Botox: Almost Trouble-Free New Faces

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Botox: Almost Trouble-Free New Faces

Synopsis

The Botox case illustrates the accidental success of a product developed for an entirely different purpose. Originally, Botox was used in the treatment of crossed-eyes, but ophthalmologists quickly learned that it would also erase wrinkles and frown lines around eyes. It wasn’t long before doctors across the United States were using Botox for treating wrinkles even though Allergan could not promote the product for this use.

The case discusses the advantages (fewer frown lines) and disadvantages and side effects (drooping eyelids and the need to repeat treatments) of Botox; explains what the product is; lists potential target markets; selling of the product at “Botox parties”; use of Botox treatments to attract customers to resorts; Allergan’s marketing of Botox once it was approved for cosmetic purposes and the use of Botox to support the new strategy of Allergan to become a major player in the pharmaceuticals industry. It closes with the observation that the formula for Botox is one of the most closely guarded product secrets in the world—along with the formula for Coca-Cola.

The case is especially useful for discussing added value and the creation of customer satisfaction. It raises questions about the difference between needs, wants, and demands; what constitutes value; is useful for illustrating the difference between a marketing oriented company (Allergan after Botox) rather than a non-marketing oriented company (Allergan before Botox); the potential benefits of marketing and raises questions about societal marketing (should Botox be promoted for cosmetic purposes? Should it be sold through parties?)

The case can also be used to illustrate relationships in the marketing paradigm—between Allergan and doctors, Allergan and final consumers and doctors, and final consumers. Allergan’s marketing efforts are two-pronged in order to successfully promote to both markets. It is important for students to realize the pivotal role of the doctor in this purchase process in which consumers do not buy the product directly.

Teaching Objectives

1.To illustrate the effect of publicity on product success. 2.To raise questions about the differences between needs, wants, and demands. 3.To challenge students to define added value and how it relates to consumer satisfaction. 4.To demonstrate the importance of target market selection (not just for women!). 5.To illustrate the marketing of a pharmaceutical product and the importance of the doctor in the marketing process. 6.To illustrate consumer-oriented marketing.

7.To raise questions about the social impact of a marketing success such as Botox. 8.To illustrate the role that marketing plays in the development of company strategy.

Answers to Discussion Questions

1. What are the needs, wants, and demands of consumers for Botox products in its dif- ferent treatment markets? What value does Botox deliver in each market? How does value affect the price for Botox?

The use of Botox for ocular treatment illustrates a classic need. The consumer has a defect that needs treatment. When used for crossed-eyes, the product not only has strong physical properties, but social properties as well. Patients can see better, but they may also feel much better about themselves as their appearance improves. This can have a strong impact on their ego and social needs. Of course, this also illustrates wants. People with crossed eyes can still read and function. The want here is not that they will expire from lack of the drug, but that they want to look better and feel better about themselves. The value of this is undeniably high. What probably constitutes the major portion of the value are the social and ego wants. One can live without it, but does one want to? Because the value is high, the price can be high. But in this market, insurance reimbursements may operate to lower the price that consumers are...
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