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The colgate-palmolive case involves the precision
toothbrush, which was entered into the market in 1993 by
The main objective of the Colgate Palmolive case study is to
analyse ‘PRECISION’
q Act of designing companys offering and image to occupy a
distinctive place in the mind of the target market.

q What the company is offering?

q How this offering helps in redesigning the image of company?

q Whether the new product is creating the customer focusssed value proposition?

q How it is similar & how it is different from a brand with which it competes and
which function as close substitutes?
qConsumers first purchased toothbrushes without much
knowledge or information concerning the product’s benefits.

qAs new product development increased, and consumers became

better informed about the benefits of toothbrushes, they began to
focus their interest not only on cavity prevention, but also on the
health of their gums, their oral hygiene, and their cosmetic

qBecause consumer interest and toothbrush purchases began to

increase, advertising and promotion also began to increase, which
lead to the development and addition of the super-premium
product class.

qThe superpremium product class was a “sub-category of

toothbrushes partly offset by downward pressure on average retail
prices in mass merchandiser channels,”. Consumers began to
purchase toothbrushes based on the specific benefits each
toothbrush and company had to offer.
qColgate-Palmolive referred to the toothbrush as a “technical
innovation, [because] researchers used infrared motion analysis to
track consumers’ brushing movements and consequent levels of
plaque removal”.

qBy studying consumers brushing techniques, and focusing on areas

of the mouth that had developed excessive amounts of plaque build-
up, such as in between the teeth and on the gum line, researchers
were able construct a newly designed toothbrush.

qThe research team tested and experimented with the toothbrush

for eighteen months by the usage of “dental professional focus
groups and product usage tests.” This led to the introduction stage
of the product life cycle, with the “launching” of the Precision
toothbrush to the oral health care market in 1993
Goods classification
qThe Precision toothbrush can be classified as either a
homogeneous or heterogeneous shopping product.

qSome consumers may see it as a homogenous product because

they see all toothbrushes as the same, and place their attention on
the lowest prices. Others may see the toothbrush as a
heterogeneous product because they see the need to “inspect for
quality and suitability”

qThe main design of the product concentrated on the bristles of the
toothbrush. The head of the Precision toothbrush included three
different lengths of bristles, each length having its own
responsibility. “The longer outer bristles cleaned around the gum
line, the long inner bristles cleaned between the teeth, and the
shorter bristles cleaned the teeth surface,”.

qBecause of the newly innovated bristles, the removal of plaque

increased by 35% when compared to other leading producers of
POSITIONING ----Niche/mainstream
 The position of the Precision toothbrush could be
niche or mainstream.

Niche marketing micro-marketing.

Mainstream or mass marketing

 The decision on where to place the new

toothbrush on retail shelves is another
important aspect of positioning. Colgate
Palmolive chose to place the toothbrush in
between one of their existing products and a
competitor’s product.
Income proforma for launching
 They should have positioned presicion initially
as –
 Niche product and then reposition it into
mainstream product once the maturation
stage of the first life cycle is reached.
ØA tool used in solving the marketing mix problem
companies face when launching a new product is a
perceptual map.

ØThis is a graphic representation of two or more

features against which similar products can be ranked.

ØWhen graphed, the resulting map displays areas to

which the product types cater, revealing both areas of
over population and areas of potential opportunity.

ØClusters of products exist when similar products

appeal to the same consumer market participants.

Ø In these areas, competition is intense, therefore, they

are not as attractive when positioning a new product.
ØAn optimal plan is to create a space within the
product market that is relatively free of rivals and can
enable a new product to develop and dominate.
ØUsing these evaluative criteria in relation to the
advantages and disadvantages of niche and mainstream
marketing, we believe that Colgate-Palmolive should
position the Precision toothbrush as a niche product.

ØThis would establish Precision as the leading

toothbrush on the market at a competitive price. It would
be a superior and distinctive oral care product.

ØFurther, we anticipate no significantly negative

issues will be encountered by initially marketing
Precision as a niche product and then moving it into the
mainstream market.
Elements of marketing strategy

qMarket selection
qProduct selection
qDistribution system
qAdvertising/market communication
The combination of these several factors , and
others, and the relative emphasis on each in a
marketing program is called the MARKETING MIX.
Colgate-Palmolive also had to develop budget
constraints and generate a marketing mix that
would maximize the sales and revenues of the
new product.
To reach a conclusion, the new toothbrush must be
analyzed on three product levels –
the core product,
the actual product,
and the augmented product
For visual recognition and conveying the message that
it protects the gums too along with teeth packaging
could be done in gum pinkish colour with white border.
A photograph of dentist recommending it could be
placed on the packet. To maximize on these cosmetic
suggestions, the new toothbrush should be offered with
a multitude of color stripes, full and compact heads,
and with sensitive, soft, and medium bristles
qAdvertising companies have access to audience
profiles through a wide variety of media products, such as
television, radio and print media. This is the fundamental
basis for successful niche marketing.
qA great advantage of offering any eligible product to a
niche market is that it allows for a concentrated, specific
advertising campaign, targeted to a specific demographic,
psychographic, behavioral or geographic segment through
whichever medium is most effective at reaching the
specific population.
qThis allows efficient use of advertising budgets.
Precision falls within the class of goods that could tender
itself as a niche product. Developed to be the best
toothbrush possible and placed in the super-premium
category, this toothbrush is inherently a niche product.

qNegotiating exclusive or selective

distribution agreements with vendors would be
prohibitively costly for both Colgate-Palmolive
and the vendor.

qInstead, Colgate-Palmolive should focus their

efforts on intensive distribution, maintaining
and increasing the strength they have in their
current shelf positioning, display models and
vendor relationships.
Although the $2.13 per unit cost may be high
relative to all toothbrushes, Precision is being
targeted towards a specific group of consumers
who have a demand for a superior oral care
product. Thus, relative to the super-premium
segment, Precision is actually the best purchase
available, as it offers superior technology and
improved oral health care for no additional cost.
The distribution strategy proposed for the
Precision toothbrush is through dentists,
plastic surgeons, drug stores, grocery
stores, large retail stores, and department
stores. , Colgate-Palmolive should focus their
efforts on intensive distribution, maintaining and
increasing the strength they have in their current
shelf positioning, display models and vendor
qThe communication objective for the new product becomes to
convince therapeutic and cosmetic brushers that they should
purchase and use Colgate Precision because Precision is designed
to be the best toothbrush for removing plaque and preventing
gum disease. .

qIt will be important to place certain message emphasis on the

prevention of gum disease, .

qCommercials should air at night during “prime-time”, the

time in which most people watch television, and during the day,
especially during soap operas. These are the time periods in which
more adults watch television.
qColgate could direct market the toothbrush by
sending special coupons in the mail to consumers, or
by offering rebates to consumers who purchase other
Colgate-Palmolive oral care products. These rebates
and coupons would act as an incentive to consumers
when it comes to purchasing or trying the new

qThese coupons and rebates could also be dispersed

through hard to eat food products

qThe toothbrush should be distributed through make-

up departments because most people who shop for
make up at large department stores are also concerned
with looking their best.
To ensure the success of Precision, Colgate-Palmolive should:

•Ensure the productdoes, and continues to, address the specific

therapeutic needs and gradually it should enter in mainstream market
and build a wide consumer base.

•PricePrecision at competitive levels within the super-premium

segment so as to offer more value than competitors, for an equivalent
cost; later on if it is successful in building wider consumer the prices
could be reduced.

•Leverage their existing intensive distribution channel relationships to

ensure that Precision receives the most effective placement

•And, invest industry-standard amounts of capital into the promotion of

the new toothbrushsince only through innovation they can differentiate
Hence Colgate-Palmolive is recommended
toposition the Precision toothbrush as a niche
market product during its introductory and
growth life cycle stages. Thereafter, during the
products’ maturity, Precision should be
repositioned to the mainstream market.
Thank you