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Marketing Mix: Duracell Optimum breaks battery market codes

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In a sector as “banal” as that of batteries, it is difficult to stand out. However, Duracell has just pulled off a real “marketing coup” with the launch of “Duracell Optimum.” This is an opportunity for us to analyze the marketing mix.

If you only have 30 seconds

The battery market has grown steadily for the past 10 years and was boosted during the Covid crisis. Duracell and Varta are the two companies that share the market. Gaining market share is a vital issue that drives them to innovate, which is no small task with a product as commonplace as batteries.

The launch of Duracell Optimum is a very successful marketing operation that impacts many facets of Duracell’s marketing mix. In particular, the company has succeeded in differentiating itself by renewing the sector’s codes in terms of packaging. A brilliant move that makes other brands look old-fashioned. Optimum’s superior performance is also an opportunity for Duracell to bring out its mascot, the pink rabbit, for its communication.

Introduction

What could be more commonplace than a battery? Yet, it is a market that represents colossal financial stakes, further accentuated by the growth following the Covid crisis and the lockdowns. Duracell and Varta are the two undisputed leaders in this market. They have to innovate to defend their market share, especially against low-end products from China. In this context, we analyze the strategy of Duracell Optimum through the prism of the marketing mix.

Statistics on the battery market in Europe

  • In the UK, the market for the top 11 battery brands was £213.9 million (source: Statista)
  • Duracell’s market share in the UK in 2020 was 60.7%; Varta’s 33.4
  • In 2020, the battery market in Germany grew by 35% (source: ZVEI)
  • Over the period 2014-2020, the battery market in Germany has grown by 172%.
  • In Germany, the battery market is worth 5.9 billion Euros
  • 600 million batteries are sold in France every year
  • In 2020, battery sales in French supermarkets increased by 13% (483 million batteries)
  • Sales of batteries in supermarkets in France increased by 9.7% in 2020 and represented 406 million Euros

marketing mix 4P product produit

Marketing Mix: the product

Several aspects of the “product” marketing mix should be studied because they differ from traditional batteries. This product marketing mix is centered on 3 facets: performance, packaging, and assortment.

duracell optimum

Duracell has innovated with a closed package.

Performance

Performance is the key element of Duracell’s product marketing mix. With 10 years of research and development and 18 patents, Duracell Optimum promises up to 200% longer life depending on usage.

More modern sealed packaging

Optimum’s packaging is Duracell’s stroke of marketing genius. While battery packaging has always been open and never questioned, Duracell breaks the codes and proposes sealed packaging. The practical arguments are not very clear, so we can reasonably think that this is just marketing. In any case, this sealed packaging establishes a clear difference between Optimum and its followers. The packaging becomes, in general, a central element of Duracell Optimum’s marketing mix.

We should also note that Duracell’s mascot, the pink rabbit, has disappeared from Optimum’s packaging. It remains present on the packaging of the other ranges.

Assortment

The introduction of Optimum allows Duracell to compose a more transparent and more complete product assortment. There are now 3 product ranges that are classified into 3 levels: supreme, best, good. Note the semantics used, which is interesting because, from the second level, the product is “better” (than the competition).


marketing mix 4P price prix

Marketing Mix: the price

Of course, the marketing mix is also impacted by the product’s price (see our guide to the price marketing mix here). Optimum batteries are about 20% more expensive than their mid-range counterparts.


marketing mix 4P promotion

Marketing Mix: communication (“promotion”)

From a communication point of view, the marketing mix is adapted according to the countries.
As we noticed when analyzing the “product” part of the marketing mix, the pink rabbit no longer seems to be part of Optimum’s DNA. It is no longer found in English-language ads. These ads focus on the daily benefits of Optimum’s longevity. We see the same use cases:

  • game controller
  • screwdriver
  • remote control car

In some countries (France, Belgium, Netherlands), the pink rabbit is still present. However, its role is more that of a prop, far from the primary role it played in the advertisements of the 2000s.


marketing mix 4P place

Marketing Mix: the sales channels (“place”)

Sales channels remain unchanged. However, Duracell Optimum has been launched in some markets as a preview. It is in the United States, the Netherlands, and Belgium that these batteries made their debut. France followed only from June 1, 2021.

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