Term Paper: Promotion Colgate Kitchen Entrees

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Promotion

Colgate Kitchen Entrees was listed as one of the biggest product flops of all-time (Daily Finance, 2013). The product was launched in 1982, and enjoyed no success at all. The product was frozen food, and the idea behind it was that there was synergy between the eating food and brushing teeth. The synergy made no sense to consumers, and Colgate Kitchen Entrees was quickly dropped (MSN, 2012). This essay will examine the promotional strategy for this product and seek to make recommendations as to what might have been done to have a successful launch. It is worth bearing in mind that the product dimension will not be discussed much. Frozen foods had more cachet in 1982 than they do today, when that sort of eating is relegated to college students and old people who have not figured out that food should taste good. Chances are pretty good that the product was terrible, and maybe even so bad that the market then would not accept it.. However, few people were even willing to try the product, which means that the promotion was a problem, so that will be a focal point of the discussion here. Further, it appears that a major problem was not in the nuts and bolts of the promotional campaign but at the macro level -- the association between the Colgate brand and dinner simply did not work for people (Haig, 2003). All the genius promotional strategy in the world is of no help when the macro-level logic is that faulty.

Promotion Plan

There are several different promotional objectives that will need to serve as the basis for this plan. The objectives should be coherent, measurable and realistic, and all such objectives should also include a timetable (McFarlin, 2013). For this promotional plan, there are two major objectives. The two major objectives are to create brand awareness and to induce brand switching. It is assumed that the company has chosen a new brand for this product's relaunch. The first objective of creating brand awareness is necessary because the brand is new. This objective can be measured using surveys at multiple periods in time -- so an objective can be to reach 20% brand awareness among members of the target market within 3 months of launch, for example. This is easy to operationalize, easy to measure and is a good proxy for evaluating the effectiveness of the promotional plan with respect to brand awareness.

The second objective of the strategy is to induce switching. This is important because the product is a me-too product that is entering a mature market. There is no genuine room for a new competitor, so it needs to succeed by stealing market share from the existing players. Thus, the promotional plan needs to convey a message to the consumers that there are specific benefits to switching, be these benefits price, quality or whatever. There are a couple of different ways to measure the promotional plan with respect to switching. The easiest one is market share, since clearly any new share the product gains is done through switching. New sales can be used as a proxy in a mature market, because any new sales were preexisting in the market. In a growing market, new sales does not imply switching. A good example of that comes from Blackberry, which saw its sales grow through 2009-10 despite the fact that it was losing market share badly. New sales growth was not through switching but because the market was getting bigger.

Another way of measuring switching is to examine customer attitudes. Say for example with this product the objective is to market it as low price, or good value. Surveys can be used to measure consumer perceptions of these traits. This can help the company to understand not just how much switching is going on, but from whom the switching is being done, and why. Such surveys provide substantial insight into the outcomes of the switching strategy at the micro level.

The strategy is being undertaken because this is a new product that must both establish brand awareness and win customers in a mature market. The strategy must not only expose the brand to consumers but must also seek to convey specific traits about the brand that will induce switching, and build a specific brand image and positioning that will help the product succeed. The strategy has to be pull. The product itself does not appear to be especially compelling, so pushing it on consumers is not going to resonate. There is too much competition in the grocery aisle and very low switching costs, which makes a push strategy less likely to succeed than a pull strategy (Riley, 2012). A pull strategy requires "high spending on advertising and consumer promotion to build up consumer demand for a product" (Riley, 2012). The strategy will need to determine the product attributes that are most likely to resonate with consumers and pull the consumers in by highlighting these attributes, vis-a-vis those of similar competitors.

The total promotional budget will be quite large, for three reasons. First, there needs to be a large budget for a strategy like this, especially in the grocery business (Riley, 2012). Second, Colgate can afford it -- budget should not be seriously constrained here. Third, high spending on advertising and promotion is pretty much business as usual for Colgate Palmolive. The company is unlikely to deviate from its normal strategies for this product launch. So the budget might be, say, $10 million or $20 million in today's dollars. This is enough to produce a couple of television spots, saturate the airwaves, and engage in a magazine promotion and maybe some sponsorships as well. Plus, some of the budget will need to go to channel partners, as there are shelving fees to consider if the company wants to distribute through the nation's leading grocery chains. A marketing budget for a grocery product must include shelving fees because they are critical to the distribution and they are very expensive (Fields & Fulmer, 2000). The budget should probably be closer to the $20 million, if Colgate is serious about this launch.

The best budgeting technique is to prioritize the media and then ensure that enough funds get to that media. From there, the company can work done through its priorities, funding each one in turn. It is important that the major priorities are funded first, and then if the budget limit is reached before all strategies are funded the company can make a decision about whether or not to supply additional funding for the remaining tactics and strategies. In this case, the marketing organization and the shelving fees are likely going to chew up $6-8 million. Television is going to cost another $5-10 million. Print will another $1-2 million and then there are other media to consider such as online.

The techniques used to measure the effectiveness of the plan have been outlined earlier, and will focus on the use of market metrics (sales, market share) and surveys to gauge customer perceptions and awareness with respect to the new brand. Internal methods are not as effective as actually getting to talk to customers; since Colgate can afford interviews it should make use of this valuable research technique.

2. Develop the Advertisement

If this is 1982, the target market is housewives. Though this is a declining demographic in society, the product is a little bit anachronistic and so there is good fit there. They are white, middle-class and poor, and they are seeking convenience because in many cases they are now working outside the home but society still has 1950s gender roles that mean the woman is still expected to cook dinner. This trend contributed to the rise of such convenience foods, and now that microwaves are becoming cheaper there is considerable opportunity in this market simply by playing to this long-established trend. These consumer is shopping weekly, has 2.3 kids -- I jest -- and lives in the suburbs. This consumer can best be described as "middle America." They are interested in convenience foods to save time, and usually work with a household budget to appreciate value. This target market still values their own cooking abilities, but takes a pragmatic approach to food preparation, especially midweek.

Reaching this market means using media that this market prefers. The Internet has not yet been invented, ads on webpages full of cat pictures is not yet an option. This market is typically interested in women's magazines, news programs on television and is taking an interest in talk shows as well. There is some overlap with the soap opera audience though the latter usually does not work and our target audience does. The emphasis on television and print reflects the media most consumed by this target audience.

The ad will specifically try to meet the two major promotional objectives. With any new brand, creating awareness is important. Likewise, ensuring that the consumer associates specific traits with the brand is critical to the long-run… [END OF PREVIEW]

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