Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, has an impressive marketing innovation track record with razors.
Besides the technology commitment and investment, the number one strategic highlight for me is that first Gillette and now P&G has not been afraid to compete against itself and to cannibalize, if necessary, existing products for higher priced/higher margin sales.
Since the 1971 launch of the two-bladed Trac II, Gillette/P&G have rolled-out continuous innovation with the Atra, Sensor, Mach3 and Fusion product families. Each of these brands has also had a follow-up series of sub-branded product upgrades. Although they work for the same company, P&G’s razor marketers are not afraid of some in-house competition.
Gillette’s newest tv advertising caught my eye (well targeted, by the way, during the ACC Tournament basketball championship), which promotes its top-of-the-line Fusion ProGlide at the expense of its older Mach3 Turbo. Both Fusion and Mach3 are in P&G’s billion-dollar brand club.
There are also two other versions: one pitting Fusion ProGlide against its younger brother Fusion; and one to get disposable users to upgrade, which is an expensive up-sell proposition.
FYI: Read here about this week’s decision by the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Gillette and Schick advertising.
Headline For Marketers
Here are three lessons for marketers of all stripes:
- Use multiple brands to maximize category sales. Gillette/P&G could not have executed its razor strategy with a single brand.
- Compete against yourself and cannibalize, if necessary, for profitable growth. If you don’t, your competitor(s) will.
- Innovate, upgrade and refresh. If you stand still, eventually you’ll be going backwards.
Harvey Chimoff is a hands-on marketing leader and business-wide collaborator who builds marketing capabilities in B2B/B2C organizations that drive customer success.