October 19, 2011
Colgate-Palmolive has been researching and developing a superior toothbrush, the Colgate Precision, and as the Precision Product Manager I have overseen the development of the Precision from start to finish. We have been developing a technical innovation in the toothbrush industry, and with the product’s launch pending there have been several factors yet to be decided upon. With a tremendous amount of resources pooled into the development of the Precision and the recent competitive market we are launching it in, it is essential the positioning and branding of this toothbrush are executed properly. The Precision, if done successfully, should stand out as a technological breakthrough to consumers and limit cannibalization of current Colgate brand toothbrushes. Another key issue that is at play for the business is whether the Colgate Plus brand will be cannibalized following the introduction of our new toothbrush. Through analysis of the marketing mix for the Precision toothbrush, and weighing the financial benefits and costs relative to the two positioning strategies, I will address the correct course of action for the Precision toothbrush to sustain a competitive advantage in the market. RECOMMENDATIONS
My recommendation is to introduce the Precision toothbrush into the niche market, as it is a significantly advanced toothbrush and should be tested on a smaller scale before being placed into the mainstream. The toothbrush needs to be positioned as a technological breakthrough in oral care, to young adults and baby boomers, who are concerned about plaque removal and gum disease. If that initial strategy is successful I advise moving towards the mainstream market with additional inventory. Secondly, the correct branding of the product should be “Precision by Colgate”, rather than the “Colgate Precision”, as extensive research should support our design as an elite toothbrush that stands on its own.
This analysis considers the core competencies of our new product, the external factors affecting the market, the financial estimates of our sales, a SWOT analysis of Precision, and other significant factors reflecting my final decision.
Part of my decisions branched from our initial mission, developing a “superior, technical, plaque removing device”. A super-premium toothbrush, especially one like ours with extensive research, should not be placed on a mainstream agenda right away, as it may confuse consumers what the toothbrush is trying to achieve. In our launch we need to keep in mind the adoption process most consumers go through when purchasing products that relate to their personal health. Though we have tested it and confirmed it’s effectiveness in labs and within focus groups it’s important those truly invested in their teeth and gum care, and consumers familiar with Colgate brands, agree it is an elite product and one they will continue to purchase. Pursuing our initial mission should effectively target the therapeutic and cosmetic brushers who are looking for a professional toothbrush (Case, Table B, p. 5). Our distribution strategy is also crucial to the core competence of Precision; we would weaken our position if the product ran short on availability following launch. Following the initial launch I feel that the mainstream distribution strategy to mass merchandisers and club stores can be achieved to maximize profit (Exhibit 1, attached). We currently have the majority of our market share in mass retail stores (Case, Exhibit 7) so once we have tapped into food and drug store market with the precision it should be relatively easy distributing them to these retailers.
With its triple-action brushing effect, twice as effective plaque removing ability, and gum line reach bristles Precision should be branded to...