Soft-soap’s Blocking Decision by Brian O’Keefe

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Part 3

Upon inventing a new product that is a liquid soap in the shampoo type of formula, he named it the Incredible Soap Machine. It was a pump-operated 16 ounce bottle of liquid soap that comes in a lovely gift box. Taylor was able to sell it in department stores and it became another big success. By 1979, Taylor then came to the idea of reducing the size of soap and giving a more generic name to the product so that he can massively commercialise in drug stores and convenience shops. He named it Soft-soap. After test marketing, he reduced the price of the soap from around 5 US dollars to 1.6 dollars as well as the size from 16 ounce to 10.5 ounce, which is still equivalent to more than five solid soaps. As the test marketing was a great success, he conducted a huge gamble of spending around 7 million US dollars on a national campaign to introduce his Soft-soap product. By the end of nine months, the product had reached 39 million US dollars in sales. To compete big soap makers like P&G, Unilever, and Colgate, Taylor started to look back his failure experience in selling fruit-scented soap and aimed to find how to slow down the competitors bringing their products in the market so that he can grab more customers meanwhile. At the beginning of 1981, Taylor phoned Calmar, the California company that manufactured all the plastic pumps for Softsoap, and asked to buy as many as 100 million pumps that year. It was again a big gamble – people were panicked and kept asking him if this is really going to be a purchase of 100 million pumps that year. Taking a risk of failure, he proceeded the pumps and controlled money flows in his company to make a financial balance. Taylor’s gamble paid off big-time. His competitors were stymied. He was able to delay the competitors bringing their products in the market, and his Soft-soap sales accelerated, making his company Minnetonka ranked as No. 1 position in the market.