Executive Summary: Frigidaire Company: Launching the Front-Loading Washing Machine Essay

Executive Summary

Frigidaire Company: Launching the Front-Loading Washing Machine

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Introduction

This paper will provide an executive summary of the recommendations/options available to Frigidaire Company in the re-introduction of the Front Loading Washing Machine.

Overview of the Situation

In the possible “re-launch” of the front-loading washing machine, Frigidaire faces both a tremendous challenge with the potential of failure as well as an excellent opportunity to gain market share through innovation.  Based on the extensive research that has been performed in regard the potential launch, or more precisely re-launch of the product, the following potential courses of action are presented as follows:

Ø  OPTION 1: Update Market Research- Before any tactics are considered, and any other resources are allocated, the firm needs to conduct a present-day marketing study to determine if there is a strong enough demand for the product, what attributes the consumer wants in the product, pricing thresholds and the like.  This will determine outright feasibility of moving forward.  While this study will require extensive allocations of resources, financial and other, the updating of the marketing data will in fact circumvent far more costly errors if in fact the data indicates that the re-introduction of the product is still premature.

Ø  OPTION 2- Use of Cross-Functional Teams- Internally, what is needed is an intense coordination of all of the functional areas of the organization, thereby forming a collaborative effort to make the product introduction as effective as possible if in fact the re-launch is pursued.  For example, the efforts of the marketing personnel to produce relevant data, once it validates the marketability of the product, can lead to collaboration with the production personnel to learn the attributes of the product, which then can be the backbone of the marketing campaign.  Keep in mind that the original launch of the product met with failure because of some inherent flaws in the product design.  Addressing those deficiencies from the start will be an important part of a successful marketing effort.  This message of a sort of “new and improved” product must be explicitly stated in the Website, print media, television advertising, and so forth.

Working in conjunction with the marketing effort, the quality assurance personnel must coordinate with the production personnel to make sure that the product is fully functional and free of defects before even the first unit leaves the production floor.  In doing this, the troubleshooting of the product will in fact happen internally, and will not have to be done by the customer, which is part of what led to failure when the product was first sold several years ago.

Ø  OPTION 3-Post-Launch Follow Up- If the product is re-launched, every aspect of the re-launch must be monitored, so that changes can be made quickly, before problems become lethal; this options will intertwine with the use of the cross functional teams as detailed in the earlier part of the summary.

Ø  OPTION 4- Abandonment of the Project- The entire project can, and should be discontinued if closer analysis determines that the project is impractical.

Product Positioning

Moving forward from the decision to re-launch the product, what is essentially a rebuilt marketing strategy is needed, the key element of which is product positioning.  This sort of strategic positioning is based upon several key factors, represented graphically as such:

Criteria for Launch
Specifics for Frigidaire
Defining Frigidaire’s main competition
Maytag, Whirlpool, General Electric Amana
Target markets
The ideal target market is families, followed by single females and males living in East North Central and South Atlantic US
Consumer perceptions
General perception of front-end loading machines is that they are of inferior quality and do not perform as well as conventional models, based on past model failures
Preferred combination of product attributes
The target market desires an energy efficient model that performs well, backed by solid customer support after the sale.

Positioning Strategy

Taking into account the past track record of Frigidaire’s earlier versions of the front-end loading washing machine, the attributes that consumers want in a new model based on current marketing research and the goals of Frigidaire in this new product, the value proposition for the positioning of the new model would look like this:

“Frigidaire’s new front-end loading washing machine represents the next generation of washing machines: priced for the best value, the ultimate in energy efficiency and designed to clean clothes like never before, all backed with Frigidaire’s guarantee of quality and award-winning customer support to make sure that you, the consumer, gets the most out of your new appliance-and member of your family!”

Essentially, what the value proposition will do for Frigidaire is to erase the issues of the past, looking forward to a new and improved product for the future, and offering the right price and customer service.  In closing, what this will accomplish is the communication of the right message, to the right audience- the very essence of effective marketing strategy.

References

Cooper, R. G., & Kleinschmidt, E. J. (2000). New Product Performance: What Distinguishes the Star Products. Australian Journal of Management, 25(1), 17.

New Products. (2003). The Technology Teacher, 62(8), 3+.

(Palan K Dannels T 1997 Frigidaire Company:Launching the Front End Washing Machine)Palan, K., & Dannels, T. (1997). Frigidaire Company: Launching the Front End Washing Machine. In  (Ed.), NACRA Journal (pp. 75-89). Iowa State University.

Zahra, S. A., & Ellor, D. (1993). Accelerating New Product Development and Successful Market Introduction. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 58(1), 9+.