Urban Consumerism

A brand that often seems to be in the spotlight is Urban Outfitters.  Each year they seem to find some way to piss off some group of people, be it around race, religion, or around disorders.   They have faced a litany of issues from suicidal hair wash, clothing that mimicked terrible moments in history (Kent state shooting, Holocaust, Navajo line) which brought the company into the spotlight for poor taste.

While these are terrible issues it seems to have done little to impact customer perceptions as they are considered the “cool” indie store.  In an article on Forbes.com from 2014, O’Conner mentions that even the top level chain describes their customer as “upscale homeless” and has no regard for offending anyone.  I think post each of the incidents people might have strayed away, but often go back as they curate “vintage” and items that are not seen on just anyone.

Urban has cultivated a cult of cool, in that the people shopping there might be upset but it’s not enough to prevent them from spending money there.  From how to the stores are laid out, merchandising, and the staff UO strives to cultivate that cool factor.  None of these issues seems to have had any major impact for the brand over the years, outside of making profits dip and brand awareness lift.




Staff, T. W. (2016, April 29). 15 Urban Outfitters controversies. Retrieved June 5, 2019, from https://theweek.com/articles/480961/15-urban-outfitters-controversies


O’Connor, C. (2014, September 18). Urban Outfitters’ Real Scandal: Its Disdain For Its Customers. Retrieved June 7, 2019, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/09/18/urban-outfitters-real-scandal-its-disdain-for-its-customers/#3064b6023640


Under Armour: Where Do We Go From Here?

When Under Armour came to market the main focus of the clothing was football players who needed something to help keep them cool while practicing.  In 2013 they turned their attention to women, keeping a focus on sports wear.  With this the focus was a campaign called “I Will what I want” where women could show how they pursued their own dreams.  Part of the campaign was created awareness across multiple digital channel and making sure that the content could have a longer life span than traditional media (harvard.2019)

Key points for implementation for marketing strategies are understanding that there will be selective attention, where consumers have to figure out what to pay attention to.  The use of colors, as well as creating a tag line that resonates.  A huge factor is the emotional connection that needs to happen when promoting brands and driving engagement.  If there is a celebrity endorsement then how will your market respond to them? What happens if the celebrity ends in hot water? Sometimes it could even be how you speak to a product based on the market you are trying to engage with, for example women with kids have a different response than women with no kids.

In looking for a new market segment, I would think an interesting segment would be young tween girls.  This is a group that if  you can capture their attention and grow with them you would have a great LTV.  This is referred to as Gen I (McDaniel. 2019), and is the generation that is growing up in a world where the internet is a given.  According to marketingsherpa.com this group accounts for ~260B in sales each year. To reach this market would be difficult as they are minors, so how and when you engage is crucial as you also need to get parental support.  35% of the market have mobile phones, so engaging with them on mobile via display ads or various social channels would be the best.  Any campaign needs to be designed for engagement, like a video game, versus just providing good images and a click to shop.


Under armours willful digital moves[Pdf]. (n.d.). Darden business publishing.

McDaniel, S., & Beger, S. (2016, January 07). Marketing to Tweens: Data, Spending Habits Dos & Don’ts to Reach This Fickle Age Group. Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/how-to/data-spending-habits-dos-donts

What Brand?

What is in a name?  To parse from Shakespeare, everything.  When you think of Sony, you probably think of an entertainment giant who covers, movies, music, and their interactive branch.  Stated on the site they define their purpose as “Fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology. (sony.com)” so who would think that they would have failed so epicly in the 90’s?

Allow me to introduce you to Betamax.

If you weren’t around BEFORE the internet there was a time in history where streaming wasn’t a thing, all shows had commercials and you were forced to live in the moment.  So someone had the idea, lets record this and so Betamax was born.  Given that Sony is quite the giant how could they have failed?  The name and logo are synonymous with technology, innovation and decent movies.

Sony over the years has positioned themselves as a brand that provides products that capture our attention and push creative boundaries. They understand who their consumer is and what they are looking for, so they are able to deliver.  So why did Betamax fail?  Their rival JVC built a product that was lighter and could record more.  Plus Sony didn’t invest into a growing market of videos whereas JVC did.

To mitigate this Sony should have looked to thier own mission statement and looked to deliver a product that provided delight to consumers.  Ease of use, lightweight, and met consumers where they wanted to be, home watching movies.  Overall Sony has done well meeting their mission statement, i personally own a PS4 and love it.



Gilbert, B. (2019, April 17). 25 of the biggest failed products from the world’s biggest companies. Retrieved May 18, 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/biggest-product-flops-in-history-2016-12

(n.d.). Retrieved May 18, 2019, from http://www.engineerguy.com/failure/betamax.htm


What type of consumer am I?

In looking at what type of consumer I am, I would say that I am is based on needs.  I make purchases based on the need to fulfill an activity or need.  My decisions are based on what I have engaged with previously, sustainable practices, and cost.  I feel having been in marketing I am probably more conscious of strategies and marketing efforts to get me to buy.  Most of my purchases are because I need to replenish something or replace it.  For example sneakers, I buy as I need to replace them and only own two pairs at a given time.  I could care less about packaging or reviews, as I know what I like and am willing to try new brands or products.  I am more concerned about a companies stance on livable wages or ethical business practices.  After I complete the purchase I am satisfied and often have no remorse.

The Ethics of Marketing

Honestly, I know that most people think marketers are unethical, thanks Mad Men, however any marketer will tell you in order to be successful they have to be ethical and honest.  Working in marketing myself being forthright is key in maintaining internal and external relationships and trust.  I’ve also done direct sales and worked in customer facing, roles and trust is everything.  Once it’s broken it’s almost impossible to get back, however digital can be a bit more forgiving. Currently I am studying SEO/SEM and here is an area that defined by honesty and integrity as it all about building trust with customers and Google. 

Case Study 

To better understand why ethics are important let’s look at a case study from Yonatan Dotan at Moz.com for Ginger Software.  He writes that when he started, they were in a great state “their site has an Alexa ranking of around 7,000.”  However, one day he gets a notification that from Google that there were issues with inbound links and after examining things saw a drop in organic traffic by 94% (Dotan. 2018).  One of the things discussed in SEO and SEM practices is building quality links and content and making sure that inbound links to the site make sense.  What happened was that keywords that were being used we linking to sites about pornography, gambling, and even pharmaceutical. This was due to spammers trying to rank their own page higher by providing links to a quality site.  After identifying and fixing the bad links Ginger Software submitted a request to have the penalty revoked from Google and about 5 days after getting the notice it had been revoked.   


CHECK YOUR LINKS!  From this case study and various readings over the course of the class check your work, and the double check.  As a marketer you should be monitoring backlinks, key words in use, and referrals to your site.  If you find bad links get them disavowed.  Part of marketing ethics is also being aware of local and federal laws and abiding by them.  Other things to be aware of are hidden text on a site, duplicate content, and even plagiarism.  If you question if doing something is right, it probably isn’t, and you should walk away.  Understand able there is a lot of competition out there but if you do it right, they will come, and you will have established trust and a great brand reputation.  




Ethical SEO vs. Unethical SEO. (2013, January 14). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://www.optimus01.co.za/ethical-seo-vs-unethical-seo/ 

Dotan, Y. (2014, March 17). A Startling Case Study of Manual Penalties and Negative SEO. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from https://moz.com/blog/a-startling-case-study-of-manual-penalties-and-negative-seo 

Pros & Cons for Digital Strategy


When implementing any sort of strategy its worthwhile to note the differences between a paid or organic strategy.  They are what they sound like, paid is you pay a third party or pay to reach more people, whereas organic takes time to get the views or bigger audience.  The benefit of doing paid is that you can get in front of new audiences quickly as well as leverage the coveted ad space at the top of a search page.  Paid also allows you to effectively target new customers and is easier to show the ROI gained from using it. Organic search will help you understand WHAT words or phrases are working which could be different than what you may think and help inform your paid efforts.  Customers are more likely to click on organic results than paid, generating more “trust” in your site. 

The cons are that you always must stay ahead of what is trending and is you are doing PPC then that can add up. Which results in losing market share depending on your budget and if you can bid on high traffic key words.  Utilizing paid is a bit more complex to make sure you are optimizing your campaigns and audiences to generate the best ROI. Organic takes a while to gain traction so if you are wanting to see an immediate gratification it will take some time.  Also, since algorithms are changing what works now may not be the case in 6 months to a few years.  With organic you also have minimal control over competition and your own historical rankings.  

Every channel is different as is each platform you can be on, so knowing how paid varies between Facebook and Pinterest against organic is also something to think about.   Knowing what we know about the pros and cons, I would suggest identifying the key words and phrases that are top traffic drivers and even looking at some that might be opportunities.  Gather who your customers are, demographic info and geographic will help, and see which of these characteristics match your target audience and start building segments.  Once you have figured this out, I would leverage key words/phrases and depending on the budget bid on at least 3 to 5 larger one and look to bid on 2 to 3 smaller keywords to provide a mix.  Making sure that quality content accompanies these is also key, as providing content that your existing and future customers want to engage with is also going to help drive results.  Setting an effective and achievable goal will also help determine when to adjust your camping and how effective it really is. 




Biggart, A. (2018, February 28). Paid vs. Organic Search: Understanding the Differences. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from https://www.conductor.com/blog/2018/01/paid-vs-organic-search-right-now/  

Mehmood, M. (2018, September 02). Paid Search Marketing: Pros and Cons Of The Popular Platforms. Retrieved November 4, 2018, from https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2018/09/paid-search-marketing-pros-and-cons-of.html 


Prelim Findings for Liquid Bodywash


For the upcoming year Proctor & Gamble would like to introduce a Liquid Body soap that is made with natural fragrance and supports a sustainable supply chain. Looking at market trends it is noted that the natural beauty market will reach ~22BN by 2024 and to connect with a growing set of consumers who are environmentally conscious and look to support small business we feel that this would be a great opportunity to grow the brand.     

More and more consumers are concerned about the environmental impact of how their goods are made and supporting local businesses and resources.  In looking to launch a natural liquid body wash I decided that the best company to help me achieve success would be Procter & Gamble as they are a globally recognized brand with a multitude of product offerings.  Part of Procter&Gamble’s values is doing what is right not only by people but by the environment.  So, by leveraging the brand and its presence any product I would put in market would be a bit more successful and have an immediate value to customers familiar with the other brands.  

Given the huge growth that natural beauty has seen and can expect to see in the foreesable future as more and more consumes become aware of not only what they are putting in their bodies but what they are putting on the outside also counts.  As supply chains get better and standards of living go up we should expect to see more and more consumers get back to the proverbial “basics”.  the demand for such products has facilitated companies to fulfil the need and therefore we see more and more products in market.  As the standard of living goes up in various markets, consumers are willing to pay more to purchase organic or natural products.   Asia Pacific market will be the fastest growing market in which to offer a natural liquid body wash following North America.   

When collecting data during the market research phase it will be crucial to let consumers know that we are storing it and not sharing with third party vendors if we are doing it in house.  If leveraging a focus group these people will have consented to sharing information with a company.  We also need to make sure that the product marketing doesn’t have any misleading information and that if we are stating that the product is fair trade certified we are abiding by FLOCERT regulations.   

The biggest limitation based on the research is creating awareness for the product at a larger scale along the lines of say Dove body wash.  A secondary concern would be pricing as this liquid body wash would be priced higher than most current in market brands, that are not organic.  I do think that there is more research that can be done to identify areas where I can overcome the awareness and pricing concerns.   Hopefully during the market surveys I can find what those areas are before going to market. 



Global Organic Beauty Market to reach $22bn by 2024. (2016, July 15). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://formulabotanica.com/global-organic-beauty-market-22bn-2024/ 

Anthony, B. B. (2017, July 24). How P&G Tripled Its Innovation Success Rate. Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2011/06/how-pg-tripled-its-innovation-success-rate  

Organic Skin Care 2018: Global Industry Forecasts to 2024 – CAGR Expected to Grow at 10%. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/organic-skin-care-2018-global-industry-forecasts-to-2024—cagr-expected-to-grow-at-10-300654926.html 

Global Organic Personal Care Market Size | Industry Report, 2018-2025. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2018, from https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/organic-personal-care-market