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What Is the Dilemma Facing Colgate-Palmolive? Essay

Colgate is a player in the $7.5 billion market of oral hygiene in the United States. This market includes products that cleanse, disinfect, freshens breath and whitens teeth and Colgate has a share of that market for all these products. The competition in this market makes being innovative practically a requirement since it is difficult to encroach upon your competitors. Knowing this information, companies must also ensure that they maintain a good balance of products in this industry.

While being innovative in this market, Colgate-Palmolive introduced the Wisp, a new product that they believed would make having a fresh breath while on-the-go a reality. This would definitely be of interest to many consumers since it did not require water, rinsing and lastly toothpaste. Although this seemed like a brilliant idea, it appears that Colgate-Palmolive didn’t forecast that there new idea would probably cause them to lose some of the revenue they generated from their toothpaste and toothbrush sales.

Another concern for Colgate-Palmolive was the pricing strategy that was created for the Wisp. A quick scan at the local store for the prices of reusable toothbrushes averaged $2.50 and the cost of a tube of toothpaste averaged $3.00 and these products would probably last 2 people 3-4 weeks. The price for the Wisp retails at $7.99 for a 16-pack of disposable one-use Wisp’s which made it more costly to use the Wisp for consumers. Other companies have tried selling a disposable toothbrush but were unsuccessful after not realizing a return on investment(ROI), in fact after Procter & Gamble failed miserably in 2004, they ceased to continue marketing a disposable toothbrush. Also if the Wisp were to become a success, it wouldn’t take long until the other manufacturers began marketing similar products, which would have further cut into the Colgate-Palmolive market share.

Colgate-Palmolive did not apply any social marketing concepts when introducing the Wisp. In their effort to produce and promote new products there was a lack of emphasis on the sustainability of the Wisp. As companies try to maintain the balance of generating profits and also benefitting society, the Wisp did not appear to be environmentally safe since it was a disposable product.


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