Managers need information of all types in order to make decisions. Many marketing decisions are strategic, such as setting pricing policies. Managers rely on multiple sources to help locate relevant information to support these decisions. Managers must know how to use the information that is available and what weight to assign to the information that is deemed to be useful.
A firm is not going to give us detailed information about its marketing strategy on its Web site.
However, we can view a firm’s Web site to look at some of the relevant information that managers might use to help make marketing decisions. Let’s look at the Colgate-Palmolive Company to see what information on its site would be relevant for some marketing decisions.
1. Go to Colgate-Palmolive’s home page at www.colgatepalmolive.com. Move your cursor to the heading “For Investors” at the top of the page. Click on “For Investors,” then on “Financial Info,” then “Annual Reports,” and then on the “Message from the CEO” in the most recent annual report. In this section, Colgate shares its worldwide strategy. What types of pricing decisions that are discussed in this chapter are part of Colgate’s strategy? What does this strategy reveal about the need for relevant information?
2. Many companies place a high priority on ethics. Examine the section “Living Our Values” under the “Our Company” heading back on the home page. Give two examples that show Colgate’s commitment to ethical behavior.
3. One area that many companies identify as a key component to strategy is new product development. Locate where Colgate highlights its new products (you may want to use the search option on the Web site). Based on the information, what was a recent new product release? Is this a “new” product or is it simply a variation of an existing product?
4. Now, look at the products that the firm manufactures. What format is offered for learning about these products? Look at the fabric conditioner products. How many fabric conditioners does the firm offer? From looking at the information provided, can you tell what differentiates the products? Does the Web site provide any information on how or when to use the products? Would you want to make a decision about the “best” fabric conditioner for a specific type of laundry based on the information found on the Web site? Why or why not?
5. Let’s look at the most recent annual report again. Is there evidence in the financial statements that Colgate is achieving its worldwide strategy? Is the company improving profitability?