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February 17, 2011

Packaging the silent Sales person

Ask any student of Marketing about basics of marketing and he would rattle off the 4Ps, Product, Price, Place and Promotion . It is the holy grail of marketing. 4Ps are what all marketing professionals swear by. But what happens when all the 4 Ps stop? Who will market the product when all the other Ps stops? In steps packaging the least glamorous but the most vital function of marketing.  Packaging is called the 5th P. Packaging is also referred to as the silent sales person.

Sometimes in the class some of the student might be drifting off. I challenge them by asking some simple but challenging questions. One of them is “what is 767 in packaging?” Students are stumped and think that is a holy number or some formula of a product. The answer so very basic, 767 is the arrangement of cigarettes in a 20s pack of cigarettes. You have to give it to the marketers. The marketers pack 7 in the first row, 6 in the second row and 7 in the third row.

Check out the following innovations in packaging:

Packaging for the blind - Tu Plast the company makes its packaging user friendly for the blind. It makes the label in Braille. This is very thoughtful as the blind have equal rights as others and this type of packaging is socially conscious and increases the sale. A double whammy!

Slick Packaging:  Some products even though are very useful and convenient are quite cumbersome to use. Take the example of liquid soap which is quite messy to use. If the liquid soap is in a bottle the liquid would splash and much of it would be wasted. In comes a liquid soap dispenser. One can take as much as one wants. The innovative dispenser system I am sure was instrumental in making the concept of liquid soap popular.

Some products by nature are quite difficult to pack. Think of eggs and water melons. Both are very nutritious and tasty but come in odd shapes. With the advances of science it is possible to have square water melons and square eggs. Square eggs are great for the customer and shopkeepers but must be quite painful for the hen!

Baby chicks are very fragile. But they need to be transported over long distances. The utilitarian packaging that is provided by the sellers sees to it that they can survive the long distance travel. There is provision for food and water in the packaging and the packing is rugged to take the abuse of the road and rail journey.

Packaging that glows in the dark – A product of Aplha packaging, technigraph, this is packaging that glows in the dark. Apart from attracting the children who are quite crazy about the glowing products the glowing packaging makes the product visible in darkness and easy to use. The glow in darkness packaging can be useful for products that have to be used at night like water and tablets dispensers.

Packaging - children – GIFLOR: Cute packaging for the children. Good idea for dispensing products like chewies, candies, bubble gum and Chiclets.

Packaging - bormioli Rocc:  A very interesting product. It is very difficult for a mother to ensure the exact portion that is needed for her child. This innovative add along that is given along with the medicine attaches to the bottle and the exact quantity of the medicine that has to be administered can be read. The mother tips the bottle and the medicine would come into the dispenser and that is directly administered to the child.

Packaging - blue diamond – weatherchem:  This packaging provided by Weatherchem makes self medication very easy. Let’s say that a particular medicine has to be taken for eight days. The transparent packaging makes it easy for the user to control his portion. The portion of nuts once consumed will be an indicator of the numbers of days that are exhausted and the visible part shows the number of days left.  I would say very innovative packaging.

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