The term marketing refers to identification and anticipation of consumer needs and wants and then satisfying them in a profitable manner. With the increase in globalization and consumer knowledge, marketing has evolved to become a comprehensive field with rapidly changing dynamics and is a key contributor in the success and failure of any business.
The way a marketing strategy of any product is designed depends greatly on whether the commodity is market oriented or product oriented. Detergent falls in the category of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) which means it is a highly market oriented product and the commodity operates in a market where consumers have more than adequate knowledge about the product (Kotler & Keller, 2008). Being a highly competitive market, detergent companies have to ensure that their marketing strategy is aggressive enough to promote a strong brand image and generate a strong brand loyalty in order to maintain their market share. This paper aims at evaluating the marketing strategy of Tide.
Product Description and Situation Analysis
Tide is a product that is a part of the diverse and larger product line of Procter and Gamble. Within itself Tide offers a large variety of products including dry cleaning products and various stain solution products in different types of packaging to suit consumer ease. Tide's main competitors include OMO, Surf Excel, and Ariel, and in terms of parent company, Uni lever poses the toughest competition.
The primary target market of Tide includes female population of mainly Caucasian age groups that are of ages 35 and above. However, a small number of college going students also use the product for laundry purposes but they do not represent the major market segment. Most of the Target market comes from a middle income group and are not highly educated. The demographics shows that the target market usually does the laundary personally as affording a maid, servant or outdoor laundry or dry clean services is not possible for this target group. The marketing strategy for this kind of target market, that can easily move over to a substitute product on grounds of affordability and quality, has to be highly aggressive and must be focused on generating repeated purchase decisions.
Being a business that deals in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods industry, Tide enjoys an edge of having a vast target market that can easily be segmented into various market segments. Apart from that this type of business also has a scope of a lot of innovation and diversification ad extension strategies. Being a part of a conglomerate giant like Procter & Gamble allows the organization a huge marketing budget unlike many small scale competitors. It can also enable the firm to earn economies of scale which allows a margin of pricing the product lower than the competitor. Having said that, the direct competition that Tide faces comes from products owned by rival conglomerates such as Unilever who enjoy more or less the same benefits. The overall marketing strategy of Tide aims at generating a strong brand loyalty among the consumers and to promote Tide as a premium quality product that can give unmatched results when it comes to stain removal. Tide's marketing strategy also promotes the message that Tide cares for its consumers and therefore the product is made as a skin friendly one that does not negative affect the skin of its users (Czinkota, 2007). This message is specifically added because many women that use hand washing are conscious of losing the beauty of their hands. Aggressive brand positioning is therefore an important part of marketing strategy for Tide. The marketing mix for Tide is discussed under the following sections.
Tide Inc. deals with detergent industry and is a fast moving consumer good, with a low shelf life. The product has a variety of sub-product line available for consumers suiting their needs and convenience. Since level of competition is high in the market, Tide Inc. will have to show a high degree of innovation in their product line. It will have to come up with newer ideas that are not yet provided by other businesses. Besides conventional detergent liquids, Tide can include washing soaps, washing powder, cloth softeners and starch to add to its product line (Silk, 2006). This will also help in expanding the target market. Tide can also launch professional dry clean and laundry products in order to add a B2B customer segment to its target market. This will help Tide to increase its revenues by a considerable amount.
Since the detergent market is highly competitive, and the current economic crunch has also forced the organizations to tighten their costs on various departments and cut down their budgets. At the same time customers have cut down their consumption expenditures and they prefer products that are easy on their pockets. For a major proportion of target market, the purchasing power of the consumer dominates the willingness factor when making a purchase decision. Doing so will force the consumers to move towards a cheaper and less costly substitute product (Silk, 2006). Tide can however consider bringing in more cost efficiency and increase their revenues by increasing quantity demanded at lower prices. Low prices combined with volume-based production and sales will help increasing revenues and earning increasing returns of scale which will lower average costs and will allow the firm to enjoy greater profit margins.
Tide is aggressively promoted through satellite TV channels and female oriented magazines with large viewership. The main marketing strategy remains above the line promotional methods primarily, television, where commercials are aired between prime time shows that have high female viewership.
Another best way to promote the Tide. Inc. products are by ensuring that the firm's official website appears in top search results of top search engines such as Google. This can be done by ensuring that the website's content is written using an excellent SEO language. The firm can also use social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Tide uses shorter distribution channels and increases its dependency on P&G's in house logistic system. The little presence of middle men helps Tide to cut down on its costs. However, in large urban centers Tide is available in all kind of shopping places ranging from small scale street corner shops, to small grocery stores, to petrol stations and large departmental stores, super markets and hyper markets (Czinkota, 2007). This forces the company to include a wholesaler in its distribution channels who has relations with the retailers and can help market the product in a highly competitive urban market effectively.
With the increase in globalization and the increase in the degree to which freedom of expression is enjoyed in most parts of the world, particularly in the west, the media has become a very strong force. Media, both electronic and print has become an integral part of almost everybody's life in one way or the other, regardless of one's age, gender, cast, race, or socio economic background. On the parallel track, globalization has also triggered stiff competition in the corporate world, especially among the companies that deal in consumer oriented products. Consumers today have a greater choice and much more knowledge and they tend to make a well informed buying decision. For this reason, the success of any organization that deals in a business to consumer sector is highly dependent on its marketing strategy and advertising in particular, even if other components of marketing mix are stronger. Advertising takes up a more significant role in circumstances where substitutes exist for a product and buying decisions of customers are triggered by creating brand image. Advertising plays a vital role in creation of that brand image.
Since media today is a key channel of the spread of information among the masses, it is also a key medium through which advertisements are relayed. These advertisements can be both informative and persuasive. The ultimate goal behind any advertising campaign is to trigger a certain action in the viewer. Having said that, it must be noted that media today, in itself is an industry and from the perspective of a media oriented organization, whether print or electronic, advertising operates in both Business to Business (B2B) as well as Business to Consumer (B2C) climate. The media company acts as a communication channel between the buyer and the seller and in return of those service charges a price from the seller. This price becomes the part of a firm's costs and therefore calls for an effective media planning and buying overview before deciding on launching the advertising campaign (Silk, 2006). This is because a wrong type of advertisement, relayed via the wrong medium, communicating the wrong message, at the wrong time, or to the wrong target audience, or all of these at the same time, may result in all advertising expenditure going down the drain. It must be noted that advertising costs are usually high; especially for a consumer oriented product and companies invest that amount of…