Stainmaster - Case Analysis

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Introduction and Problem
According the Wallstreet journal, the purchase of carpet is one of the most expensive purchases that people make in their lifetime, yet this product as remained mostly undermarketed with only 5 million dollars spent on customer advertising for 15 billon dollars in revenue for the industry.

In 1988 the industry saw a major change with the introduction of Du Pont’s Stainmaster carpeting, which allowed it to gain a strong foothold and marketing advantage within the industry. But there are still some issues that the company needs to address; mainly 1) the best use for its brands 2) the impact of the competition and 3) how Stainmaster should be positioned versus the rest of the market. Indeed, faced with the increasing complain of mills and retailers about the margins on its products, Du Pont needs to determine to which extent its product should be positioned as premium products.

This analysis will allow to us to reach our recommendation that Du pont should maintain its premium positioning for its product and make better use of its distribution channels to reflect that positioning by moving away from small retailers and the “warehouse effect” that is currently present at most retail points. The Four C’s

Company
Du Pont is an American chemical company founded in 1802 as a gunpowder mill. Today it is one of the world’s largest chemical company and ranked 66th on Fortune’s 500 list. Stainmaster, which was introduced by Du Pont in 1986 and by the end of that year, was far surpassing its competitors in terms of brand awareness with a brand awareness of 79%. With a 5-year guaranteed warranty, Stainmaster products were also of very high quality, which was recognized through various awards such as “best new product”, awarded by Fortune’s magazine in 1987. The brand also benefited from a high commitment to advertisement and promotion from the company with TV ads and radio spots representing more than 65,45% of cumulative advertising expenditures. In addition a good use was made of merchandising tools with “more merchandising tools than dealers dreamed possible”. Stainmaster was also a very highly innovative product not only through its revolutionary properties but also through its design, products of the brand represented 78% of new style carpets in the industry making them modern and fashionable goods Competition

The competition has been quick to respond to Du Pont’s new brand of products by developing and advertising their own. Due to the fact that Du Pont was unable to put the product under patent protection Stainmaster’s announcement was followed almost immediately by the announcement of Stain-resistant Anso V by Allied Signal and water dated stain resistant nylon fiber by Monsanto. Other competitors such as BASF and Amoco were also quick to enter the market with stain resistant products of their own. The biggest competition in terms of similar product seems to be coming from Monsanto, which has a very similar positioning with products trailing closing behind in terms of innovation.

Another strong point of competition that Stainmaster has to contend with is the growing expenditures of homes on electronics, why would need to replace the carpet if all the eyes are fixed on the latest plasma screen hung on your wall? Customer

Studies have shown that stain resistance is one of the most important aspect that customers are looking for when shopping for carpet. Therefore, the innovation present in the Stainmaster brand of products makes it especially attractive to customers by addressing one of their primary needs.

In respect to the shopping experience, customers show a clear preference to a “hands on approach” preferring to feel and see the product. Most of them are also disappointed/bored by the warehouse look of most of the retailers of carpets. Channel

Stainmaster carpets are sold in all type of retailers from big chains to small retailers, but with about 44% of its products being...
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