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