Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Friday, April 17, 2015 8:58pm
Joining Kai to talk about the week's business and economic news are Fortune Magazine's Leigh Gallagher and John Carney from the Wall Street Journal. The big topics this week: inflation at the retail level and consumer sentiment, Greece's debt problems and the eurozone, and Etsy's and Party City's stock market debuts.
Friday, April 17, 2015 5:13pm
The news marks a bit of a turning point for an industry that was founded on notions of exclusivity.
As entry-level prices drop, more and more car buyers can hope to buy a piece of fine German engineering, but the move does come with a few risks.
It used to be the case that owning a luxury car was something to aspire to. These days, luxury carmakers are even targeting millenials buying their first car.
“They're more concerned about keeping you in the fold and making sure that there is something there for each of your life stages,” Huge Marketing Director Megan Malli says. “That's really where they're headed with respect to the marketplace.”
Lower starting prices and a broader range of models may translate into higher sales, but it also risks diluting the brand’s cache.
“They are now competing against the Hondas and the Fords of the world, and frankly, often those other vehicles can really beat them on options and pricing,” Malli says.
That’s where marketing strategy comes in to play. If would-be buyers still believe that BMW equates with say, “performance,” then being more mass-market is actually a good thing.
"They really preserve their brand messaging, even if they produce cars that are less expensive," says NYU Stern School Professor Thomaï Serdari. She also notes that the German's mass-market strategy won’t work for every luxury car brand.
"Cadillac is a brand that had a lot of cache a few years ago, but also it was associated with people of a specific type and background, perhaps much much older," says Serdari.
In recent years Cadillac has had little to tout besides its high end Escalade SUV. In order to become relevant again, Serdari believes the brand needs to cut back its offerings, and go upmarket to firmly re-establish itself on the high end of luxury, a place BMW, Audi and Mercedes already occupy.
"Then perhaps they can reverse their strategy and start targeting the mass market with less expensive models."
Friday, April 17, 2015 5:00pm
Remember that giant hack at Sony from late last year? Well, Wikileaks published the whole stack of leaked documents this week.
Buried in there was one from "Jeopardy!" executive producer Harry Friedman, who was looking to grow revenue, I guess.
After 13 years , Alex Trebek has grown back his mustache. We have a plan to take advantage of the seemingly never-ending interest in his upper lip, and monetize the interest that will be generated when he shaves it off again. So, yes, we're looking for someone .....Gillette, Dollar Shave Club, Harry's , Schick, Bic....to be the Official Razor of Alex Trebek's Mustache.
Never did go anywhere, which is kind of a pity.
Friday, April 17, 2015 3:04pm
There was a time when trolls were just scary fairy tale creatures under bridges harassing billy goats. These days? Trolls are everywhere.
Journalist Jon Ronson documents this public shaming renaissance in his new book, "So You've Been Publicly Shamed."
He highlights the recipients of some recent high-profile, public shamings: a joke on Twitter that came out badly and went viral, a brand compelled to offer compensation to unhappy customers. He says where once there was public humiliation you actually had to show up for, now there are subtweets and anonymous YouTube comments.
"We've created this system for ourselves ... this kind of weird surveillance system, where the only way to survive is to either be bland or silent," Ronsen says.
More often than not, Ronsen says, public shaming stems from good people just trying to do good:
"It was nice people like us wanting to show that we're proper, and ethical, and empathetic and we're attacking—we're punching up, we're attacking people misusing their privilege. It's good people like us that are creating the most destruction."
Ronson himself has recently received a fair amount of Internet backlash surrounding the book release, for a (now cut) line comparing the way men feel about getting fired to the way women feel about rape.
Listen to the full interview in the audio player above to hear more, including Ronson's take on Trevor Noah, the new (publicly shamed) host of "The Daily Show."
Friday, April 17, 2015 3:03pm
Prom season is in full swing. And if you're thinking to yourself, "That's not a business story," keep reading.
An amazing statistic from Visa: the average prom-going teen will shell out $919 in preparation this year. With that much at stake, formal wear boutiques are courting as much business as possible away from department stores and online retailers, who have the advantage of endless selection and cheaper prices.
One strategy they've hit upon: prom dress registries, so that no two girls from the same high school show up to prom in the same gown.
"I worried about a lot of things as a teenage girl. This was not one of them," says Elizabeth Holmes, senior style reporter for the Wall Street Journal, who recently wrote about prom registries.
The "OMG, Mom!" sense of embarrassment over a twin-effect at prom is nothing new. Beverly Hills, 90210 had a dramatic spring dance moment back in 1993.
To avoid Kelly and Brenda's embarrassment, stores are keeping registries so that each girl has her shining moment on prom night.
Holmes spoke with one Silicon Valley formal wear boutique that tracks 600 high school proms.
"They have this massive computerized dress registry where they're tracking who is wearing what, to which prom," she said.
For store owners, it may be uncomfortable to tell an excited teen, "No, you can't have that dress." But particularly in smaller markets, formal boutiques rely on repeat business and hope that customers will see the value.
Holmes says it's a "play to the parents," who more often than not are footing the bill for $400 and up gowns.
"They're dealing with a dramatic teenager and they don't want to have — come prom night — tears if someone else had my dress."
Because prom has always been about the pictures as much as the dance, teens now document everything from the dress-buying experience to their "promposals" through social media. And while boys don't have to worry about suit or tuxedo registries (yet, anyway), Holmes says, they tend to foot the bill for increasingly popular promposals, be they elaborate or goofy.
March 31, 2015