This paper will analyze the Marlboro brand, placement of the products, pricing of the products, and promotion techniques as implemented by Philip Morris USA in relation to their Marlboro product line. Marlboro brand cigarettes were developed by Philip Morris USA in 1902. By 1983, the company had grown to become the largest tobacco company in the country. The year 2002 marked the one hundred year anniversary of the company. (Wisped, 2008, Para. 1) The Marlboro brand Is available at most convenience stores, and requires relatively little effort to obtain.
Marlboro product teems are considered to be a premium product within the smoking community. Most Marlboro product users remain relatively loyal to the brand. Other, more value- minded, consumers prefer to buy the cheaper brands. Because of this mix of consumer attitudes, the product is considered to be both a convenience and shopping product. The Marlboro line has great product depth. Product Items within the line offer different tastes and potteries In order to satisfy a number of different consumer tastes. Marlboro reds have a more robust flavor. They are the stronger of the product items within the line.
The more preferred product item is the Marlboro lights, which are a medium flavored brand item. The Marlboro ultra lights appeal to consumers who prefer a lighter tobacco taste. The basic positioning of Marlboro is as a high quality brand of cigarette that satisfies both male and female adult (age 18 and older) tobacco user’s needs. Marlboro Is positioned as a conservative and slightly more delectate brand. Originally, In 1924, the brand targeted women with the slogan “Mild as May”. During World War II the brand faltered and was temporarily removed from the market, but returned soon after.
In answer to the first study linking smoking to cancer in the fifties, Philip Morris added a filter to their cigarettes. (Wisped, 2008, Para. 1-3) The Marlboro brand re-emerged with an improved product, new target market (namely men), and quickly increased market shares. In the early sass’s, the “Marlboro Country” campaign was born. This campaign is what the Marlboro brand Is famous for (Wisped, 2008). The ads depicted a rough and tough range cowboy smoking the Marlboro brand. Philip Morris used to primarily target adult male smokers with its famed “Marlboro Man”, who gave the product a ore masculine feel.
Today, the target market includes both male and female brand- loyal adult tobacco users (age 18 and older) who like the Marlboro brand name enough to pay a slightly higher price for it. A secondary target would be adult promotion. Marlboro is a more expensive brand, but is not the highest priced brand. Philip Morris USA promotions sometimes cause it to become a mid-priced product line compared to other brands. These secondary target smokers are likely to choose Marlboro if a promotion is available that allows the price of a Marlboro brand product item to be seen as a value over other brands.
Overall, Marlboro is positioned so that the target market sees the brand as a higher quality brand name tobacco product. Some brand-loyal consumers within the target market of adult smokers are willing to pay regular price for a Marlboro line product item. Other adult smokers are less willing to buy the product unless promotions, such as coupons or temporary price reductions, are available due to various reasons (including budget restrictions). As far as pricing, Marlboro products can be both elastic and inelastic depending on the individual consumer’s attitude toward the product.
Loyal customers view the Marlboro brand to be relatively inelastic. Most of these customers will not accept a substitute, and will only reluctantly accept a substitute. Other value-minded consumers view the brand to be elastic. For these consumers, there are many cheaper substitutes. Philip Morris USA, offers several other brands of tobacco products that are cheaper. This is an attempt to please this particular type of consumer if they wish to buy a cheaper product. Line in order to maintain market share with these consumers. The price range for this brand varies by geographical location.
I live in North-Western Missouri, and the price in my area right now is $3. 29 a pack. During promotional periods, the psychological pricing is at $3. 09 a pack in order to compete with Camel Brand. In southern states prices tend to be higher; averaging approximately $5. 00 a pack. (Suzanne Creamer, personal communication, January 2, 2008) Camel is one of Marlboro strongest competitors. This brand is priced Just under Marlboro, and is viewed as having the same quality. These two brands constantly try to out-price each other during promotional periods. They have been known to engage in price wars room time to time. Vicki Mica, Phillips Station, Personal Communication, December 23, 2007). Tobacco products are relatively perishable and have a shelf life of only eight months. Because retailers cannot store these products forever, they must work with Philip Morris USA to maintain continuous replacement through high volume sales of the product. To do this, demand must be created for the target market through promotion. Because governmental and social regulations prohibit tobacco companies from publicly marketing their products, Philip Morris and mail coupon promotions.
Visual store advertisements are usually placed near the checkout counter where the customer must go to ask for, and purchase, the cigarettes. These displays depict the Marlboro logo and any current promotional pricing. The in-store promotions include two-for-one product deals or special pricing for buying more than one pack of cigarettes at a time. Potential and existing customers are pulled to the Marlboro brand by Philip Morris Aqua’s use of mail promotions such as coupons and invitations to enter into the company’s annual sweepstakes.
The coupons offer dollars off the regular prices of cartons box of 10 packs) and individual packs of Marlboro brand cigarettes. They also offer an annual sweepstakes in which smokers over the age of twenty one compete to win prizes and vacation trips that are funded by Philip Morris USA. Prizes for these sweepstakes in the past have included: land in Montana in the value of $300,000, a trip to the Marlboro ranch, and various large monetary prizes. Many consumers compete in this competition each year. All Marlboro promotions are integrated to maintain and gain product loyalty, thus producing more profit potential for the product.
The future looks bright for the Marlboro brand. The duration of the mature stage of this product’s life cycle is proof of the strength and However, future changes might be necessary in order for the brand to gain a competitive edge over its main competitors. For example, Philip Morris USA might need to consider introducing special flavored or limited edition cigarettes that will directly compete with R. J. Reynolds’ Camel “Special Blend” line. This line includes limited edition flavors like vanilla, mint, etc. (R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, 2008) R. J.
Reynolds produces tobacco products that are priced Just under those of Philip Morris Aqua’s products, and are ranked Just under theirs as well. Philip Morris USA might need to consider this price difference when they introduce any new product line. A more aggressive approach toward offering a more continuous price promotion cycle might also be to their benefit. Although there is no such thing as a perfect marketing mix, Philip Morris USA has worked very hard through the years to make the marketing mix for their Marlboro brand as productive as possible.