comment on Danny Brown’s post “Why Context Marketing is nothing new”

Danny Brown’s blog post on “Why Context Marketing is nothing new” explains what context marketing is and why it is not a new trend. I found it very useful. I realized that marketing is not all about emphasizing products’ points of differences; it is about selling right goods at the right moment. For instance, as Brown said in the blog, posting stationary advertisements right before school year starts could bring beneficial results to the company.


I also noticed what Tamar said in class was true. Branding is not everything; marketers must understand customers’ needs well in order to be successful. Context marketing perfectly displays this. Marketers know when customers will look for certain products in a certain time through numerous market researches. From that point on, they will focus on consumer’s pain in that certain time and then bombard them with advertisements through emails and social medias. In this way, companies maximize results of spending their marketing expense. Understanding your customers well is like having cheat codes on video games , it makes  life be so much more easier for marketers.



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A need for social enterprises?


My economy professor always tell me that to answer a question, you must first define the question. So, what is a social enterprise?

Social enterprise is basically same as any other firms that make money by selling goods or services. However, the major difference between a commercial and social enterprise is that a social one will reinvest its profits back into the company instead of giving returns to investors.

I think even though United Nations is fully funded, there is still a need to create Arc or social enterprises because of the hardship to sustain enough donations. United Nations now receives donations from all around the world. However, what if no one donates all of a sudden?


Social enterprises will most likely never encounter this issue. Social entrepreneurs who run the company will provide professional advice and sustain profits. For instance, a social enterprise that provides inexpensive dental care can reinvest its profits back to the company and open a new center in another location. In this way, it will be able to maximize the usage of donations and also the efficiency of helping individuals.


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A sky full of clouds


Google recently decided to step into the market of online data storage called public clouds. While there have already been fierce competitors such as Microsoft, who invests billions of dollars every year to the industry, Google still believe they can take a bite of the meat. This is perhaps their servers contain an unique point of difference among all.  Is this actually the case?

According to the article, Goggle decided to cut its price in hopes of attracting more customers and it is also guaranteed that servers will work 99.95% of the time, a more sustainable quality than others.

I think this is a very smart strategy from Google. They realized that they have a rather weak point of difference to attract consumers . Therefore, they moved a step further and lowered the price in hopes of engaging more users to try their service.

Standing from another point of view however, Google might be overwhelmed by their ambition. With a rather shaky product differentiation and having well established competitors in the industry, the search engine giant may not be benefited at all. Although “clouds” are turning to become a profitable business , Google should consider the cost of just staying relevant in the industry. After all, their well-polished brand image of being user-friendly may become their strongest point of difference.



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A refurbished business model



It makes sense to believe that protests would definitely drag product sales on that certain area down. However, reports showed that sales of food, apartments or even luxuries (Rolex) in Hong Kong did not affect by the pro-democracy protests. While I was trying to evaluate this case on the business model in external environment ,none of the areas suited this situation.

I figured out that the current model doesn’t support how accidental factors impact businesses.  Therefore, Corporations should include analysis on unexpected events and how it affects the building blocks in the business model canvas when developing their business plan. This will allow them to forecast ahead and react quickly to prevent huge loss in the future. While it is great to consider the worst, they should also construct a best-case scenario for their businesses. For instance, surging tourists from events such as the Olympics or World cup will increase sales of product, thus, affects revenue streams and diversify customer segments in the canvas. In this way, companies will have a more comprehensive understanding of their businesses and how it triggers growth or loss when surprising events occur.


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To be or not to be?(Comment on Yeqi Yang’s post: “The Trouble Of Loyal Cards”)


After reading Yeqi Yang’s blog post on “the trouble of loyal cards“, I disagree with her thought that Tesco should stop using membership cards . In fact, I believe that membership cards have became a unique point of parity in any brands. Just as Yeqi said, almost all supermarkets have membership cards. Therefore, if any of these groceries stores decides to discard them, it all of a sudden creates a disadvantage among their competitors. As a result , that particular store will be eliminated immediately during the consideration process in  “Consumer journey model” ,  giving the fact that they do not gain any vouchers and cash backs upon purchases anymore.

I do agree with Yeqi that there is a need for companies to differentiate themselves in order to sustain consumers’ loyalty and interest.  I think stores should start following the footsteps of a points system in airplane mileage, where you can redeem goods from headphones to a free plane flight with a certain amount of points.(gain points depending on the location you travel) In that way,  it not only creates a point of difference among competitors,  it also provides a legitimate reason for consumers to become your newest VIP.



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consumer journey model : (here)

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Mining gold at home?


B.C. First Nation Tsilhqot’in recently declared full protection of a big portion in Chilcotin as a tribal park. This declaration would prohibit Taseko from mining gold that worth 1.5 billion.

I think that the government should pass this declaration. Even before the Constitution Acts was passed in 1867, these aboriginal people have already been living there. If Taseko have any kind of large industrial mining there, these poor inhabitants will all have to migrate to an unfamiliar place.

From a business stand point, Companies should be well aware that dealing with aboriginals can be very tricky. Take into consideration that provincials court will most likely stand on Aboriginals’ side due to their rich history and also numerous acts passed just to protect their rights. In addition, paying them a compensation to leave will not do any good since money contains zero value to them.

Above all, invading someone’s home will be justified as an immoral act. Nowadays, business ethics are as important as generating endless profits . Therefore, I suggest Taseko to consider all the disadvantages in their business model in external environment and its implications on the business model canvas(e.g. customer relationships). Remember, one can have numerous ways to gain profits; it only takes one blow to destroy one’s brand image.




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A mistake?(Comment on Michael Zhong’s post: “Tesco’s 250 Million Mistake”)


After reading Michael Zhong’s blog about “Tesco’s 250 Million Mistake”, I think that Tesco’s pivotal error on reporting their latest profit is not just a careless mistake; in fact, it is I think, a fraud. 10, 20 or even 30 million still make a tiny sense.  A ridiculous 250 millions? Seriously? Did the accounting division use a potato to calculate their profit? With an already awful accusation of “aggressive accounting” back in 2010, I strongly believe that they are using the same method again in an attempt to attract new investors. Knowing that Blackrock, their second largest stakeholder, is departing,  and their stock price is dropping faster than a roller coaster every day; their only legitimate hope to revive the company is to get support from new stockholders. However, they realize that no one would like to invest money on a dying stock. Therefore, the quickest way to gain new shareholders  is by raising profits up to a sky high number, where it will show  investors that Tesco still has a huge market value .

In order to prevent these kinds of “mistake” happening again, government should penalize Tesco massively this time as a warning to other corporations. In that way, it ensures that no one would ever use a potato next time when computing their profits.



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Marketing Wizards


The recent release of the Iphone 6 has once again created another frenzy. An Iphone 6 plus in the United states has now rocketed up to $1300 , 173% more than the original price that apple sells. Things look even more ridiculous in China; they buy in ONE Iphone 6 plus for as high as $3000.

All these bizarre phenomena are the result of an intelligent marketing plan constructed by Apple. Over the years, releases of Iphones has always been able to gain huge media coverage due to uncertain atmosphere Apple created. Before the actual conference held by Apple, public do not receive a single piece of information about their latest inventions. They continue to build up the hype by only releasing their product to a few countries with an insufficient amount of supply. With a normal demand and a extremely low supply, price will obviously be sky high. More importantly, it creates a false impression to mass public that their product is a luxury to have. Finally, due to an intensive feedback loops from consumers and extensive media coverage, when Apple finally releases their normal supply of phones, it will be all sold out in seconds. Utilizing this strategy, Apple successfully catches consumers’ mentality.


Apple has been criticized about losing innovations in their products after the death of Steve Jobs. However, they are still able to gain record sales and revenues year after year. We should all give a big round of applause to Apple’s marketing team.



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Rusting Windows


Microsoft has decided to cutback more than 2000 staffs , and shut down one of its research centers. They claimed that this decision is due to its new CEO’s goal. However, I believe the shrinking of employees is the beginning of downfall for this historical company. As another technological giant, Apple, grows exponentially over the past decade, sales and popularity of Microsoft products have seriously plummeted. One of the numerous factors is that their operation system “Windows” does not contain any prominent upgrade for years. While it still stick to its old formula to success, Apple has continuously improved its operation system. From applications to design , “IOS” is always considered innovative and user-friendly to consumers. As one of the many unsatisfied  “Windows” users, only words I can associate with its O.S. are flawed , problematic and sluggish. From the Microsoft example, it is clear that bad reputations from users will lead to a devastated effect on your products’ demand. Moreover, for a company to sustain success and profits, endless changes and innovative ideas are required. If a company decides to rely on its successful past and refuses to step into the future, elimination will eventually occur; just take a look at blackberry. Is Microsoft turning into the next Blackberry? Only time will tell.



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MORE INFO: Comparison between Windows 8 and the new IOS Yosemite –



Working For Devils



Recently, Shi Zhaokun, a 15 years old Apple worker, was found dead of Pneumonia. His death was most likely caused by his heavy workload of nearly 280 hours in a single month. Although nowadays, corporations realize the importance of corporate ethics, endless factories launching in Asia show that money is still their only concern. Most Big corporations choose China as their production base due to cheap labor force and poor working conditions. Take Apple for instance. They claimed that they have improved working conditions drastically over the past few years. However, Shi still has to work over 60 hours per week. If Apple really has an ethical sense, why don’t they switch their production headquarters to countries with a better working standards such as the United States?. The reason is simple; it is all about making more profits. Changing production base to these countries will probably increase their cost and decrease production efficiency(shorter working hours), thus, minimizing their total profits. R. Edward Freeman’s stakeholder theory explains that every stakeholder, including employees,  is essential for a business to be successful. As one can see, there is still a long way to implement his idea into big enterprises.

 More information on wages in China, United States and Germany(Infographic):









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