Ketchup wars

If you’re a product manager on tomato ketchup, it’s hard to imagine that you’d need to watch the marketing environment at all closely in the area of “legal and political developments”. But you do. As Heinz discovered in the early 90s. At the time product managers spent a major amount of time involved with “P for Political” in the PEST model described by Kotler.

Ketchup wars

It all went back to international alignment. As Europe came closer together, the shifts in countries’ statuses affected many markets. Obviously a free trade area operates very differently from a customs union, common market or economic community. And this changes the forces of competition. (To see why, see what journalists were writing about the issue at the time in the article below).

In any event, the whole issue confirms what Kotler says about watching the marketing environment. It’s not always the obvious things such as customer needs and advertising campaigns that keep marketing managers busy. You need to keep your wits about you on many fronts, or end up with ketchup on your face.

Short version of the economist article: here

Alex Woodruff

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