Colgate-Palmolive Co. was founded in 1806 by William Colgate, and today the company sells its well-known products in more than 150 countries. Colgate-Palmolive is in a very desirable position, which many other firms can only dream of. However the firm does not seem to be satisfied with all its successes and achievements; and is directed towards new regions to seek new opportunities. In early 1990s Colgate-Palmolive began its attempts on expanding its marketing activities into the former East Germany, Poland and Mexico.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new market formed which meant new market opportunities for Colgate-Palmolive Co. as well as for many other companies from around the world. The changing political, social and economic forces in the region had strongly influenced the marketing strategy that the company adopted for its expansion into the former East Germany.
As historical data states, after years of communist and socialist regime, East Germany combined with West and adopt liberalism. However the old regime left some problems, one of which is the lack of sales force. Since the government was producing and distributing goods to citizens, the term "sales" nearly dissappeared. It was very difficult to find people to hire, with sales and marketing skills. Colgate-Palmolive adopted a proactive approach and got rid of this problem by establishing sales training programmes in the region; but the company was aware that those training programmes would be time-consuming and costly. To avoid losing time Colgate-Palmolive hired experienced West German salespeople while new ones were being trained.
The company might also have faced the problem of inadequate marketing channels, which are organizations directing products from producers to customers. Colgate-Palmolive Co. needed marketing channels to make products available when the customer wanted them, in locations where the customers wished to purchase them. Without distribution channels, exchange transactions would be much more complex and costly. Since there were not enough wholesalers in East Germany, the company had to deal with hundreds of shops to market its products. To minimize the complexity and the costs of distributing products, Colgate-Palmolive Co. should have focused on the distribution and developed an efficient strategy.