic government snake charmer.

Fortunately, Walgreens Co. feels my pain and is now offering a partial solution. Earlier this year, the pharmacy decided to expand their basic immunization offerings, by aggressively providing extended health care services. [More]

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A Marketing Story from the Colectivo Bus

My senses are still confused whenever I order a Decaf Espresso Toro from the local coffee cafe. I smell and taste Alterra coffee but my eyes are seeing Colectivo.

By now Alterra aficionados know that the successful local coffee chain sold its name to Mars Inc. Hence the name change and my coffee-incited vertigo. The proceeds from the sale, inked three years ago, enabled Alterra to expand to their current 13 locations in southeastern and central Wisconsin. [More]

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