As of 2009, Procter & Gamble delivered products under 300 brands to nearly 5 billion consumers in more than 180 countries around the world. P&G employed about 138,000 employees in approximately 80 countries worldwide. Its net sales amounted to $83.5 billion in 2008. The company began operations in the United States in 1837 and has continued to expand its global operations. The stated purpose of the company is to “provide products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers
Over time, P&G~as proven to be an innovator in creating brands and understanding consumers by making extensive use of marketing research. Building brands has been a cornerstone of P&G’s success. The marketers at P&G use marketing research to determine a brand’s equity and then make sure everyone understands it, because it drives every decision made about the brand. P&G always thinks about the consumer and why a particular product is relevant to the consumer. P&G always asks “What is in this for the consumer?” This strategy has served the company well. It believes in catering to the consumer. With that in mind, P&G has spent a tremendous amount of effort, innovation, and money on marketing research
A focus group talking about a product is simply not enough; the marketers at P&G dig deeper to try to really understand consumer behaviors. Leonara Polonsky, the marketing director at P&G, describes the intensity with which P&G pursues its marketing research efforts. Some of these efforts include shopping with consumers and spending several hours in consumers’ homes. In fact, Polonsky describes her own experience at spending time at consumers’ homes in Caracas, making coffee with them and trying to understand how these consumers think about coffee. This marketing research initiative is an innovative approach that puts the consumer at the center of everything P&G does. P&G now thinks much more holistically about the consumer’s entire experience related to its brands, and so it pays much more attention, for example, to the in-store experience.
P8tG’s basic marketing principles have not changed, but its methods of targeting and identifying consumers have changed to meet the increasingly complicated consumer • base. In the early days, P&G would mass market through television and other sources, because this was the most effective strategy at the time. P&G has changed its key strategy from mass marketing to consumer targeting. According to Jim Stengel, P&G’s Global Marketing Director, targeting is the future of brand marketing and brand building, because the better a company understands its market the better its marketing will be.
Sometimes new-product plans result from Internet marketing research. P&G has discovered that Internet research offers a more representative feel for consumer reactions, and P&G is leveraging the Internet to understand consumers. This was the case when P&G decided to launch Crest White Strips not on television, but qn the Internet. The Crest White Strips product launch was one of the most successful product launches in history.
The Pampers brand also presents an example of understanding brand equity; the brand has recently been redefined from one about absorption to one about baby development. Focus groups and surveys revealed that parents are very emotionally involved in the development of their babies. This simple
but deep change from a functional equity to a broad.emotional one has resulted in a whole different look for Pampers diapers, a whole different look in the advertising, a different media plan, and a totally new product plan. . P&G is always conducting marketing research to discover new ways to reach out to consumers, sometimes by developing new products and introducing new product categories. P&G invented disposable diapers, home dry-cleaning, and the very popular cleaning tool the Swifter, which was designed after extensive marketing research. P&G marketing has been innovative and pioneering over the years, and one would expect the same from it in the future