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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Content Marketer “Eyes” AARP Boomers

A recent series of ads for cataracts surgery in the monthly AARP magazine attracted my attention (yes, I am a proud member of the baby boom generation!). The ad campaign is a collaboration between Alcon, which sells surgical and vision care products, and AARP Media Sales, which handles their print and digital media.

I first saw the ad in the monthly AARP Magazine and then saw an article entitled “The Truth About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery”, when comparing auto insurance prices online. The similar content of the article and the timing was more than a coincidence. The campaign is an example of “content marketing”, a marketing trend that abandons hard-sell tactics in favor of informative messages. [More]

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