Using averages can be a poor marketing strategy

In a time of recession, and when business confidence is low, we know consumers begin to tighten their belts and demand falls across the economy. There are several measures of recession.  The US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) defines an economic recession as: a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales. Other economic bodies define recession as a ...

Filling the gap with a different voice

I must admit to loving the radio and take it with me wherever I am. The advent of the podcast and interactive radio means that I can catch up on programmes I have missed. Several blogs have been stimulated by a radio programme or part of a programme. The BBC is an excellent source of news, ideas and views. Over the last week, I have been listening to lunchtime broadcasts and have been fascinated by two particular series. In the first ...

Economic contagion threatens global business

The Eurozone economy's growth almost ground to a halt in the third quarter of 2011 with just a 0.2% rise, reinforcing expectations that the region could slip into a 'deep and prolonged recession' next year. There is much debate in global financial and investment markets as to whether a European economic recession will pull US and Asian economies down in its wake. The European Union said last week that the Eurozone is expected to grow just 0.5 per cent in ...

The demographic dividend

Three weeks ago the world's population passed seven billion with predictions that it could reach 15 billion by the end of the century. Naturally the emphasis of media stories was on the planet's ability to support such a figure and the stark environmental dangers of a population explosion.  Certainly the figures are staggering. It took 250,000 years for the global population to reach 1 billion, another century to reach 2 billion and 32 years more to reach 3 billion. However,  ...

Controlling the speed of social networking

As I watched the looting and burning of buildings and shops in parts of London and other UK cities orchestrated and co-ordinated by vandals using blackberries and mobile phones and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, it made me think about the speed and ability of societies and institutions to control ideas and communication. The unrest in London has already been described as 'Britain's first 21st century riot'. The use of social networking has also been a key feature ...

Listen to your focus group!

Market research is neither an exact science, nor infallible, as many marketing failures will attest. Nonetheless, it is not the best idea to do the exact opposite of what your target market is telling you. On the UK’s TV version of the The Apprentice, two teams of budding entrepreneurs fighting to win a £250,000 prize fund to invest into their own business, were given the task of developing a new ‘free’, premium magazine (‘freemium’). Both teams carried out market research ...

The battle for Arctic riches heats up

In recent posts I have identified the growing issues of declining energy reserves and those countries and firms seeking to protect their self-interests. Clearly, the oil industry is facing uncertain times, not just in terms of the declining reserves, but also in light of rapidly changing technologies and expectations in terms of the environment. The state of oil production is beginning to cause alarm. Oil production peaked during 2006 with global oil production from mature oil fields now declining at a ...

There is no avoiding the issue – Sport is Big Business

The English Premiership is the most successful football league in the world in commercial terms, thanks in part to satellite television and the exposure created by BSkyB. Supporters of the game may wish at times that this was not so and that the 'beautiful game' was left unsullied by business imperatives and realities, but this is like harking back to the good old days of amateurs competing in the Olympics. What really matters to most clubs in the Premiership is ...