Anything but Mint Toothpaste (Estimating Market Size for New Product)

We have decided to come up with a new line of toothpastes, all of which do not have the common ingredient in all other toothpastes, mint.  The current global toothpaste market is forecasted to reach an all-time high of 12.6 billion dollars by 2015. The continuous surge of sales is fueled by toothpastes with various formulas like whitening and sensitivity as well as the common public’s greater awareness of oral hygiene.

So how can we actually being to determine the size of the market we hope to gain by producing our new innovative non-mint flavored toothpastes?

  1. Demand:  With the projected sales reaching 12.6 billion over the next 3 years, how would different flavored toothpaste be accepted? We conducted a survey that asked basic questions about peoples hygiene when it comes to tooth brushing, whether or not people felt that their toothpaste interfered with their foods, whether or not people actually like mint toothpaste, and then we polled what flavors would be appealing to the respondents.

We received approximately 250 surveys from the follow age groups:

From our survey we were able to learn the following

  • Roughly 76% off people brush their teeth 2 or more times per day, with 49% of people brush their teeth after a meal.  56% of people brushed their teeth in the morning and 30% of people felt that their toothpaste interfered with the taste of their food.
  • 70% of respondents said they would try new flavored toothpaste. Out of the flavors given as an example Strawberry, Mango, Coffee and Honey were the 4 highest rated respectively.
  • In respect to the size of the toothpaste package, 69% of the respondents said they would be willing to try different flavors if they were available in smaller sample sizes. 57% also concluded that they expected to pay between $2-4 for a 6oz package of toothpaste.

Estimating The Market:

  1. Addressable Market: From the 250 people that took our survey 59% of the respondents were in the age bracket of 18-44. I feel that the age bracket of 18-35 as well as younger than 18 would be the preferable target ages to market to. I feel individuals that are 45 and above who have used mint toothpastes all their lives may not be so willing to try something new, as what they use works so why change it. With a younger audience you can give it an innovative look, a new innovative toothbrush to go with it, and for the little ones, I think it would be very easy to get them to brush with a flavor like Strawberry-Mango.
  2. Opportunities vs. Competition:  Mint toothpaste has been used since 1600AD. It’s been there forever and has been the staple flavor of all the toothpaste giants like Colgate and Crest. It will be hard to convince people to try a new product, as the mentality of if it works don’t fix it exists. Also dentists give away both Crest and Colgate products in the office, as these 2 brands of mint toothpastes are both ‘doctor recommended, it creates another barrier to market entry.’
  3. If we were to market our toothpaste using the Razor and Blades model, we could have a specialized toothbrush created that works with only our toothpaste cartridges. The toothbrush could take 1 of these flavor cartridges or a few. Those way consumers could try one flavor or try a few flavors at once; making a custom flavor based on the consumers preferences. We could make the toothbrushes in fun stylish prints for the older age groups, like paisley or plaid designs. And we could also cater to the youth and toddlers making fun bright patterns, and receiving licensing rights from some companies such as Disney and Nickelodeon.
  4. ”Winnable Market Opportunities”: With the Razor and Blade business model, we could have a sample pack of our toothbrush and toothpaste made up to give away. This would allow the customer to try the product out at home and experiment with mixing and tasting the different flavor combinations included. Once the favorite flavor or all the flavors are used up, the consumer could then go to the store and pick up another value pack, or the individual flavors that they liked.

On an interesting note I thought it would be fun to include the responses we got from our ‘Savory flavor’ questions. I can totally understand the coffee flavor, especially if you were brushing your teeth in the morning, but I personally don’t know how I feel about brushing my teeth with meatloaf flavored toothpaste- but apparently there are some of you out there that do!

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Can a company survive alone on inbound marketing?

I think this question could definitely be coined as the million dollar question to all companies. I feel it is important to point out though, regardless if you own your own business and you’re the only employee or if you own a business with 1 or 1,000 employees, there is no such thing as a free lunch. While inbound marketing might be considered ‘free’ traffic sources, it’s not really free, there is still a cost associated with in bound marketing- time. Even if you’re the sole owner and sole employee, there should always be a monetary value associated with time.

Let’s take for example an online only retail store. Let’s say the only thing the online store deals with is baby products.  You are going to have a core website (which I’d like to add has a hosting fee each month) it is with this website that you create your brand, add in pages about yourself, and whatever other pages you might think would be handy for the customer, like Q&A. When you list the items online, there are certain attributes you have to put in, like the brand, keywords, price and description. It is with correctly setting up your website and listing your item online that you can satisfy basic SEO, and White Pages/B2B listing. Once you have your website up and running it is very easy to call the manufacturers that you purchase from and get referring links from their website to yours.

After you get the basic inbound marketing satisfied it is now time to explore all the avenues. But I really feel they need to be explored with the following considerations:

  • How much time it will take to complete the project & maintain it
  • How much would you get paid or would you pay someone in your company to do it
  • Once the time is considered and given a per hour rate a comparison, a thought needs to be given as to how effective the inbound measure will be.
  • Effectiveness and cost should then be compared to other outbound marketing measures. It should then be determined whether or not it is cheaper to pay for an outbound service versus putting all your time and effort into something that may not be worth the time and effort you put into it.

Let’s take social media, webinars, online videos, podcasting, emails and blogs. You could spend hours putting together blogs, videos and podcasts of new products or instructions on how to use products. You could do giveaways on your Facebook page, or contests for more likes or followers. Does all this effort give any real, measurable ROI?

Say I write up a contest on my baby store blog to give away a free pack of baby bottles ($20 value), it takes me an hour to write the blog about these new bottles and why they are so great (Say I make $25 an hr) and I decide to run the contest for a week. The requirement is for people to like the Facebook page then travel to our blog and write a comment as to why they need or would like the free set of bottles. During the week people are commenting and liking the Facebook page, and I am answering questions on the social media sites, and at the end I have to select a winner and get in contact with them (Let’s say I spend another 2 hours on the site in that week interacting with likes and comments).  So I’ve spent approx. $95 on this contest in merchandise and time. Have I really gained any customers? What becomes the ratio of dislikes in the next few days to the total likes accrued throughout the contest? Have any of the people who liked the page or interacted on the blog actually purchased anything from the store? Would my $95 been better spent if I had just paid for an outbound advertising service like having coupons put in diaper bags of new moms leaving the hospital with their newborns?

So, ‘Can a company survive on inbound marketing’? Maybe- It really depends on the type of business and the demographics of the customer base. More than the word ‘surviving’ though, it should really be thought of as ‘is it cost effective’.  If you’re spending 10 hrs. a week (remember we’re making $25/hr.) on inbound marketing and you’re not seeing any results from all your efforts. It may be more cost efficient to spend $200 a week and pay for a service with proven results. Not only are you theoretically saving yourself money, you’re freeing up precious hours that you can focus back into your business. I’m not saying eliminate the inbound marketing, just be smart about it, things need to be judged by how much effort you put into it and the results that come out of it. Sometimes it’s just not worth all the time you’re putting in.