Tag: marketing

Where were you when Steve Jobs pulled the first iPhone out of his pocket on June 29, 2007? For many, including future historians of the digital age, that day marks a turning point in mobile communication and handheld technology. For anyone under the age of 25 it’s impossible to remember life without smart phones. Believe it or not, people used to walk, ride bikes, drive cars with their heads up, looking at the world around them instead of staring into the universe displayed on a palm-sized screen.

Rumors have been circulating for months about the iPhone 8 iterations expected to debut later this year along with a souped-up 10th anniversary special edition. Customers will probably once again camp outside stores for the bragging rights to be among the first to buy the newest model.

Seethu Seetharaman

Seethu Seetharaman, W. Patrick McGinnis Professor of Marketing at Olin uses iPhone sales data in his Data Analysis for Brand Management class. “I have used sales data for the years since the iPhone was launched to teach students how to forecast future sales. I use a new product diffusion model called the Bass Model to do this.”

Seetharaman, who is also Director of the Center for Customer Analytics & Big Data (CCABD) and Academic Director for the Master of Science in Customer Analytics (MSCA) program, points to the data that show iPhone sales increased from $19.3b in 2006 to $215.6 in 2010. That’s an 11X increase.

“The iPhone has been a disrupter like no other,” explains Seetharaman. “It has not just hurt traditional phones (i.e., competitors within the same category), but has destroyed at least four other product categories in a decade’s time!”

Seetharaman shares more data from 2006-2016 as proof of the products left behind in the wake of the iPhone’s success:

  • Digital camera sales fell by 66%
  • MP3 player sales fell by 87%
  • Portal Navigation Systems sales fell by 80%
  • Camcorder sales fell by 93%

Carol Johanek

Carol Johanek, Olin Adjunct Professor of Marketing, says building customer loyalty has been a key to Apple’s success:
“Apple has excelled in building loyalty for its overall brand by continuously understanding the changing preferences of its core customers and adapting its platform to laptops, tablets, smart phones and online music over the years. Their excellence in customer service and allowing for an easy transition into upgrades has enabled the brand to achieve a strong retention among its customer base.”

Craving iPhone trivia? Here are a few sources:

  • In July 2016, CEO Tim Cook announced Apple had sold the billionth iPhone.
  • Currently, there are more than 700 million iPhones in use worldwide. That’s according to an estimate from BMO Capital Markets which includes more than 200 million second-hand iPhones.  Source: Fortune
  • Why is 9:41 always the time displayed on Apple devices in marketing materials? Link to answer.
  • 60 amazing iPhone facts & stats

Katie Wools, Creative Director in Olin’s Marketing & Communications department, is a Gold Winner in the 2017 Hermes Creative Awards competition for her poster design that promoted this year’s Shakespeare at Olin event.

Katie, who is a freelance illustrator with children’s books to her credit, was quick to say that the poster was a team effort. “Paula Crews, Judy Milanovits, Cathy Myrick—all members of our MarComm team—and I, first met to discuss concepts for the poster. Dean Taylor approved, and then I got to work on a sketch—Cathy laid in the type.”

Katie says the Dean made a great suggestion when he saw the initial sketch. “It was his idea to put Juliet on top of Brookings Hall to mimic the iconic balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet. It was brilliant!”

It was also Dean Taylor’s idea to stage the first-ever Shakespeare at Olin, held April 23, in honor of the Bard’s 453rd birthday. Katie also designed banners that decorated the tent on Mudd Field where several local professional theater groups and WashU students performed scenes from Shakespeare.  Link here for complete program.

Photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr.

Pen and ink and watercolor are Katie’s illustrating media. Once complete she scans the artwork into a digital file. For the Shakespeare poster, she added a parchment-like background and a “few other tweaks” in PhotoShop. Total time for the project? Katie estimates 20 hours, but who’s counting? “It was such a fun project I didn’t keep track. I am never happier than when I get to work on a project like this,” Katie said.

At right, Katie’s illustration of William Shakespeare was blown up to five feet tall for a fun selfie station complete with Elizabethan props and quotes from the Bard’s plays.

“Hand illustration is definitely a disappearing art,” said Katie. “Working in traditional media is scary. If a client makes a change to your digital illustration it is often an easy fix in PhotoShop. If they make a change to your painting, you sometimes have to start all over again. But I use both traditional and digital techniques in my art. When I am done with a watercolor, I often make small tweaks in photoshop to clean it up. But I am still careful to maintain the integrity of the original painting.”


Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. Hermes Creative Awards recognizes outstanding work in the industry while promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals.

Hermes Creative Awards is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (www.amcpros.com). The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, digital media production and free-lance professionals. AMCP oversees awards and recognition programs, provides judges and awards outstanding achievement and service to the profession.


When Marci Furutani,MBA ’11, graduated from Olin she went to work for The Republic of Tea in Novato, California. She led a marketing team charged with transitioning their strategy from direct mail to a web-based business model that encompassed all digital channels. “Our team contributed year over year double digit growth for the four years I led this channel,” Furutani tells the North Bay Business Journal that has named her to its 2017 Forty Under 40 list of remarkable young professionals.

“I am a leader, authentic and empathetic. I motivate and provide purpose. I listen, ask questions, collaborate and mentor. I am passionate, enthusiastic and driven.” -Marci Furutani

Two years ago, Furutani was promoted to Minister of Brand Engagement (aka: marketing director) in The Republic of Tea. “Our team continues to find meaningful ways to engage with our citizens (customers) whether through social media, direct mail or content driven marketing explaining the health benefits of our teas. We strive to help citizens live a sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp lifestyle and enrich their lives through premium tea, education and innovation.”

Link to North Bay Business Journal’s profile of Marci Furutani.


Brand-new customers pose an interesting challenge to marketers in this era of big data. Marketing strategy and tactics are often driven by valuable insights gleaned from past customer data collected over time from repeat purchases and transactions. But newly acquired customers arrive without a data trail. Is it possible to predict the future behavior of new customers?

As a doctoral student in marketing, Arun Gopalakrishnan seized on this challenge to create a new computer model to provide guidance to managers who want, and need, to forecast newly acquired customers’ behaviors. Gopalakrishnan began this research as part of his doctoral studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and completed the research at Olin Business School where he is an assistant professor of marketing. His paper won the 2017 Olin Award for faculty research that impacts business.

Working with two professors at Wharton, Gopalakrishnan developed two cross‐cohort models (called vector changepoint models) that introduce a new framework for analyzing data that reveals insights into patterns of customer behavior over time.

Specifically, the new models reject the notion that pooling data from all previous customers to make an educated guess about the behavioral patterns of the newest customers provides an accurate forecast. In other words, the researchers found that new customers are not simply going to behave like the “average” existing customer. That assumption, according to the researchers, “ignores the potentially changing behavioral patterns” from one set of customers acquired during a certain time period to another.

The new mathematical model takes into account what it calls “regime changes” or past customer behavior changes that were influenced by new firm policy, government regulations, economic factors, competitors’ actions, or unknown drivers of change.

“Our findings suggest that simply using older cohorts [sets of customers acquired in the past] as a proxy for predicting new cohorts without understanding any potential regime changes may lead to inaccurate predictions because certain aspects of customer behavior may have changed, going from the oldest customer cohort to the newest one.”

When tested against other models, the Olin Award–winning research model/forecast tool outperforms other benchmarks. It can be applied to any industry that acquires customers who engage in repeat transactions over time. The new model also simplifies the process of mining the data.

Link to research summary and paper.

It’s hard for me to believe, but it’s been 12 years since I was getting ready to graduate college and I was looking for my first full-time job in marketing. From the rise of social media to the advent (and growth) of the smartphone, a lot has changed. But when it comes to trying to get your foot in the door for your first job, a lot has stayed the same.

Jon Franko Gorilla 76Guest blogger: Jon Franko is co-founder of Gorilla 76, a St. Louis-based B2B marketing agency. Jon was named to the 2010 St. Louis Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” class and was named as one of St. Louis’ “Top Young Entrepreneurs” by the Small Business Monthly. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and co-founded Gorilla 76 with WashU alum, Joe Sullivan, BFA/BSBA’05.

Below are a few notes about getting your foot in the door at the agency at which you want to work. They’re written for recent/soon-to-be grads. That said, I think they can be helpful to a variety of folks.

Know where you want to work

It might seem obvious, but it’s the first step and an important one at that: know where you want to work. When I was going through my job search my senior year at Mizzou, I knew I wanted to work in St. Louis. I also knew that I wanted to work at a company that valued its culture, employees and clients. I desired a work environment in which I would learn a lot and grow as a copywriter.

After hours and hours of research and a few painful campus job fairs (you need to be going to these!), I had a list ready to go. Names like Rodgers Townsend, Momentum, and Moosylvania were on it. These were agencies that were well-respected, treated their employees in a way that I wanted to be treated, and had strong, long-lasting relationships with their clients.

I’m going to write more on what I think you should look for in an agency at another time. But for now, just know that all agencies aren’t the same, and while there are a lot of great places to start your career, there are plenty of bad ones too.

Avoid the HR person

It was accurate when I was an aspiring copywriter, and it’s accurate now that I handle the hiring and firing at Gorilla – avoid the HR person until it’s no longer possible.

Don’t get me wrong, if you apply for a job, and the HR person reaches out (which is likely the scenario), don’t walk to the interview, run to it. But, if you’re reaching out cold, meaning there’s no job posted and you’re looking to just connect with the company, don’t make the first stop the HR department. Their job, as I’ve learned in my own experience as the HR guy at Gorilla, is to keep people out more often than it is to get people in.

Instead, use LinkedIn and Google and company “About us” pages to figure out who is the right person at a company with whom to connect. If you’re a writer, look to connect with writers at the company. If you’re a designer, look to connect with designers. Pretty simple, right? You’d be surprised.

When I was in school, we didn’t really have resources like LinkedIn and some of the companies didn’t even really have websites. And if they did, they rarely showcased the team and they definitely didn’t have a blog where the employees were writing. Instead, I read award annuals and industry publications and looked to find the names of the creative directors and copywriters at the agencies at which I wanted to work. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it worked and I got in touch with the right people.

Before we move to the next point, let’s connect on Instagram and on LinkedIn. Gorilla has a presence on both as well: InstagramLinkedIn.

Ask for the informational interview

As the HR arm at Gorilla, I hear from many looking for jobs. Some are obvious in stating it: “Dear Sir/Madam…I am formally inquiring about any open positions…” They get deleted.

Others are craftier and more strategic. They reach out to our employees first to try to get in to see “what it’s like to work at Gorilla” and to see if they can get some feedback on their book or resume or whatever. And then they might reach out to me to ask a question or two and to see if they can pop by to chat for 15 minutes. They often tell me they really admire our work and love the culture we’re building and they read such and such on page X of our website and it really lined up with their long-term professional goals. They DON’T get deleted.

My ego is engaged and I feel like I have someone looking to me for wisdom – it’s impossible to say no! Now, I might not always have the perfect advice, but it doesn’t really matter for the job-seeker. Their foot is in the door, and that’s all that really matters.

Follow up, again and again and again…               

gold-foil-thank-you-pink-800x600_largeSo you’re getting close. You’ve identified where you want to work. You’ve contacted the right folks. You’ve even gotten in to meet them. Now, you have to follow up.
First, write the thank you note. For the love of everything, don’t forget this step. It’s so obvious and disappointing when someone drops the ball here. Don’t settle with the email “thank you.” Go old school. Pen. Paper. And a few thoughts. Nothing more. Some are concerned that it takes too long to reach the recipient – that’s not a bad thing. Just as they start to forget they met with you (it’s a cruel world, sorry), you remind them of a great conversation you had just a few days or a week prior.

Next, stay in touch with them. Not too often, but remember, the “squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Send them work samples you’re working on and ask for feedback. Send them an article you read and explain why it was relevant to your conversation. Show them updates you’ve made on your portfolio, based on the feedback they gave you when you sat down with them (this is how I got my first job).

Whatever you do and however you do it, just make sure you do it. Your goal is to come across their desk at just the right time.

Go land that gig

As you can guess, a lot has changed since I was looking for my job. After all, many of you reading this post were getting ready to finish first grade while I was looking for my first job.

That said, a lot of old-school practices are still relevant today in a multitude of areas. Getting a job in marketing is no exception. As for me, I ended up landing a job at Moosylvania, and to this day, I’m incredibly grateful for that experience. If you’re looking for a great sales promotion agency, they’re as good as it gets in St. Louis.

This blog post was originally published on the Gorilla 76 career blog.


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