Marketing

In 1997, Yellow Transportation landed in Fortune magazine's least-admired companies list. "We were a $2.5 billion company," says Greg Reid, senior vice president. "But we kept operating the same old way. Also we were losing money - huge, huge siphons of money." Desperate to yank Yellow from its rut, executives spent a year visiting customers, shadowing employees and talking, talking, talking. The solution? The company embraced "deviant leadership," a management style that encourages "thinking outside of the box, or saying there never was a box." By 2003, Yellow snagged the number-one spot in its industry on Fortune's most-admired companies list, and remained there in the 2004 and 2005 lists.

Progressive American universities will need to create a new academic discipline, services sciences, management and engineering, to provide the necessary high-value, services-centric graduates of the future. "The world is becoming a services system," explains Jim Spohrer, director of IBM's Almaden Services Research. Spohrer spoke recently at a symposium sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business's Center for Services Leadership. To meet the needs of today's economy, Spohrer said, universities will need to adapt, bridging the academic and business silos to develop the knowledgeable services work force of the future.

Companies like to implement self-service technologies because of the potential cost savings and the appeal of the cutting-edge. But a surprising number of managers fail to implement their own SSTs effectively, according to a study by several professors of marketing at the W. P. Carey School of Business. "The companies that plan their strategies well, and the ones that integrate their customers into the equation, are the ones that will succeed," says Mary Jo Bitner, director of the school's Center for Services Leadership.

The "Dove girls" advertising campaign has caught the attention of media consumers, and no wonder. In a world where the marketing of thin and flawless Victoria's Secret "Angels" dominate the prime-time landscape, suddenly there is a top-tier national campaign featuring curvy, real-world women parading proudly across the pages of People magazine in plain white underwear. But can the Dove girls' obviously healthy body image and — refreshing though it may be — actually boost women's self-esteem, not to mention product sales? Marketing professors from the W. P. Carey School of Business say the research isn't conclusive.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule next month whether Grokster, a Napster-like file-sharing network for downloading music and other digital entertainment, can be held liable for facilitating copyright infringement. But even if the music industry wins the case, two marketing professors at the W. P. Carey School of Business argue that it will ultimately lose if it keeps fighting consumers. Their research suggests that trying to stem music downloads through legal action and technology is likely to cost the industry more business than it preserves.