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The government hopes to restore lending via cheap financing. Skeptics say programs aimed at restarting the market haven’t worked yet.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 5/28/2009

Keys: Finance, real estate industry

Link: http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • This article highlights the critical importance of  making available funds to finance commercial real estate and the viability of the industry. Why might lenders be concerned about extending funds to some potential borrowers?
  • Explain your answer.

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AOL, eight years after the Internet service linked up with Time Warner Inc. in a $124 billion merger, is now worth half as much as Facebook Inc. and less than 5 percent of Google Inc.

Source: Bloomberg  News

Date: 5/28/2009

Keys: Mergers, stock market, marketing

Link: http://www.bloomberg.com

Questions for discussion:

  • Stocks are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. But this is based on expected revenues and profits generated by the enterprise. Given this information, explain why AOL is now considered to be worth so much less than when the merger with Time Warner was announced in 2001?
  • Can you think of any new ways for AOL to capitalize on its brand name and customer base and create additional revenues?

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer today drew back the curtain on the new incarnation of Live Search: Bing.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 5/28/2009

Keys: Marketing, brands, internet technology

Link: http://www.clickz.com/3633901

Questions for discussion:

  • Take a look at the website referred to in the article for more information about Bling. Do you think Bling will do well against its competitors? Explain your answer.
  • Explain why it might be difficult for Bling to attract users.
  • How would you market Bling?

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Cutting out the combustion engine could mean a whole new world for car design.
Source: CNNMoney Reports – video report
Date: 5/15/2009

Keys: Marketing, new product development

Link: http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2009/05/15/news.energyfix.051509.cnnmoney/

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you think that the cars described in this report will be well received by American buyers? Explain your answer.
  • What would you do to enhance the design appeal of the next generation of energy efficient cars?

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Price of crude fluctuates as the dollar weakens and a report shows China’s demand for energy recovering.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 5/22/2009

Keys: Economics, stock markets, GDP

Link: http://money.cnn.com/2009/05/22/markets/oil/index.htm?postversion=2009052210

Questions for discussion:

  • Why does the price of oil affect the economy as much as it does?
  • If oil prices are rising, why can that be interpreted as “a good thing”?
  • How can oil prices influence some car buyers?

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If you routinely buy at least five songs per month, here’s good news from Napster: A new subscription plan nets you five DRM-free MP3 downloads and unlimited streaming for just $5 monthly. In other words, it’s like buying the songs you were buying anyway and getting unlimited streaming for free.

Source: CNET.com

Date: 5/19/2009

Keys: Marketing, strategic marketing, product development, strategic alliances

Link: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-10244574-58.html?tag=mncol

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the view that this deal is the best in the marketplace? Why or why not?
  • How would you market music downloading services?
  • Which target markets would you select? Why?
  • Which markets would you avoid? Why?

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The dustbin of business failures is full of once sharply focused companies that lost their way because they diversified across too many markets. Market focus wasn’t all that was lost. So were positive cash flow and a customer who, instead of seeing clear choices and remaining loyal, became confused and bought a competitor’s product. This Ivey professor describes why market focus is imperative today and how managers can create and sustain it.

Source: Ivey Business Journal

Date: March/April 2009

Keys: Marketing, strategies, technology

Link: http://www.iveybusinessjournal.ca/article.asp?intPrintable=1&intArticle_ID=749

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree with the arguments presented by this author? Why or why not?
  • What other explanation might help explain the loss of business by these firms?

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The automaker plans to cut its dealer network to 3,600 by next year.

Source: CNNMoney Reports – video report

Date: 5/15/2009

Keys: Marketing, distribution, brands

Link: http://money.cnn.com/

Questions for discussion:

  • Do you agree that the existing dealership networks at GM and Chrysler had grown too large?
  • How do you think future car buyers will be affected by the reduced number of GM and Chrysler dealerships?
  • How could this decision turn out to be a good one for the remaining dealerships and the car companies?

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Federal regulators file lawsuits to shut down a telemarketing scam targeting millions of consumers with phony auto warranties.

Source: CNNMoney.com

Date: 5/15/2009

Keys: Marketing, government regulation

Link:  http://money.cnn.com

Questions for discussion:

  • What would you do if you were able to change the current laws regarding telemarketing in general and telemarketing that is found to be dishonest?
  • Are surprised by the amount of sales this fraud was able to generate?
  • Why do you think people responded to this solicitation over the phone?

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Google will begin allowing advertisers in the United States to use trademarked terms in their advertisements — including ones they don’t own — a move designed to revive its sagging ad revenue but likely to irk brands that are already chafing at Google’s fast-and-loose policy toward trademark protection.

Source: Clickz.com

Date: 5/15/2009

Keys: Marketing, advertising, legal issues, trademark,  technology

Link:   http://www.clickz.com/3633754

Questions for discussion:

  • There are a host of reasons why trademarks and brand names are legally registered as a means to protect the owners. Google’s policy can hurt a firm in many ways: suppose a vendor of an unknown athletic footwear brand “X” creates a Google ad using a well known brand “Nike” to draw shoppers. For example, the Google ad might say “Nike runners at unbelievable prices”. However, after clicking on the ad, the shopper might be presented with the offer to buy brand “X” instead. Do you think Google is “safe” from irate vendors if it allows these sorts of trademark infringements?
  • Is this a good strategy for the vendors of brand “X” to follow?