Author Archives: Edward Quinn

The Joneses

  • Would you categorize the way the Jones family lives as personal selling? Why or why not?
    • I had never heard of this movie before our weekly assignment—I loved watching it!  The movie portrays some great examples of personal selling, which is what the Jones family does essentially in their new town by highlighting the great features of the various products they are repping.  “Whoever dies with the most toys wins” ethos, but the family has undeniable appeal and extreme charisma, charm, sex appeal, whatever and is extremely effective in immediately getting to work selling products face to face with neighbors, classmates, country club cronies, etc.
  • What similarities do you see between the sales tactics the Jones family employs and the marketing tactics of some of your favorite brands? Give an example.
    • I think the personal selling approach is—when done tastefully—a very powerful way to move products.  To be honest, now that I am thinking about it,  I have bought products because of a charismatic personality demonstrating the benefits and hard to define “style” of a certain surfboard.  The surfer was a hard charging Aussie who surfs huge, rough surf with a relaxed, devil may care attidude and I ended up being attrached to a perfectly sized board that was a Hypto Krpyto over other brands because of Craig Anderson surf videos using this board off Rockaway Beach, NYC.
  • Based on what you read in the course materials and what you observed in this movie, do you think the way products are marketed in this movie is ethical?
    • I think the way products are marketing in this movie are ethical—that is, not illegal and not overly “wrong” or “improper”…but the way they are sold is perhaps…immoral?  This kind of completely hidden agenda personal sales strategy feels doomed in the long run because it leaves folks feeling manipulated.  If they wouldn’t be comfortable about doing what they are doing in the open, then I think it is ultimately not an effective long term sales strategy even if it’s not “unethical” or illegal.
  • How would you feel if you were friends with someone in the Jones family before you found out their secret? What about afterward?
    • I think this would be a game-changing revelation; on the one hand, it wouldn’t really change everything because I was presumably drawn to the charisma and personality of one of the Jones family members and wanted to emulate their lifestyle—that would be my choice, even if I was being influenced, and the influence was basically on an unconscious level.  On the other hand, to know that the relationship was completely “fake” and based on pushing product, would hollow out any affection and I would not be able to be friends with them anymore.  I think it would be a good opportunity to do some self-analysis and honestly think about how and what the relationship was based upon though – I mean, while the family members do seem very interesting, the values they promote and the morally bankrupt way in which they promote them in the community are not conducive to healthy friendships.


Product Concepts

The pitch that resonated with me the most on the Shark Tank season 13, episode 13 was the Kettle Gryp pitch.  On a personal level, this product nailed the “product concept” for me as someone who often has to travel for work and finds themselves in a hotel gym with a few sparse dumbells–and the Kettle Gryp could easily fit in luggage to enable a better workout by turning dumbells into a kettle bell (something that would obviously be impractical to travel with) and allow me to get a more personal workout that mirrors the workout I get in my home gym.  Essentially, this product is just a plastic molding with a locking hinge that snaps around the handle of an existing dumbbell, and then allows a consumer to grip the larger plastic handle above just like a fully metal kettle bell.  Its genius is in its simplicity, in terms of the actual manufacturing of the product, and of filling a void in the market for those who may travel, or maybe have a home gym with lots of dumbells.  It could even fill a void for larger professional gyms that wish to offer members more versatility without having to buy another full set of differently weighted kettle bells.  I think if the product was marketing heavily to an active lifestyle demographic, many folks would feel that not only do they want the Kettle Gryp, but that they need the kettle gryp to have a more functional workout at home, or perhaps on the road if they travel often for work.  I actually think this product is something I would buy, and in terms of comparision to the other pitches on this episode of Shark Tank, these entrepreneurs did a far superior job of identifying a product “with legs” (pun intended, sorry…) that can serve to fill a previously unidentified void in the fitness and healthy living marketplace.  In terms of best positioning, this product could and should be priced in a cost or price sensitive manner; kettle bells are not terribly expensive, so this product needs to be a cost-effective solution.  Also, as the founders mention in the episode, getting the right “distribution channels” (in this case, big box stores like WalMart or Target) are going to be crucial both to help drive revenue and exposure.  I think if other consumers began to see folks using these at the gym, at a friends house, etc that can help the brand gain more traction. As far as lifecycle, the company will likely need to find other ways to innovate the existing Kettle Gryp and also develop other products that can help drive revenue beyond the first few years of initial sales of the Kettle Gryp.

Salt Lake City Italian Restaraunt

My wife and kids are loving Salt Lake City — and tonight is our first night getting food from a restaurant since we are so tired unpacking boxes all day!  We’ve had mountain vistas and super friendly mormon neighbors out our window all day, but the sun is setting and now we are ready to eat!  We always opt for Italian food if we are going to eat with our daughter, as it’s her favorite food (and we are also of Italian heritage, and love comparing this cuisine to our favorite Italian restaurants in NYC and Philadelphia).

Now that I am studying Intro to Marketing, I am approaching our quest for the “best” Italian food here in Salt Lake City thru the prism of the “consumer decision-making process,” or “CDM,” which is a “chunked” method of examining how we consumers approach the shopping process.  The CDM is a 5 step process consisting of: 1) need recognition, 2) information search, 3) evaluation of alternatives, 4) purchase, and 5) post-purchase behavior.

We’ve identified our “need recognition”–in this instance, our need for food, and specifically Italian food, since we are eating with our 1 year old daughter Remington, and she loves Italian above everything else.  It’s just easier to get her fed, and keep her happy and thus my wife happy.  Plus, my wife and I love comparing this cuisine to some great places back on the East coast.  Check.

Next, the “information search.”  Even though I don’t trust Google, or any other large technology company for that matter, we are going to let the intrusive, manipulate dweebs & their algorithms know that we are on a quest for Italian food in the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan region.  This is probably the default setting for many American consumers now; don’t bother looking for a Yellow Pages or talking with a long-term resident neighbor for a solid recommendation, just whip out a smart phone and search “best Italian food in Salt Lake City.”  I already know that I’m not going to drive far, and that I’m also looking for a restaurant that has a take-out food option since we don’t want to schlep our infant around and inside new restaurants…on account of the COVID.  I also know that I’m not a Yelper or an OCD foodie critic, so I’m not going to bother going down a rabbit hole for the “truly best” spot.  Google is helpful here; the engine responds with several choices, including a map showing distance from our new, way overpriced home, as well as several other short-hand metrics indicating cost ($$) and quality (****).

Next, I’m “evaluating the alternatives,” the top 3 choices which happen to be close to me: 1) Bucca di Beppo, 2) Caffe Molise, and 3) Michelangelo’s on Main.  Within 1 minute, we’ve settled on Caffe Molise, as they have curbside pickup, the highest number of positive reviews (over 2K, wow!), and they are comparably priced to the other alternatives.  Plus, it sounds like it’s NOT a “chain restaurant,” and Michelangelo’s on Main has a thumbnail pic that looks pretty unappetizing.  We’ll keep Bucca di Beppo in our back pocket for our next Italian food hankering.

In retrospect, I think the CDM is something that is almost unconscious for me as a consumer!  I do this all the time and I never realized there are definitive, discrete steps in the consumption quest!  I think my preferences are fairly well representative of other consumers, in that most shoppers are now online centric in their initial info gathering stage, especially for new items and areas!  What might be interesting is what others search results returned based on the tech companies profiles–I would love to hear if other consumers were “suggested” other restaurants besides what the Silicon Valley info manipulators suggested for me!