Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Book Review: What Women Want

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

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Underhill, Paco. What women want: the global market turns female friendly. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

The author of the classic best seller Why We Buy describes the new economic and social power that women now bring to the market, influencing product design, marketing and service. With record numbers of women entering professions such as law, medicine and business, women control a significant percentage of household purchasing power and it is good business to cater to their preferences.

So what do women want? At the base level, Underhill says that women want cleanliness, and also control, safety and consideration. Products that address those desires will be successful and those that do not will lose sales. He discusses a range of topics including kitchens, bathrooms, home offices, hotel rooms, cosmetics and food, providing meaningful insights and clever observations about women’s preferences. The book is an entertaining and lively read into one man’s opinion about women and their values and desires, with occasional lapses into stereotypes.

Sometimes the writing is overwrought – Underhill describes newer bathrooms as the “space where hedonism, fantasy, luxury… collude in a miasma of mist, steam, fragrance, occasional candlelight, and a sense of delicious, unhurried aloneless.” And sometimes the associations seem forced. According to Underhill, McMansions are the “penultimate guy dwellings” and are on the way out. By contrast, the megakitchen, a woman’s showroom of gadgets, fixtures and appliances, such as a $30,000 stove, is a developing trend. Other observations and insights ring true. Bottom line, this book presents adaptations that companies can make to win female customers.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: What Would Google Do?

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

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Jarvis, Jeff. What would Google do?. Collins Business, 2009.

Media leader and founder of Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Jarvis, describes Google as the first post-media company. He analyzes company principles and shows how companies, organizations and people can use Google’s worldview to re-engineer their own strategy and behavior.

In business, the mass market is gone. Today’s economy is a mass of niches. Google goes to where the customers are, instead of requiring the customers to come to Google. As a network and platform, Google organizes and distributes content to an enormous market and payment is made by people and companies who want to reach that market.

For example, in the old economy, the media covered the cost of publications by charging readers and viewers. In the new economy, the publications are free — media charge advertisers for reaching the customers.

Author Jeff Jarvis recommends that every human being needs a search presence on Google. “Today, if you can’t be found in Google, you might as well not exist.” Exaggeration and hyperbole are abundant in this book. Yet the underlying ideas ring true and the conversational style makes this book an interesting read.

This title is also available in audiobook format in Ford Library.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: Longing & Belonging

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

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Pugh, Allison J. Longing and belonging : parents, children, and consumer culture. University of California Press, 2009.

In affluent and low-income families alike, spending on children has exploded. Some of the blame belongs to advertising, a powerful factor in ramping up children’s desires and parents’ spending practices. Some of the blame belongs to the costliness of childhood toys, such as a $300 Nintendo, $90 American Girl doll or $165 for a pair of Air Jordans.

In Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children and Consumer Culture, Sociology professor Allison Pugh provides an in-depth analysis of a third reason parents spend for their children. Children want to belong to a group and conversations at school and in the neighborhood are about materials goods. Children yearn to join these conversations, and their parents don’t want them to be left out.

Poor families buy expensive children’s goods at great financial sacrifice. Affluent parents can afford them but feel guilty for selling out to the commercial culture. All parents wish to prevent their children from feeling invisible with their peers. Anyone wishing to opt out finds it very difficult.

In the end, this is a book about consumer culture and how parents use material goods to help construct happy childhoods for their children.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.

All rights reserved.

Book Review: Seven Days in the Art World

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

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Thornton, Sarah. Seven days in the art world. W. W. Norton, 2008.

The contemporary art world is characterized by six roles: artist, dealer, curator, critic, collector and auction-house expert. In this “symbolic economy,” creativity is commercialized and cultural worth is debated rather than determined by wealth. There is an overriding principle that nothing is more important than the art itself, yet there are contradictory hierarchies based on qualities such as fame, credibility, institutional affiliation, education and wealth.

Seven Days in the Art World describes this world through seven narratives set in six cities in five countries. Each chapter is a day-in-the-life account of the art world’s players and institutions. It begins with a Christie’s auction in New York. Among the people profiled is a Duke alumna who consigned 99 works from her parents’ collection of 600. (more…)

Book Review: Shopping for Jesus

Monday, March 16th, 2009

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Janes, Dominic. Ed. Shopping for Jesus : faith in marketing in the USA. New Academia Publishing, 2008.

There is a thin line between attraction and revulsion. It is like cleaning the refrigerator and finding food of unknown vintage. Despite knowing it is spoiled, there is a compelling urge to open the container and take a sniff before throwing it in the trash.

When I saw this book on the display shelves in the marketing area of the Ford Library, I noticed the crucified Jesus on the cover, his outstretched hands nailed to the cross, clutching shopping bags filled with consumer goods. I was repulsed by the cover, yet I could not resist the urge to open it up and sniff the contents.

What I found surprised me. Shopping for Jesus is a collection of thoughtful essays about the boundary between religion and business. It explores the connections between belief, its presentation and the processes by which it is sold and consumed. Each chapter presents an independent case study.


Book Review: Buying In

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

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Walker, Rob. Buying in : the secret dialogue between what we buy and who we are. Random House, 2008.

The mass market is dead, according to author Rob Walker. So is the couch potato consumer, who used to care what four out of five dentists recommended. Yet the new consumer purchases more branded products than ever before. In today’s environment where there is a paralyzing abundance of options available to the consumer, what makes people buy what they do?

The first part of the book is about branding, how marketers attach an idea to a product. Consumers will often participate in creating this meaning even though they don’t fully understand it themselves. Also important to consumer choice is the eternal tension between people wanting to be individuals, unique and special, and desiring to be part of something larger than themselves. Plus, consumer choice is about self expression. Product choice is powered by emotion, often unconscious to the consumer.

Walker also discusses new forms of marketing, such as hiring regular Americans to talk up products with friends and acquaintances, or to drop suggestions for purchases at stores. He also includes dozens of stories about branded products, including Timberland boots, PBR beer, the iPod and Red Bull. Interestingly, the section on Red Bull cites a study by Dan Ariely, Baba Shiv and Ziv Carmon, all of whom are or were at Fuqua at one time.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

Sales, Advertising & Marketing History: John W. Hartman Center

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Part of Duke’s special collections library, the Hartman Center’s historical print archives and multimedia resources promote the study of sales, advertising and marketing in society.

They provided the material for a recent Perkins Library exhibit looking at advertising in the 1960s titled, “Not Just Mad Men: Real Advertising Careers in the 1960s”. You can see an audio slide show on the Duke Today site.

Take a look at their advertising image databases which range from Ad Access (newspaper and magazine ads from 1911 to 1955) to Medicine and Madison Avenue (health-related ads from 1911 to 1958).

Book Review: Rules to Break …

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

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Rules to break and laws to follow : how your business can beat the crisis of short-termism by Don Peppers & Martha Rogers. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Martha Rogers, adjunct professor at the Fuqua School, has written a new book with her business partner Don Peppers, about the dangers of “short-termism,” or the obsession with making quarterly profits at the expense of long term customer value.

After arguing that customers are a company’s most scarce resource and the true source of long term value, the authors focus on the principle of trust. Customers choose businesses that they can trust, and long term business success requires a focus on keeping that trust and on developing business relationships.

A successful company’s employees earn their customer trust by treating their customers fairly, but employees need the right tools, training and authority for taking action. By developing a corporate culture that is centered on earning and keeping customer trust, a company gains the best chance to succeed.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business. All rights reserved.

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New Database: SRDS Media Solutions

Friday, June 13th, 2008

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Ford Library has recently subscribed to the following new database with access open to all Duke University Users.

The SRDS Media Solutions Database provides advertising media rates and advertiser data through its coverage of traditional media – such as magazines, newspapers, television, direct marketing and radio – as well as online sources. This database delivers the full data contents of the following print publications of the Standard Rate Data Service (SRDS):

  • Business Publication Advertising Source
  • Consumer Magazine Advertising Source
  • Direct Marketing List Source
  • Newspaper Advertising Source
  • Radio Advertising Source
  • Interactive Advertising Source
  • TV and Cable Source

This online service will replace our print subscriptions to the above titles. No further print copies of the above will be added to our collection.

Links to the SRDS Media Solutions Database are available on our Quick Links, Descriptive List, and Subject List database pages.

Please feel free to send any comments or questions about this database to:

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See PBS Videos Online

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Access over 250 PBS videos online through the NC Live Video Collection. See many of Ken Burns’ films (Jazz, Baseball, Inside Hamas, The West, etc.) as well as several Frontline and American Experience documentaries.

Some business titles of interest include Buffett and Gates Go Back to School, Feeding and Fueling the World: Healthier Alternatives for Planet Earth, and The Persuaders (a Frontline special on how the culture of marketing and advertising influences not only American’s buying but also the world around them).

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