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Personalization: how do e-consumers feel about it?

Business September 20th, 2016, Ahlem Abidi-Barthe / Head of Master Program Digital Business & E-Commerce at European Business School Paris

Emerging as an experiment fifteen years ago, personalization has become today a central feature of e-commerce, whether in the form of customization of products, the boom of made-to-measure or the personalization of customer relationships using customer relationship management tools. But do we know how consumers feel about it? In 2004, Ahlem Abidi-Barthe led the first scientific survey on the subject. What has changed since then?

Cosmetics in the thick of advertising competition

Industries May 18th, 2016, François Meunier / President, Alsis Conseil, Associate Professor of Finance, ENSAE ParisTech

Why does a company like L'Oréal spend 10 times more on advertising than on research? The answer lies within a strategic competition, proving extremely tough in the personal beauty and care sector. This advertising arms race has a cost, paid by consumers. Economists are beginning to take a serious interest in these cases where the more intense the competition, the higher the prices.

Connected goods will lead to 5 transformations in retail: digital shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, perfect trade promotions, optimal consumer engagement, drastic reductions in counterfeiting and food waste. All this by 2025? The biggest obstacle is the cost of change: technology is already mostly out there.

Six digital marketing traps that CMOs should avoid

Business June 18th, 2015, Gopi Kallayil & Suzie Reider / Chief Evangelist for Brand Marketing & Managing Director of Brand Solutions, Google

Digital media is evolving rapidly and requires more than traditional marketing. Suzie Reider, Google's managing director for brand solutions, and Gopi Kallayil, Google's chief evangelist for brand solutions, highlight six common traps that new-age marketers must avoid.

As omnichannel retailing transforms this nation of 50 million people, retailers around the world should be watching - and learning.

Indian e-commerce firm Snapdeal recently got a major boost: a $627 million investment from SoftBank, the Japanese telecom and media giant. This is the largest investment so far in the Indian e-commerce space. Snapdeal began as an online group discounting site in 2010. In 2012, it transformed itself into a marketplace almost overnight, and today has more than 50,000 merchants, five million products and 30 million users. The company is also entering new categories like real estate and automobiles. But co-founder Kunal Bahl doesn't consider Snapdeal to be an e-commerce player. In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, he says the firm is really a technology company, enabling others to do e-commerce.

Faced with consumers who can search for information, form groups and publicly express their opinion through electronic media and social networking, goods producers and services providers will inevitably have to step down from their comfortable heights and start thinking in terms of coproduction with a customer who will become a prosumer.

A short distribution channel is defined either by direct sale from producer to consumer or by the indirect sale, provided that there is only one intermediary. Long confined to activist circles, this alternative model is now moving out of the margins. What are its prospects? Can it prove a game changer?

Which innovation strategy for consumer goods?

Business February 27th, 2014, Matthieu Perrier / Innovation Manager, ITW

Shrouded in the secrecy of marketing services, at the heart of the manufacturing industry, innovation has today established itself as the ultimate solution, illustrated by insolent successes despite a challenging environment. Sometimes defined as the encounter between an invention and a market segment, innovation seems to generate alternatives, growth drivers, and even crisis products that allow companies to bounce or to renew themselves. So how are the necessary opportunities to be found? Is there a recipe for large FMCG companies? A recipe? Certainly not. But some methods, yes. And also plenty of flawed strategies.

Tablet sales showed their first sequential decline ever in the second quarter of this year, according to research firm IDC. Apple sold fewer iPads than expected in its most recent quarter. Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader sales fell 20% in the fiscal first quarter ended August 20, two months after the company announced it will no longer make color versions of Nook, only black and white ones. And analysts are worrying about whether smartphone profit margins can hold up as buyer fatigue sets in.

Social relations, buzz, leadership, popularity, reputation... at first sight, marketing and social media seem to speak the same language. But the actual value of marketing 2.0 is difficult to assess. Can social marketing become a real growth driver?

China's leaders called in November for average personal incomes in the nation to double by 2020, giving domestic consumption a stronger role the normally export-reliant economy and challenging often-avoided local brands to catch up with foreign rivals.

The breaking news on Lance Armstrong's decision to give up his fight against accusations of performance enhancing drug use is just the latest example of the countless popular figures, companies and brands that have found themselves at the heart of a public scandal. However, some of these entities not only survive a crisis, but thrive beyond it. In a recent research paper, Wharton marketing professor Americus Reed and two Wharton doctoral students explore the role of moral decoupling (when consumers separate out morality from other considerations) in how those companies, brands and public figures are judged in the court of public opinion.

With its brand new millionaires and a booming middle class, China is a dream come true for major luxury brands. But it is fraught with pitfalls – and, from design to marketing, these command a revamping of many practices. In the line of fire comes a fundamental question: is the Chinese market going to overhaul our Western conception of luxury?

Have new advertising models become too aggressive and intrusive?

Society April 27th, 2012, Joseph Turow / Professor of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Does the Internet empower consumers? Or does it make them more vulnerable to manipulation? While both statements might be correct, the balance tilts definitely toward the latter, says Joseph Turow, a professor of communication at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School. The advertising industry has launched one of history's most massive stealth efforts in social profiling. The result is an increase in intrusive practices that are eroding publishing ethics. Does the solution lie in greater self-regulation or more aggressive oversight by the government?

Companies like Amazon or Sprint are banking on customer lifetime value (CLV), a marketing formula based on the idea of spending money up front to gain customers whose loyalty will reap rewards over the long term. As many companies turn to subscription-based business models, CLV will become a larger issue.

Not for free: creating new revenue models

Business October 13th, 2011, Saul Berman & Jerry Wind / Global and Americas Leader for the IBM Strategy and Change Consulting group & Professor of Marketing, Wharton School of Business

The phenomenon of free has hit many businesses hard, particularly media businesses, argues Saul J. Berman, Global & Americas Leader for the IBM Strategy & Change Consulting Group. In 'Not for Free: Revenue Strategies for a New World', Berman offers lessons from successful business model innovations as well as from failures. Who pays for free content and why new models are essential for success?

Parker's guide, the Shanghai ranking, and the ratings of Moody's are all global points of reference. For dining, the bible remains the Michelin guide. How has an institution so French gained a foothold in distant climes? The example of Japan illustrates that besides universal qualities such as objectivity and independence, cultural features can be key assets for market penetration. Gwendal Poullennec, the Director of international development at the Michelin guide provided his insight on the occasion of a conference held on 1 December 2010 at the Ecole de Paris du management.

Word of mouth used to be just that - what your friends told you about a book, a movie, or a restaurant. Today, we not only have friends to turn to for such information but also thousands of strangers, who are posting their opinions online and leading the rest of us this way or that. This new public reservoir of advice and first-hand experience is leading to a major shift in the relationship between consumers and commerce, creating new opportunities for some companies - and a fresh source of risk.

Social media is the flavor of the day in marketing, the latest in a line of digital innovations that were supposed to "change everything". But media experts say this innovation really is becoming a revolutionary force, not just for consumers but for marketers. Social media's ability to connect people is reinforcing consumer clout, while at the same time giving businesses more data to create better products and services. Still, the power that social media unleashes can turn on a company, all too quickly.

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