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Why the Success?

January 18, 2006 - by Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II(The Second Beginning) E-Mail:

I am frequently asked "Why is Procter &Gamble so successful?" I think that there are many reasons but if I had to pick just one, it would be that they are so thorough in their work. When asked for an example, I usually use a test that I conducted early in my career. It was a Laboratory Validation Test. The purpose of the study was to determine the correlation of Lab Test results with results obtained in the consumers' homes. Specifically, I was looking to determine the following:

  1. Do the Lab Test results differ from what is actually generated in the home?
  2. Does the Lab Test yield the same results as those found in the home . . . but

    1. The homemaker could not see them unless specifically directed?
    2. The homemaker could not see them even when directed?
The following are just some of the pertinent facts of the study:

  1. number of products tested -5
  2. number of participating households -1,440
  3. location of testing -Long Beach and Dayton
  4. :test duration - 12 weeks
  5. Data:

    1. overall attitude interviews at 2 and 6 weeks:
    2. split panel = directed and non-directed
    3. 6,600 ratings and readings of changes in the homemaker's own laundry
    4. 6,600 ratings and readings of changes in new fabrics supplied to the homemaker
    5. 9,600 measures of -product concentration in her wash loads (white and dark)
    6. 9,600 readings of wash water temperature (white and dark loads)
    7. 27,600 readings for, product effectiveness on laboratory stains
    8. 9,600 each of softness, whiteness and re-deposition readings

This involved a tremendous amount of time, effort and expense. Literally months of analysis were involved. A total of 28 separate lab tests were evaluated. A total of 30 reports were written during the first two years. Data were still being analyzed seven years after the completion of the study.

How many companies do you know that would spend this amount of resources to insure that their lab tests were actually measuring what was taking place in the real world? Maybe it would be appropriate to ask, "How many companies have laboratory tests devoted to the prediction of results obtained by the user?"

The above work only involved products in the Package Soap Division. There were five other product divisions doing the same type of research. . It was my experience that Procter & Gamble was a company truly devoted to the understanding of the consumer, market, and products.

Along the same line of thinking, a good friend, Charlie Zitnik of the Kroger Company, commented that while we in marketing must deal with Ruler/Pie Markets, he deals every day with-another Pie model. His Pie model is that "Planning Is Everything." The only thing I could say in response was "Amen."

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