(1) Evaluate product innovation at Gillette throughout its history. Has Gillette been a vi

timer Asked: Apr 24th, 2015

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(1) Evaluate product innovation at Gillette throughout its history. Has Gillette been a victim of its own success? Has product innovation in the wet-shaving market come to an end? Explain.

Gillette had dominated the personal shaving market for quite a long time. They did not focus on product innovation very much, and when it did, it focused on acquiring existing product lines. In 1962, when Wilkinson Sword launched its stainless-steel blade, Gillette finally had competition. Wilkinson Sword could not exploit the niche it had created and Gillette was able to purchase much of their existing blade business. However, the damage was done and the competition dropped their market share to an all-time low.

Gillette continued to diversify their product line, but was met with mixed success. It was at that time that Gillette gained even more dominance in its market by their product development. It began continuously attacking its own products. From the Trac II to Atra to Sensor to Mach3 to Fusion, Gillette kept on innovating and attacking it own products. It revolutionized the wet-shaving market throughout the world through continuous evolution in their product line since its inception.

In many ways Gillette has been a victim of its own success - when they were being innovative, they were "cannibalizing" their own successful products. While their new inventions drove up their sales, it often took away from the sales of its previous products and did not increase their market share.

I do feel product innovation in the wet-shaving market has come to an end. The five blade Fusion did nothing significantly different from their own Mach3 and Schick's Quattro. It also says something when introducing each new product, sales of the initial razor were higher than refill cartridges. People are eager to try to the new product, but may be they aren't pleased enough to buy refills, they like their old product better, or they felt they were too expensive to continue to use them.

As a consequence, their focus has been on enhancing current products, developing complementary products, and strengthening the brand as a whole using its successful marketing strategy.

(2) What do you make of the battle between Gillette and Schick? Is the battle of one-upmanship good for either company?

I'm not sure I would call it a battle, as Gillette has maintained a majority of the market share. Schick came along and took away some of their market share with the introduction of the Quattro, but that has been the extent of the "battle".

This one-upmanship did benefit Gillette. It propelled Gillette to take a good look at it's strategy. They focused on converting consumers to higher priced razors and expand into new world markets.

However, "the battle" wasn't as good for Schick and often isn't for other companies embroiled in this type of war. When a business moves their focus from what the consumers need and desire, to only what your competitor is doing, you can lose the opportunity to expand the reach of your market share.

(3) What actions would you recommend over the next five years that would help Gillette maintain its worldwide dominance in the shaving market? What specific marketing program decisions would you recommend? Should Gillette be worried about Schick? Explain.

I like the steps that they are taking right now. The development of complementary products coupled with its sports cross promotion is one they should continue to pursue. It will continue to keep their name relevant and will enhance the brand name as a whole.

There are a few other growth opportunities I see.

1. They are heavily focused on male shaving, I would consider cross promotion with a female sports team, superstar or actress to appeal to women. With the world-wide market share, they can take advantage of other countries whose women may be influenced by Western lifestyles, that include women shaving being a part of everyday life.

2. There is 15 percent of the male population that doesn't shave due to discomfort. Focus on product development for a razor that works for those men with sensitive skin.

Gillette should always be worried about the competition. Schick is always one product away from taking away market share.

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