Dental consumables

Date of publication: June 15, 1990

Author: Simon Fitall


This paper looks at how a company (Claudius Ash) in an unsophisticated market (dental supplies), who had never used market research before, combined quantitative interviews and group discussions to develop and refine their service product and promotional message. Their problem was that their marketing assumptions were clearly incorrect and needed to be checked. In the process they wanted to use research as a means of gaining a credible and sustainable competitive advantage. Using semi-structured face to face interviews, it was found that many of the assumptions being made about the market were unfounded, and that Claudius Ash were in a worse position than they had thought. The results indicated that, as expected, price and delivery were important factors, but not the only key issues in the market. This substantially changed the type of product offer that Claudius Ash could make to the market. Group discussions were used to establish how the new product offer should be communicated to dentists. These groups showed that dentists are quite unsophisticated in their approach to the market, have a strong professional ego, and have an almost pathological fear of losing control. Claudius Ash were able to combine their new found market intelligence to develop their service product and their communication to the market, giving them a more modern and dynamic image.

Simon Fitall


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