Case Study of Rohm and Hass

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Sessions 21 & 22—Distribution Decisions and Course Review
Friday, August 6
Case: Rohm and Haas (A): New Product Marketing Strategy
In May 1984, Joan Macey, marketing manager of Rohm and Haas, was reviewing the performance of a recently launched biocide, Kathon MWX. Biocides are chemicals that kill microorganisms (such as bacteria) in metalworking fluids. This fluid is used by the metalworking industry in operations such as grinding and drilling. The fluid is directed onto the surface of the metal being machined to lubricate and cool the work piece and the machine tool, and to remove metal chips. A tray built into the workstation catches the chips, and the used fluid is filtered and returned to the tank for reuse. Kathon MWX was sold to customers in plastic packets. The packet was designed to hang into the metalworking fluid tank by a plastic hook. Despite the technical superiority of this new product, the market acceptance appeared poor.

Rohm and Haas also sold a more powerful biocide, Kathon 886 MW. While Kathon 886 MW was designed for large tanks with capacity over 1,000 gallons, the new product Kathon MWX was designed for tanks with a capacity of less than 1,000 gallons. Discussion Questions:

Should Rohm and Haas support Kathon MWX, or should it withdraw this product from the market and concentrate its effort on the more successful product Kathon 886 MW ? Regardless of your answer to question 1, if Rohm and Haas decides to support Kathon MWX, what marketing strategy should it adopt? (The case uses many technical terms. Don't worry about them too much. The product concept is very simple. It is a packet of chemical which is placed in a tank filled with fluid, in order to clean the tank.)

Readings: “Managing Marketing Channels.” This chapter addresses company decisions in designing, managing, and evaluating their channels.
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