Marketing Strategy: Polyfibron Offset Printing Blanket Product in the U.S. Market

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Milchem LTD – Polyfibron Offset Press Blanket

Executive Summary

The objective of this paper is to analyse Milchem Ltd Company and make recommendations on the Marketing Strategy and on the introductory price for the Polyfibron Offset Printing Blanket product in the US Market. After years of research and development, with some previous doubts for launching a new product, John Keon, Marketing Manager of Milchem, has now the task for developing the marketing strategy for the new Polyfibron Off Set Printing Press Blanket.

The oligopoly US blanket market, where 5 competitors share 95% of the total market, is estimated at 2MM square yards that represent US$ 120 MM of revenues and 3,600 current customers. Milchem has developed a new product after years of research. This has been a huge effort with challenging decisions. Years before, the company stopped some developments because of high manufacturing costs, an issue that Milchem considers very carefully.

In a mature market where costs of production are higher than 80% of sales, Milchem top management has already decided to launch the product. Mr Keon has to consider the concentration of the printing US Market that is located mainly in the Northeast of the country and California. In fact, the marketing strategy needs to have geographical steps to be able to cover the national printing blanket market. In addition, pricing, in a market with standard products, is a key issue that Mr Keon is considering.

Therefore, I am a specialist consultant who has been hired by Mr Keon, in order to give specific recommendations, which are the purpose of this paper. I will analyse the new polyfibron offset press blanket produced by the company Milchem Ltd., make recommendations on its future marketing strategy, including the expected price strategy that Milchem should use in this product.

Milchem LTD – Polyfibron Offset Press Blanket

Company Overview

Milchem Ltd., US chemical manufacturing company located in Cambridge Massachusetts, is a customer-oriented enterprise that has been in the textile printing blanket market for the last 20 years. The company, that has 1,300 employees, invests on research and considers the receiving feedback from current and prospects customers in order to improve its existing products.

In order to understand the values and main objectives of the company, although there is no much information about it, I am looking at its past performance. I would say that it has a conservative approach for introducing new products. In fact, even tough Milchem is aware of the possibility of introducing new products in the printing blanket market, it had not decided before whether to launch a product that could be capable of increasing printing quality and efficiency, key elements in the cost of printer and lithographer customers. The reasons are the awareness of cost reduction and having a conservative management.

At this time, the company is looking for a star product in the blanket market. In order to achieve so, it has invested in research and development for the last ten years, with a two-year interruption, and it is ready for launching a product that will compete in a the mature US blanket market.

Product Overview

The offset blanket is a critical press component and has many characteristics, being the main ones : -Shock absorber
-Ink and water receptive without mixing the two, and without swelling -Transferring the ink both as solids and dots, clean and sharp without streaking -Impression cylinder when printing blanket-to-blanket

The current blanket product has an expected life of 500K to 1MM impressions, yet an expected minimum of 100K. This considerable difference is because of the fragility of the product when having embosses and smashes.

Polyfibron is a new technique made by combining polymers and fibres. The result is a blanket that reduces embossing and extents blanket life. I would like to quote this important issue, "By far...
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