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Cottle-Taylor: Expanding the oral care group in India Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2019

From the case presented, it is apparent that there are numerous factors influencing demand for toothbrushes in India. Demand is a function of various factors including social, economic, and environmental factors.

Oral hygiene awareness is among the factors influencing the demand for toothbrushes in India. The demand for toothbrushes depends highly on the extent of awareness and understanding that consumers have pertaining to the importance of oral hygiene. From the case, it is evident that approximately half of all Indians are not concerned with preventing and curing dental problems (Quelch, & Zalosh, 2012).

Accordingly, this lowers the demand for toothbrushes within the country. However, the demand can be enhanced by educating and enlightening the populace on the importance of good oral hygiene. Similarly, awareness can be increased through effectual advertisements and promotions of toothbrushes.

Affordability is a chief factor influencing demand

Affordability is based on the economic conditions prevailing within the markets. It focuses on the quantity of disposable income as well as the earnings of the consumers, which determine whether they can afford to purchase a toothbrush or not. From the case study, a majority of the consumers in the developing countries does not perceive a need for sophisticated products that are quite costly.

For instance, in her research, Patel found that merely a small number of the wealth consumers could afford the battery-operated toothbrush. In this context, it is manifest that high cost is likely to decrease the demand for toothbrushes. Hence, it is recommendable that companies manufacture toothbrushes that are cost-friendly if they have to increase demand (Quelch & Zalosh, 2012).

People’s attitudes and habits are likely to influence demand for toothbrushes in India. Indians are popularly known for chewing Neem tree twigs. This is remedy used by most people in India to keep their teeth healthy. From this perspective, it occurs that these Indian traditions hinder them from purchasing toothbrushes.

However, demand can be increased by educating and empowering the populace on the benefits of using contemporary toothbrushes. For instance, the countrywide campaigns conducted by the Indian Dental Association in collaboration with Cottle raised awareness of dental health benefits along with the influence of Western habits, propelling oral care growth in India (Boone & Kurtz, 2009).

Dental professionalism is likely to influence the demand for toothbrushes in India. Consumers have a high likelihood of being influenced by people they deem knowledgeable and credible. However, with low dental professionalism in India, residents hardly acquire the necessary information pertaining to the use of toothbrushes. Hence, the demand for toothbrushes remains low within the country.

Nevertheless, demand can be increased by curtailing the scarcity of dental professionals within the country. An increase in the number of dentists is likely to reflect in an increase in dental visits and increased awareness on the use of toothbrushes (Quelch & Zalosh, 2012).

The frequency of brushing teeth and replacing toothbrushes will automatically influence the demand for toothbrushes. The more a consumer brushes his teeth, the more quickly the toothbrush is likely to wear away. Consequently, this calls for replacement with a new toothbrush.

However, in India, only a negligible population of toothbrush users replaces their toothbrushes within three months, thus decreasing the demand for toothbrushes. In this context, it is vital to encourage consumers to brush their teeth twice a day and replace their toothbrushes after three months as recommended by dental practitioners (Johnson, Carr, & Canavan, 2012).

Cottle-Taylor’s performance in the Indian market

A company’s marketing mix strategy remains chief to its success (Boone, & Kurtz, 2009). Cottle employed an effective marketing mix to ensure that its product attributes, communication strategy, pricing strategy, and distribution strategy are in alignment with the company’s strategic goal.

Cottle is enjoying an advantage within the toothbrush market because it has a competitive advantage in the manufacture of advanced technology toothbrushes.

To reach its market segments, Cottle devised three product attributes namely low-end manual, mid-range manual, and battery-operated, which came in a variety of styles and colors. Moreover, Cottle established an effective distribution strategy that enabled the company to penetrate the highly disperse retail location within India.

The three categories of distributor included high-volume retail outlets, medium-sized distributors, and seed distributors. These distributors focused on urban locations, semi-urban regions, and small villages respectively. Hence, the distribution tactic would enable reaching consumers within all sectors of the country (Quelch & Zalosh, 2012).

To attain a competitive edge, Cottle did place its toothbrushes within retail outlets nationwide. To do this, the company employed multiple distribution strategies as well as relies on a broad network of partner distributors.

Equally, the company made efforts to perfect its retail distribution operation, attaining a competitive advantage. Besides, with the aim of reaching the urban and high-income populace, Cottle supplied and displayed its products in India’s largest supermarkets (Boone & Kurtz, 2009).

Competition remained a major challenge for Cottle. The two prime competitors in India were Hinda-Daltan, with approximately 21 percent market share, and SarIndia that held 11 percent market share.

The rest 21 percent of the market share comprised of low-priced and low-quality oral products emerging from Vietnam and China. Given that most of the consumers are from low-income backgrounds, the low-priced oral products proved a challenge to Cottle (Boone & Kurtz, 2009).

To accelerate the development of the toothbrush market in India, Cottle should target the mid-range manual and low-end manual toothbrushes as opposed to targeting the battery-operated toothbrushes. This is because the sale of battery-operated toothbrushes is low owing to its high price. Considering the potential markets of the company, which are semi-urban and massive rural markets.

Moreover, low-end manual and mid-range manual among others due to the low costs. Equally, Cottle should place greater focus on semi-urban population where the majority of the persons do not use the toothbrush at all (Johnson, Carr, & Canavan, 2012).

Analyzing the cultural context of India will assist Cottle-Taylor in addressing the demand of its products. Culture plays an important role in the sale of products. Organizations or companies must consider the cultures of consumers and target group to meet the demand and expectations. This leads in the increased satisfaction of customer needs. India is a country deeply ingrained in its cultures.

For instance, people in India use Neem twigs, tobacco, ash, charcoal, and black salt for brushing their teeth. The company should focus on areas that uphold these cultures to enhance their performance on sales. This is attainable via creating awareness on the benefits of oral hygiene, and in this context enlightening the people on the benefits of oral hygiene allied to Cottle’s products.

The rural-urban consumers’ challenges should be considered to address the oral hygiene issue appropriately. These approaches will increase the growth rate in the oral sector, thus accelerating the development of the toothbrush market within India (Quelch & Zalosh, 2012).

A suitable tactic to accelerate the development of the toothbrush market in India is creating awareness and understanding of Cottle’s product’s benefits. Lang had felt that this approach contributed to consumer inertia in Thailand. Indeed, it is evident that people within India are not aware of the benefits of oral hygiene. Hence, they are not concerned with preventing or curing dental problems.

Not only do they not seek proper dental health care, but they also do not brush their teeth frequently or change their toothbrushes after three months. Thus, increased awareness is likely to modify people’s habits and behaviors, making them adopt the habit of using toothbrushes (Boone & Kurtz, 2009).

The company has a strategy of increasing its sales. In order to achieve the goal within the stated deadline, the company must develop effective plans that may enhance effective advertising budgeting.

The company has divided its marketing or advertising in three units referred to as messages. Solving the problem in advertising, it appears appropriate to abide by what Patel suggests, that is, allocate more advertising dollars to messages one and two (Quelch & Zalosh, 2012).

Projected income statements for toothbrushes


Print ad-50%



Television ad-50%

Patel projected 20% increase in sales

Lang projected 25-30% increase in sales

Income statement

2009 Patel 2010 Lang 2010
Gross revenue 100 70.1 100.95 117.59
Less trade discount 10 7.01 10.095 11.759
Net revenue 90 63.09 90.85572 105.83
Manufacturing costs, selling costs 46 32.25 46.43 54.091
Gross margin 44 30.85 44.418 51.74
Ad 9 6.3 9.09 14.11
Consumer promotion 3 2.1 3.0285 3.528
Selling, administration costs 14 9.81 14.133 16.463
Profit from operations 18 12.62 18.1714 17.639


Boone, L. E., & Kurtz, D. L. (2009). Contemporary business 2010 update. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Johnson, C., Carr, R., & Canavan, T. H. (2012). Factors affecting U.S trade and shipments of information technology products computer equipment, telecommunications equipment, and semi-conductors. Washington, DC: DIANE Publishing.

Quelch, J. A., & Zalosh, A. (2012). Cottle-Taylor: Expanding the oral care group in India. Harvard: Harvard Business Publishing.

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