The standard product marketing mix includes four parts: product, placement, price and promotion. The right balance of all four parts of the marketing mix ensures that the marketing plan for any one product will be productive and enduring. Philip Morris USA’s marketing mix for their Marlboro brand tobacco products is an excellent example of how a perfectly implemented marketing mix can effectively create demand for a product, and help it to endure the test of changing social influences. Although the marketing mix for this product line is not perfect, it is one of the better marketing mixes in existence.
This paper will analyze the Marlboro brand, placement of the products, pricing of the products, and promotion techniques as implemented by Philip Morris USA in relation to their Marlboro product line. Marlboro brand cigarettes were developed by Philip Morris USA in 1902. By 1983, the company had grown to become the largest tobacco company in the country. The year 2002 marked the one hundred year anniversary of the company. (Wikipedia, 2008, Para. 1) The Marlboro brand is available at most convenience stores, and requires relatively little effort to obtain. Marlboro product items are considered to be a premium product within the smoking community. Most Marlboro product users remain relatively loyal to the brand. Other, more value-minded, consumers prefer to buy the cheaper brands. Because of this mix of consumer attitudes, the product is considered to be both a convenience and shopping product. The Marlboro line has great product depth. Product items within the line offer different tastes and potencies in order to satisfy a number of different consumer tastes. Marlboro reds have a more robust flavour. They are the stronger of the product items within the line. The more preferred product item is the Marlboro lights, which are a medium flavoured brand item. The Marlboro ultra lights appeal to consumers who prefer a lighter tobacco taste. The basic positioning of Marlboro is as a high quality brand of cigarette that satisfies both male and female adult (age 18 and older) tobacco user's needs. Marlboro is positioned as a conservative and slightly more distinctive brand. Originally, in 1924, the brand targeted women with the slogan “Mild as May”. During World War II the brand faltered and was temporarily removed from the market, but returned soon after. In answer to the first study linking smoking to cancer in the fifties, Philip Morris added a filter to their cigarettes. (Wikipedia, 2008, Para. 1-3) The Marlboro brand re-emerged with an improved product, new target market (namely men), and quickly increased market shares. In the early 1960’s, the “Marlboro Country” campaign was born. This campaign is what the Marlboro brand is famous for (Wikipedia, 2008). The ads depicted a rough and tough range cowboy smoking the Marlboro brand. Philip Morris used to primarily target adult male smokers with its famed "Marlboro Man", who gave the product a more masculine feel. Today, the target market includes both male and female brand-loyal adult tobacco users (age 18 and older) who like the Marlboro brand name enough to pay a slightly higher price for it. A secondary target would be adult smokers (18 years and older) who purchase tobacco products based on price and promotion. Marlboro is a more expensive brand, but is not the highest priced brand. Philip Morris USA promotions sometimes cause it to become
a mid-priced product line compared to other brands.
These secondary target smokers are likely to choose Marlboro if a
promotion is available that allows the price of a Marlboro brand
product item to be seen as a value over other brands.
Overall, Marlboro is positioned so that the target market sees
the brand as a higher quality brand name tobacco product. Some
brand-loyal consumers within the target market of adult smokers
are willing to pay regular price for a Marlboro line product item.
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