Friday, September 17, 2010

This might sound OBVIOUS, but Southwest Peanuts are processed in a facility that processes peanuts

 So here is the second of a couple random posts about random things I've come across recently in my travels.

Everyone loves Southwest Airlines' free snack...that little shiny bag of peanuts.  While I was recently flying from Las Vegas (LAS) to San Jose (SJC) and was snacking on the peanuts.  Somewhat bored, I began exploring the peanut packaging.  I came across the ingredients line:

     Ingredients: Dry Roasted Peanuts, Salt.
     Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts

Now, I would think that common sense would explain that a bag of peanuts were probably processed in a 'facility that processes peanuts...'

I don't want to reduce the importance on "Nut" allergies, but has America become reliant on telling people the obvious rather than relying Common Sense.  I'm guessing there are some FDA guidelines or policies which state that there must be this line whenever something comes out of a "NUT" factory, but come on.

Am I missing something or is it obvious that peanuts would be processed in a 'facility that processes peanuts'?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Great Local Marketing at Charlotte, NC McDonald's - 50 NUGGETS and TEA $10

My wife was recently going through the photos in my iPhone Camera Roll.  She came across a couple of random pictures that she was confused as to why I would have taken a picture of that.  After I explained each to her, I had her cracking up.  So here is the first of a couple random posts about random things I've come across recently in my travels.  
Backstory: During my first trip ever to Charlotte, NC, I'm walking through a not so great part of town with a co-worker.  We're on our way to meet other co-workers for some BBQ.  After getting off the light rail train (which was super easy and convenient, highly recommend Charlotte Lynx Light Rail) we were walking towards a McDonald's when I glanced up at the customizaable 'old-skool' sign.  

Highlight: It read "50 NUGGETS WITH TEA (GAL) $10.99.  I thought WOW, that's a lot of TEA, and WOW that's a lot of NUGGETS.  Awesome deal, I wish we had that back when I was in college, we would have eaten that deal up.

Deep Thought: Is a deal like this created at the local level?  I don't believe I can get out of a California McDonald's with a regular size meal and drink for much less than $10.99.  This meal could feed a family of 5.  I was lucky that I had dinner plans with the rest of my team, or these 50 NUGGETS AND GAL OF TEA would have been my match for the night.

Keywords: Product Management, Prod Mgmt, Marketing, McDonald's, McDonalds, Charlotte, North Carolina, NC, Deals, Great Deal, Charlotte Lynx, Charlotte Light Rail

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is the Amazon Kindle being marketed to motorcycle riders? Check this out

Recently, while commuting home from work, I came across a motorcycle with a passenger that was reading.  I thought to myself, you can't read while riding on the back of an open air motorcycle.  Oh, I guess you can with an Amazon Kindle or other similar e-book reader.

I wonder if any of the Product Managers for these e-book readers are targeting marketing to motorcycle riders or passengers.  I'm sure it's not an easy market to capture, but here is the situation I envision based on the photo to the right:

The husband wants to take a bike ride down the coast of beautiful California.  The wife would rather sit in a nice beach front villa reading a nice book.  The husband coaxes her into taking the bike ride by surprising her with a shiny new iPad (or Sony Reader, etc.).  Now he has his ride, she has her new reading toy.

What do you think?  Is this a feasible marketing angle for e-book product marketers?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Is this good or bad product management? Kiwi Express Shine

So, I went on a simple errand the other day to replace my Kiwi Express Shine Sponge mobile shoe polishing tool.  Luckily (you'll see why I was lucky if you keep reading), the original product that I was replacing was a hand-me-down left in my office desk by the previous occupant.

So, to start, this is a great product, I love the convenience of it.  Since I never remember to polish my shoes the old fashion way with polish, applicator, brush, etc. at home, this simple product is a must have for me now.

I head over to the local Walgreen's to simply pick up the exact product I had previously.  I find the item and right next to it is a similar, same brand, but slightly different product - Kiwi Express No Buff Cream Polish.  As a conscious consumer, I look at the differences between the two products.

From a feature perspective, they look pretty much the same...they are different sizes...the applicator surface is a different shape...they are the same price...So, I guess I'll go with the one I know worked for me previously.

Wait a minute, let me look at them side-by-side in my hand.  Hold on, these things weigh totally different amounts.  I check the listed ounces.  1 is 2oz, the other is 1.7oz.  For the same price?

Now, I hope these two Kiwi products have some sort of difference, because the volume difference is so great.  From a Product Management perspective, they did not help me understand the reason why they were the same price with such a volume difference.  Even looking at their website, I still don't get any details that would make me believe the products have different features.

  • Is this vagueness good product management? i.e. hope customers purchase the lower volume due to the large profit margin.
  • Or, are the products priced accordingly and have very different features which are not explained to the customer?

What are your thoughts?  check out the Kiwi website and see if you can tell the difference.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple wasted 100's of hours of my time and now I increased my productivity by two times - iPod 2X feature

My commute is 2+ hours each way (yeah, it's not as bad as it sounds, I'll share more on this in the future), so it's important for me to use this time as productively as possible.

During the driving portion (1 hour 15 minutes) of my commute, I usually listen to podcasts. The other day I accidentally clicked on the iPod button that said 1x. I had no idea what that button did, I didn't even know it was a button.  And what do you know, the audio spead up to a perfect speed for me to still understand the content while getting through it in 1/2 the time (I assume that is actual speed 2 times as fast).
Now I can get through podcasts in 1/2 the time which is great for me. 
The amazing thing to me is that I have been an avid iPod/iPhone user for years and listen to a ton of podcasts and never knew this feature existed.  I have wasted 100's of hours over the past years listening to people in normal speed.  Even though Apple makes great products, they still miss the mark on making feature intuitive or figuring ways to highlight lesser used features.
Am I on my own on this?  Have you used this feature?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Surprised by Great Clips' simple CRM implementation

Why was I surprised when "the best value in haircuts", Great Clips, provided great Customer Service?

Because it is so rare to see a retailer using a CRM system to store my preferences.  Great Clips showed that they have a CRM system that identified me by my phone number, used my first name and the stylist knew that I wanted a 2 guard used on the sides of my head.

I've been going to a local small salon for the past 10 haircuts, and the stylist who has cut my hair each time, looks at me like he has never seen me before.  I've discussed the same things with him each time.  Why can't he jot down some notes each time and provide me with a WOW service the next time by knowing something about me?

Sounds simple, but why can't I think of any brick and mortar retailers that know my preferences?  Hats off to Great Clips for taking the time to get to know me.

Do you have any examples of brick and mortar retailers knowing your preferences?  Please leave a comment if you have.