Procter & Gamble (P&G) credits its long history to being able to change everything except their core values, in order to better serve customers, and create value for their shareholders. One of their current goals is to increase value creation through margin improvement, asset efficiency, and sales growth. P&G also hopes to transform their portfolio, and continue to grow in each of their ten product categories, foster more innovation, and become a more sustainable company (Procter & Gamble, 2017).
One thing missing from Procter & Gamble’s oral care products is an all-natural toothpaste. I strongly believe that introducing a product like this under one of their powerful brand names, like Crest, would help them make progress in all of objectives mentioned above.
Looking at the Crest website, I was immediately overwhelmed by the number of offerings there are in terms of toothpaste varieties. I counted 10+ different Crest products that all claimed to be whitening toothpastes. P&G could look at eliminating some of the less profitable varieties, and replacing them with a new product that would attract a completely different market. Some of these are so similar, that it can’t be profitable to market all of them against each other.
Adding an all-natural toothpaste would diversify P&G’s oral-product portfolio, as they currently do not offer something like this. Their main competitor, Colgate-Palmolive, currently owns Tom’s of Maine, the leading natural toothpaste brand. P&G has launched natural products in other categories, like their Tide Pureclean laundry detergent, which is free of dyes, chlorine, and phosphates (Tide, 2017). It is likely that the same people in the market for natural cleaning products would be very interested in natural oral-care products.
P&G is a leader in innovation, and is increasing their R&D budget even more, to enhance their new-product pipeline. They are also investing in how to increase go-to market capabilities (P&G Outlines, 2013). While the concept of an all-natural toothpaste is not new, P&G will be able to do it better, more efficiently, and reach markets better than anyone else. Taking advantage of the growing natural-items industry is a great opportunity for P&G to showcase their innovation prowess.
One drawback is that P&G may be slightly behind the competition. The natural health care industry is rapidly growing and there are already a number of smaller brands, as well as competitors like Colgate’s Tom’s of Maine. The idea is that the natural toothpaste is stripped of anything extra, so it is difficult to offer something new, that provides additional benefits. P&G will have to really invest in their marketing, production process, and brand image if the want to be the best in this industry.
The marketing strategy is not going to stray far from what P&G is accustomed to with its oral-care products. More thought will have to be put into marketing a natural item. There will be certain guidelines enforced by regulators, like the FDA, that will need to be met. With any healthcare item, any promises that are made regarding its effects must be backed up with proof. The effectiveness, and safety of the product will need to be proven and communicated to the target.
One limitation that I noticed with my research, is that there are just too many types of toothpaste. There are ones for whitening, enamel protection, sensitive teeth, etc. With such a large base of users, and so many specific needs, it may be challenging to get them in to the natural toothpaste purchase funnel.