Marketing is an incredibly important function for any company (McCarthy, Perreault, & Saphiro, 2002). Whether the company is a small, sole proprietorship or a large corporation like Unilever, proper marketing is what will set a company (and a product) apart and keep it fresh in the minds of consumers. In order to have good marketing, a company has to have a plan on which it can focus. That plan may need adjustment occasionally, but the most important thing is to get that plan started and moving forward. Once that has been done, a company can focus on getting the product to market and convincing people that they should buy it. In order to do that, the company must consider the 4 Ps - place, product, price, and promotion (Cateora & Graham, 2002). There are other issues that will also be addressed here, such as the time and target audience for the product. All of these issues are important when creating a marketing plan.
For this paper, the company will be Unilever and the product will be an anti-dandruff shampoo that is part of the Dove product line. Because Unilever is such a large company and because Dove is such a well-known brand name, it may be somewhat easier for the company to make strong sales, at least at first. However, the product also needs staying power, and if the product is not good or the marketing is not strong, that staying power may not be available. Even good products can be forgotten by consumers who have so many options from which to choose (Cateora & Graham, 2002). That is the basis of a marketing plan - to keep the product's information in front of consumers as much as possible in order to make sure that they keep buying those products (Cateora & Graham, 2002). Not all companies do that, but Unilever should not rely on its Dove brand name or rest on its laurels. If it wants to make sure this new anti-dandruff shampoo is a success, it has to have a marketing plan that will appeal to consumers.
Where will the product be sold? How available will it really be? If it is only sold at a single store - even a single chain retailer - it will be much more difficult for consumers to acquire it. They may not be interested in going out of their way to find the product, which can really hurt a company in the sales department (Pride & Ferrell, 2003). For Unilever to see success with this new product, they have to make it available, and they have to decide where it should be available. Products that are already on the shelves and that come from the same company are selling. Where are they selling? Do they do better at retailers? At drug stores? Somewhere else? Most likely, wherever other Dove products are sold is where Unilever will want to sell its new anti-dandruff shampoo. That way, people who are used to buying products from the company will be able to get everything in one place. Even stores that do not have other Dove products may be good places in which to sell this product, though, if those stores carry shampoos - and specifically if they carry anti-dandruff shampoos. The size of the Unilever company and the Dove offering means that there are many options.
Overall, place is not as relevant to Unilever as it would be to some other kinds of companies, mostly because there are so many stores that already carry the company's products. It will not be that difficult to make sure that they are carried at other stores. The more stores that carry them, the more likely they will be seen (and bought) by consumers, all other factors being equal. Unilever should focus on getting the new Dove anti-dandruff shampoo into as many stores as possible, of course, but only if those stores have track records of selling Dove products or of selling a high volume of shampoos. If the company does not have the shampoos available in the right place, consumers are not going to be able to find the shampoos and might not know about them or go out of their way to look for them.
Of course, where a product can be purchased is far from the only issue (Pride & Ferrell, 2003). It is also very important that the product is a good one. Companies that cannot provide a good product may get some initial sales, but they are not going to have repeat customers (Pride & Ferrell, 2003). Consumers will try a product, but they will not keep buying it if it does not work or they do not feel as though it is a good value for the money. Because of that, Unilever will have tested the product thoroughly and will have determined that it is a quality product that has much to offer to the consumer. Then, that has to be conveyed through marketing. Commercials on TV, on the radio, and through Internet advertising are all great ways to remind customers of a product and make sure that they see the value in what they are being asked to buy. Unilever is a large company, and Dove is a trusted name that has been around for some time. That is both good and bad. More people will trust the new anti-dandruff shampoo because it carries the Dove name, but people may also stop buying the entire Dove product line if they have a bad experience with the shampoo - so it is a double-edged sword.
When a product is very good and many people like it, it has a chance to take the market by storm and become wildly popular (Pride & Ferrell, 2003). Of course, the type of product that is being offered also affects that. Not too many people go crazy over anti-dandruff shampoo and tell all of their friends about it, because that would require them to admit that they have dandruff. Still, if the product is good people will talk about it (Pride & Ferrell, 2003). More importantly, they will keep buying it - even if something else is offered to them for less money or in a prettier package. Unilever has to keep in mind that the product is one of the vital 4 Ps, and the company needs to use the Dove brand name to remind people of the quality of the product they will be getting with this new, anti-dandruff shampoo.
When the economy is down and people are struggling, the price of a product matters more than ever (Sommers & Barnes, 2001). Of course, even when the economy is booming there are people who do not have a lot of money, and people who are comfortable with their income but who choose to be frugal because they do not want to overspend and get themselves into trouble. Unilever has to be aware of the fact that people care deeply about the price of much of what they buy - and that includes their anti-dandruff shampoo. Carrying the Dove name helps, but it is not an open invitation to charge as much as possible. Research into the current market when it comes to what is being charged for other anti-dandruff shampoos is very necessary. If Unilever plans to charge more than the average for its Dove anti-dandruff shampoo, there needs to be a reason for that and consumers need to be able to accept that reason. If the company thinks the reason is good but consumers do not, there will not be many sales and Unilever will have spent a lot of money to launch a product that will not perform well. That could cost the company a great deal of money and waste a lot of time.
The market sets the price when it comes to just about any retail good (McCarthy, Perreault, & Saphiro, 2002). Unilever must remember that the consumers who will buy the anti-dandruff shampoo may like and want the Dove name, but they also only have so much money that they can spend. If all of the other anti-dandruff shampoos on the market are less expensive than Dove, it is likely that those lower-priced options will be the ones that consumers buy. There will be some people who will spend more - especially if the product is exceptional - but those people are few and far between. To do well, Unilever needs to capture a large portion of the market. That will not be accomplished with an anti-dandruff shampoo that is grossly overpriced because consumers will not think that it offers a good value for the money.
How will the company market this product? It has to be promoted, or people will not know it exists. Many people have gone to the store and spotted a new product on the shelves. It leaves them wondering how…