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Colgate Palmolive Promotion Strategy

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Colgate-Palmolive Case Study-Promotion Strategy."

Promotional strategy objectives vary among organizations. Some use promotion to expand their markets, others to hold their current positions, still others choose to present a corporate viewpoint on a public issue. Promotional strategies can also be used to reach selected markets. Most sources identify the specific promotional objectives or goals of providing information, differentiating the product, increasing sales, stabilizing sales, and accentuating the product's value. Colgate's products are sold to millions of people worldwide. Their Marketing Team develops and implements marketing plans that are geared to "establish and maintain current and long-range vision for the brands and to increase sales, margin and profitability for the brand

Marketers in general often develop a promotional strategy to differentiate their goods or services from those of competitors. To accomplish this, they attempt to occupy a "position" in the market that appeals to their target customers. Promotions that apply the concept of positioning communicate to consumers meaningful distinctions about the attributes, price, quality, or usage of a good or service. After successful implementation of/for market position, Colgate-Palmolive then works progressively at Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). IMC is a simple concept that ensures all forms of communications and messages are carefully linked together. At its most basic level, IMC, means integrating all the promotional tools, so that they work together in harmony. Those tools are easily dispersed among six categories; Advertising, Sales Promotion, Event & Experience, Public Relations & Publicity, Personal Selling, and Direct Marketing.


Advertising is done to promote new products, remind consumers of existing products, and also promote the image of the company at hand. Colgate-Palmolive is generally associated with toothpaste and soap however; it has a broad portfolio which includes pet-food, deodorants, fabric softeners, household cleaners and detergents. Brands include Ajax, Speed Stick, Mennen and Hill's Science Diet, alongside the two products that make up the company's name. "Colgate" is the world's #1 toothpaste and toothbrush brand; "Palmolive" soap is the third largest soap brand, now covering a growing range of hair-care products as well as soaps. Colgate-Palmolive is also truly international, deriving more than 75% of its sales outside the US. In fact its biggest region is not in the domestic market but Latin America. Advertising Age estimated global measured advertising expenditure of $887m in 2009, making Colgate the world's #38 advertisers. (

On a side note the iconic hand on the Palmolive dishwashing soap label belongs to one Elizabeth Barbour. The image is a highly illustrated photograph taken in 1985 when the Colgate-Palmolive Company updated the image and hired Barbour who was a hand model with the Ford Agency in New York City.

Sales and Promotion

Sales promotion is a variety of short-term incentives to encourage trial or purchase of a product/service. A good example of Colgate's sales promotion strategy is the launch of Colgate fresh energy ice blue gel (Colgate India). They discounted the product lowering the overall price of each individual pack. The rice discounts are communicated through POP advertising, window displays, sales people, and advertising in newspapers, magazines and TV ads. To determining the quantum of discount was contingent on the consumer's price perceptions; which may be difficult to decide. However, such promotions work very well in gaining the attention of consumers, particularly at the point of purchase among similar brands and may also encourage unplanned or impulse buying.

Events & Experience

Although there are many examples of Colgate's experience I found the words of Mr. Mark Reuben to be the most insightful. "We are delighted that Colgate's strong performance continued in 2006, our 200th year. All of the Company's fundamentals are strong and getting stronger. Global sales rose 7.5% to an all-time record level and global unit volume from continuing businesses grew 7.0% with every operating division contributing to the strong volume gains. Advertising spending supporting the Company's brands rose 11% to an all-time record level on top of double-digit growth in 2005, contributing to widespread market share gains in all of our core categories" (Rueben 2006). In today's events however, the company does continue to be impacted by currency devaluation in Venezuela, compounded by the fact that the country's economy remains volatile, a situation that is likely to marginally impact share dividends for the full year. On a regional basis, North America sales represented 20 per cent of the group revenues and rose by 4.5 per cent, driven by sales of new product launches including Colgate Triple Action, ProClinical and Max White toothpaste. In Latin America sales represented 28 per cent of total revenues and grew by 0.5 per cent, a figure that was significantly impacted by the Venezuela market. (Pitman 2010) Combined this all has an effect on what the proper promotional strategy should be employed for Colgate's world and domestic sales.

Public Relations & Publicity

Public relations and publicity is a variety of programs designed to promote or protect a company's image/individual products. Colgate currently employs a vast variety of public outreach that increases the promotional impact of the corporation. One of these programs is Colgate's Bright Smiles, Bright Future program, for children who can't afford dental care. Another great example of public relations and associated publicity would be the "Oral Health Month" in India. In partnership with the Indian Dental Association (IDA), the Company conducted its annual "Oral Health Month" during October 2005 with an intensive month-long oral health awareness campaign to promote the importance of good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups. Dental checkups and oral health care education by almost 3,600 dentists were affected in 50 cities and in over 2000 schools covering 1 million children.

Personal Selling

Personal selling is a face-to-face interaction with one or more prospective purchasers for the purpose of making presentations, answering questions, and procuring orders. Colgate has introduced villagers in India to the concept of brushing teeth by rolling into villages with video vans that show half-hour infomercials on the benefits of



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