Maytag's Marketing Strategy Plan
If asked what you know about Maytag's marketing program, the first thing to come to mind would probably be its "lonely repairman" ad campaigns. For 35 years, those ads have helped position Maytag as a reliable brand for major appliances. Gordon Jump, an actor who really was a former Maytag repairman, played the lonely repairman role in ads for 14 years. In 2004, another veteran character actor, Hardy Rawls, took on that job. Although Maytag's basic positioning has been consistent over many years, marketing managers at Maytag are constantly developing new marketing strategies. So let's take a closer look at what they did in one innovative strategy-planning process that resulted in profitable growth for Maytage by offering target customers superior value (www.maytag.com). In 1907, Maytag introduced its first washing machine. Called the Pastime, the washer was made of water-resistant wood (boy, how times have changed). And by 1919 the company manufactured the first power washer. By 1924, one out of every five American washers purchase by consumers was a Maytag! And by 1967, the Maytag Lonely Repairman campaign was born. Ol' Lonely became both an advertising legend and an American icon in a way. Maytag was the first appliance manufacturer to be accepted as a partner and to factory label their appliances with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ENERGY STAR logo. The job of planning strategies to guide a whole company is called strategic (management) planning the managerial process of developing and maintaining a match between an organization's resources and its market opportunities (Crego, page 116). This is a top-management job. It includes planning not only for marketing, but also for production, finance, human resources, and other areas. On the other hand, company plans should be market-oriented. And the marketing plan often sets the tone and direction for the whole company. So strategy planning and marketing strategy planning could mean the same thing. In practice, there is a logical process that marketing follows. The marketing planning process consists of analyzing marketing opportunities, selecting target markets, designing marketing strategies, developing marketing programs, and managing the marketing effort (Kotler, page 27).
Changes in the external environment called for a new strategy. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was considering new regulations to requre that clothes washers use less water and energy. The U.S. uses three times as much water a day 1,300 gallons per person as the average European country. One reason is that front-loading clothes washers have long been standard in Europe. This is in part an economic issue. Front-loaders heat less water so less energy is used, and Europeans face steeper energy costs. There is also a cultural difference. North Americans are more convenience-oriented, but front-loaders make you stoop, they spill water on the floor, and you can't throw in a stray sock during the wash cycle (Maritz, 2006).
Marketing managers often commission formal marketing studies of specific problems and opportunities. Tools available include a market survey, product-preference test, sales forecast by region, and advertising evaluation. It is the job of the marketing researcher to produce insight into the customer's attitudes and buying behavior (Kotler, page 102). "Primary data can be collected in five main ways: through observation, focus groups, surveys, behavioral data, and experiments (Kotler, page 105)." Maytag's R&D people thought that they could use technology to improve the design of a front-loading washer to make it more convenient and to conserve water and energy as well. With inputs from marketers about broader needs in the clothes care product market they looked at needs beyond just cleaning. It appeared that a consumer-oriented design could improve basic benefits like easier loading and...
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