The power of context

Gladwell suggests that like infectious diseases, products and behaviours spread far and wide only when they fit the physical, social and mental context into which they are launched. He gives the example of a wave of crime in the New York subway that came to an abrupt halt by simply removing the graffiti from trains and clamping down on fare-dodging. It can be suggested that products should be devised and tested to fit their context, situation or occasion of use.

To illustrate the options for varying the product element of the marketing mix online. w.w.w. Activity

Select one of the sectors below. Use a search engine to find three competitors with similar product offerings. List ways in which each has used the Internet to vary its core and extended product. Which of the companies do you think makes best use of the Internet?

• Computer manufacturers

• Management consultants

• Children's toy sector

• Higher education.

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