Remember the four P’s of marketing?

  • Product
  • Placement
  • Promotion
  • Price

Sometimes as marketers it can be easy to think about marketing too narrowly. How can I make a better commercial? How can I offer the best deal? How can I get people excited about motor oil?

What the four P’s tell us is that there are a lot of options open to us as marketers trying to successfully sell a product or service. One case study that I’ve always liked, one that I refer back to when I want to get people thinking about marketing differently, is the Huggies diaper example.

Until Kimberly-Clark introduced Huggies, Proctor & Gamble owned the marketplace for disposable diapers with Pampers. They controlled over 80% of the market at the time.

Imagine trying to introduce a new product into a market that was owned by a giant. The classic marketing approach may have been to advertise heavily in order to get people to switch. But the marketing minds at Huggies had another strategy in mind. They did their research and learned that most parents are given Pampers in the hospital when their child is born. And then those same parents continue to use Pampers for life.

So what if they could get hospitals to switch to Huggies? Would the parents who were given Huggies in the hospital switch to Pampers, or would they stick with Huggies? Kimberly-Clark thought they would keep the same loyalty to Huggies that they’d previously shown with Pampers. And they were right.

Huggies was aggressively marketed and sold to hospitals at below market cost so that hospitals would start using them over Pampers. The strategy worked. Within ten years of implementing the hospital strategy, Huggies cut Pampers market share almost in half. And the fight between the two brands continues to this day.