Clinique is one of the world's leading brands in skincare, fragrances, cosmetics, and toiletries products. It was introduced by Estee Lauder Corporation in 1968. Clinique is a business unit that represents all the beauty and cosmetics products which Estee Lauder Corporation owns and operates. The company is headquartered in New York, United States of America and sells its Clinique products in more than 80 countries of the world. Clinique is recognized as a premium quality brand which offers extensive range of cosmetics products manufactured according to individual needs of customers from all age groups (Clinique). The following sections present a marketing plan for Clinique brand which may be helpful in analyzing the selling, marketing, and promotional activities of the company and the business environment in which it operates.
A) Current Market Situation:
The beauty and cosmetics industry of the world consists of large number of small and large scale companies which offer different qualities of products at varying prices. In the presence of a strong competition in the local and Global market, Clinique has segmented its target market according to certain purchase decision parameters (Majumdar, 189). The first and the foremost purchase decision factor is the quality of its products. Skincare industry is one of those industries where low quality producers cannot survive for long. Keeping in view the customers' preferences and increasing individual consciousness towards beautiful and pure skin, Clinique has always focused on manufacturing the highest quality products after extensive Research and development. The second purchase decision factor is the price of Clinique products. Customers always look for a product that best meets their needs at the most reasonable price. Other factors include brand perception, easily availability of Clinique products, and perceived usefulness of a particular product. On the basis of these factors, Clinique has segmented its target market on the basis of income level, life style, and skin type (or individual requirements) of the customers. It also helps in developing the value proposition for customers towards its products (Barnes, Blake, & Pinder, 23).
The purchase decision of the customer starts with an initial screening of all the available alternatives in the market. The customer generally looks at the price and ingredients of the products in order to ensure that he or she is spending a fair price for a product that will show the desired results. The brand perception also affects this purchase decision when the customer has to choose among different top quality brands (Pride & Ferrell, 189). Once the customer chooses the brand, his experience with that product starts. It either leads to a positive image of the brand in his mind or makes him completely dissatisfied with his purchase decision (Lamb, Hair, & McDaniel, 189).
2) Product Review:
Clinique products are among the high-end brands currently available in the market. They are slightly cheaper than the other brands but promise the same high level of satisfaction to their consumers. Clinique products give a three-stage experience to their users; Cleanse, Exfoliate, and Moisturize. These steps are basically three functional levels for each Clinique product. For the first level, Clinique has three types of soaps; Extra-mild soap for extremely dry skin, Mild soap for normal skin and extra-strength soap for very oily skin. The second level clarifies the skin. Clinique offers different types of clarifying lotions according to the skin type of the customers. The third level moisturizes the skin with the Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (DDML). These three levels serve as the basis for all Clinique products (Clinique).
The product life cycle at Clinique starts with an introduction stage in which a new product is manufactured and presented to the target customers. Clinique expends a huge amount on its marketing and promotional activities. The branding strategy of Clinique is to offer every new product with a totally new name and design, additional features, and create its own target market. After some period, the product enters into growing stage where it rapidly increases the number of customers and the volume of sales for the company. The third stage is maturity stage where the product achieves the maximum number of customers. The final stage is declining stage which Clinique products have never experienced due to their good brand perception and acceptability among their customers.
3) Competitive Review:
The main competitors of Clinique are Aveda, Lancome, Nivea, Olay, Dove, Neutrogena, and L'Oreal Paris that are selling the same highest quality skincare, makeup, and beauty products at a competitive price. Although Clinique brand is comparatively cheaper than Aveda, Lancome, and some other brands, but it has failed to attract customers with its low pricing strategy. The biggest share in the market is taken by Lancome which sells its products in all those markets where Clinique brand is present (Saxena, 762). The strategic sweet spot of the Clinique brand largely depends upon the level of acceptability of its different products. Customers take this brand as one of the premium brands available in the market whereas the company has strategized to lower its price while maintaining the same level of quality. This strategy has greatly helped the company in strengthening its sweet spot. That is, the low price strategy will become a core competency of the company which will be difficult to achieve by the competitors. The Clinique products are placed on the high and medium shelves in the company-owned retail stores whereas on the lower and middle shelves in private retail outlets and super markets. Clinique skincare and cosmetics products are available in all the major supermarkets of towns and big cities of every country where Clinique has penetrated as a part of its international expansion strategy.
4) Distribution Review:
The current supply chain members for the Clinique product line of the company consist of raw material suppliers, business development agencies, private retailers, and distributors from the local and international markets. The raw material suppliers are considered as the most important supply chain member as they provide the highest quality ingredients and chemicals which are used in the manufacturing processes (Monczka, 243). The distributors and business development firms are responsible to promote the Clinique products to the potential markets. The value-delivery network of the company constitutes all the key members of the supply chain as well as the sales staff working at the Clinique's retail outlets around the Globe. They have committed to provide the best customer services along with the highest quality of Clinique products. Clinique believes that the 'Value' for a customer's money can only be delivered if he or she is satisfied with his purchase decision and recommends that product to others (Pride & Ferrell, 190). Currently, Clinique distributes its products in more than 80 countries of the world at supermarkets, company-owned outlets, and private large and medium scale retail outlets (Clinique).
B) SWOT Analysis for Clinique:
The Micro Environment:
1. Internal Factors:
The biggest strength for Clinique is its brand perception among its target customers. Clinique products are manufactured under the supervision of highly qualified dermatologists and researchers. Each product passes through an allergy and skin test before final approval for sales to the general public. Clinique manufactures its products by keeping in view the individual needs, skin types, and seasonal factors which can impact their acceptability and effectiveness. Clinique always focuses on the quality of its products. Therefore, it expends a huge amount on the Research and Development section so that its customers buy the best and the most reliable cosmetics products from the market. Moreover, every strategic decision for this product line is backed by sound financial strength of the Estee Lauder Group (Clinique).
The company seldom sells its products at discounted prices which do not help in attracting the potential market segment towards these products. The company has to bear high R&D, manufacturing, operational, and marketing costs which make its products more expensive than their competitor products. The entire Clinique product line mainly targets the younger female generation which means the company gives little focus on targeting the older generation and male gender.
2. External Factors:
An attractive opportunity for Clinique is to target a larger market segment by manufacturing more skin care products for older age group and male gender. It can use social media networking sites and other online platforms to promote its products at the lowest costs. The company can also expand its target segment by manufacturing its Clinique products for all the income groups of the society rather than for the upper and upper-middle classes. Moreover, Clinique products can better penetrate in new markets if they are offered with a differentiation strategy in their quality, features, packaging, and usefulness.
Competitors are always the biggest threat for a brand. Clinique sells its products in numerous markets around the Globe where it has to compete with a number of well-known multinational cosmetics and skincare brands. These brands give a stiff competition to Clinique in terms of pricing and quality of…