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Congress approves a measure to subsidize car purchases – consumers can get as much as $4,500 to trade in old cars. Obama expected to sign bill.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 6/19/2009

Keys: Marketing, promotion, pricing, government

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Why might some people consider this government stimulus to the economy a “good” or “bad” idea?
  • Consider what might happen after the program is ended. Consider the impact this policy might have on those who have recently bought a new car but will not benefit from this promotional tool. How might consumers behave in the future?
  • Can you think of a better way to stimulate purchases of cars?

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The ability, with iPhone OS 3.0, to cut and paste content across applications will mean a huge boost in traffic for Twitter.

Source: CNET News

Date: 6/17/2009

Keys: Marketing, new product development, co-marketing

Link: http://news.cnet.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think iPhone customers will be motivated to trade-up to this new model? Explain your thinking.
  • What other collaborative marketing arrangements could help Apple boost sales of iPhone?
  • What other recommendations would make to improve Apple’s overall marketing strategy?
  • Do you think the marketplace for “smart phones” is crowed or will everyone move up to these devices eventually?

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A Jiffy Lube manager’s foray into the world of mobile couponing convinced him the practice has potential but it also proved that human nature can be a funny thing.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 6/19/2009

Keys: Marketing, Internet technology, promotions

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3634148

Questions for discussion:

  • Why do you think the promotion program isn’t working out?
  • Is there something that the company can do to make it work?
  • Would this type of promotional tool work better for another product or service? Explain your thinking in terms of the product and the target customer.

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Fortune’s Andy Serwer says a combination of higher oil prices and less demand are hurting the air carriers.

Source: CNNMoney – video report

Date: 6/08/2009

Keys: Marketing, economics,

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Summarize all of the reasons for airline distress starting with the rise in fuel costs. What response could management employ that would help mitigate some of these problems?
  • How else would you suggest the airline industry respond in order to deal with the drop in demand for service?
  • What other businesses are also likely to feel the negative effects of rising fuel costs?
  • Can rising prices be good for anyone? Explain your thinking.

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As Detroit home prices crash, sales are heating up. But with all of the plant closings and layoffs, who’s buying? Investors — some of whom are snapping up five and 10 houses at a time.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 6/12/2009

Keys: Economy, prices, real estate, investments

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • What does this article teach you about supply and demand and the change in real estate prices?
  • Do you think these investors are smart in their thinking?
  • Explain the conditions by which real estate ownership might eventually return to individual owners and residents in this market.
  • Are these investors a negative or positive force in the local economy? Explain your answer.

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A tobacco bill nearly a decade in the making is heading to President Barack Obama’s desk after clearing its final hurdle today on Capitol Hill. The House passed a measure to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco, confirming the Senate’s decision Thursday.

Source: ABC News

Date: 6/12/2009

Keys: Government regulation, marketing

Link: http://www.abcnews.go.com/Politics/Health/story?id=7823890&page=1

Questions for discussion:

  • Is this a good or bad decision for other businesses that might be considered causing harm to some people – such as candy manufacturers? Explain your answer.
  • Is there a limit to government involvement regulating businesses?
  • What is that limit and explain your decision?

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Online advertising contributes $300 billion to the U.S. economy, totaling 2.1 percent of the nation’s total gross domestic product, claims a study conducted by two Harvard Business School professors on behalf of the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 6/10/2009

Keys: Economy, marketing, Internet technology

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3634042

Questions for discussion:

  • How has online advertising contributed to the growth of free email services such as Hotmail to social meeting sites such a MySpace and Face Book?
  • Why is online advertising superior to other forms of advertising media such as television and radio?
  • How does online advertising support the growth of content distribution such as music and print content?

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The long-maligned smartphone maker tries to claw back with its new Palm Pre.

Source: CNNMoney – video report

Date: 6/03/2009

Keys: Marketing, new product development, competitive advantage

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think the Palm Pre will be successful in the market competing against Apple’s iPhone and Research in Motion’s Blackberry brands? Why or why not?
  • Which product features do you think present the greatest value to buyers?
  • To which target market would you direct your Palm Pre marketing campaign? Explain your reasons?
  • Do you think there might be too many choices for buyers to consider when selecting a smartphone? Explain your answer.

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Penske Automotive Group, owned by racecar legend Roger Penske, will buy GM’s castoff brand.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 6/05/2009

Keys: Finance, mergers and acquisitions, marketing

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Will the absence of any association between Saturn and GM be a positive or negative influence on Saturn? On GM? Explain your answer.
  • Do you think Penske will be able to grow sales of Saturn after the brand is no longer associated with GM?
  • How would you recommend Saturn differentiate its brand in the very crowded automobile market?
  • Would you appeal to different buyers?
  • Would you create any new models?

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The U.S. lost fewer jobs than forecast in May, reinforcing signs that the deepest recession in half a century is starting to abate.

Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 6/05/2009

Keys: Economy, business cycle, economic indicators, employment

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aSRonN0872Wg&refer=news

Questions for discussion:

  • The economic indicators suggest that the recession is ending. Which businesses do you think will likely be first to re-hire employees as the economy begins to recover? Explain your answer.
  • What you do think the employment prospects are likely to be in the auto and construction industries – two hard hit and large employers in the economy? Explain your thinking.