Febreeze and the Consumer Decision Process
In some industries and for some products, the Consumer Decision process is a long and drawn out, filled with enormous data collection and evaluation prior to a decision being made. What happens with the development or discovery of a new product that perhaps the consumer doesn’t even know they have the need for it? Such was the case with Proctor & Gamble’s Febreeze.
Entry Into the Marketplace
When P&G initially discovered and created the formula for Febreeze in the early 1990’s (Duhigg, 2012), the company sensed it had an amazing product that would be a hit in the marketplace if they could figure out the need recognition aspect for the consumer. Need recognition, is the first step in the Consumer Decision process (Grewal & Levy, 2014) and key in the fact that if consumers don’t sense a need the product will linger and die on the shelves. Proctor & Gamble as a company was full of products with great success for filling consumer’s functional needs and even greater with getting products into a consumer’s evoked set. Products in the Tide and Olay brands are both great examples of these types of P&G’s successes. However, the initial testing and marketing of Febreeze seemed difficult and challenging. P&G Marketers were unable to get anything other than dismal sales results regardless of how remarkable the product was at eliminating odors (Duhigg, 2012).
Consumer Need Recognition
Febreeze was initially marketed to “get bad smells out of fabrics” (Duhigg, 2012). P&G was trying to appeal to a consumer’s need recognition of bad smells in their household and providing the product to fill that need. However, after extensive research, it appeared that consumers with these severe bad odor smell issues became desensitized to those same odors. Pet owners and smokers all lacked the necessary cue’s that would produce the need recognition for the consumption of the Febreeze product. That could have been the end to the Febreeze product in the marketplace had P&G been unwilling to continue the market research. After watching many households show marketers how they cleaned house, they finally made a discovery. The realization came when they found that their test samples had the highest use when used at the end of the cleaning cycle as a “finishing touch” to the cleaning that had occurred. They realized that the need they thought the product would fill, eliminating the worst odors, actually fell flat with consumers. The need recognition actually became for already clean homes to make the consumer feel and “smell” the clean. It was a cue and ultimately a craving for the fresh finish that created the need recognition for the buying process.
Changing Market Trends
Since Febreeze re-launched in...