MCA Management Awards 10 Year Anniversary: Marketing


Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The winner of the innovation category also picks up this year's gong for marketing excellence. Spear & Jackson - the UK's oldest tool manufacturer - operates in a market where the new is often rejected in favour of the tried and trusted. With its saw division operating at a loss, on a turnover of just £675,000, S&J asked Propaganda to help turn the division around.

Together, they set out to identify new market opportunities, develop a new product, devise a strategy for taking that product to market and a marketing campaign to sell 30,000 units in the first year. And they gave themselves just six months to go from research phase to full launch.

Propaganda's planning team discovered that tradesmen were loyal to the brands they used regularly and tended to replace their wood saws every two to four weeks. With the average saw costing around £5, price was as significant a factor as quality and efficiency.

The consultancy's bold marketing proposal was to challenge the prevailing mindset and persuade tradesmen not only to switch brands, but to pay twice as much. Spear & Jackson's R&D team came up with a universal hardpoint, non-resharpenable wood saw that made cutting more efficient and accurate as well as safer. It would also have a longer life than conventional saws.

This would be a product at the top of its 'food chain', so a naming workshop christened it the Predator. Since it cost more to make, the predator was priced at £9.99 and given premium-brand packaging that doubled as a measuring tool. Trade advertising focused on the differentiating benefits of the saw and the quality of the Spear & Jackson brand. Propaganda devised a money-back guarantee too, to help break habitual buying behaviours of tradesmen.

Within 16 weeks of launch, S&J had smashed its first-year target. More than 200,000 units were sold in the following 12 months, enabling the wood saw division to double its turnover and beef up market share by 10%.

Demand for the brand is such that a further four saws have been added to the successful Predator range.


Propaganda brought fresh marketing to S&J's saw division, propelling sales of its bold new range to 200,000 units in the first 12 months.

- Shake up traditional markets. Conservative customers will respond to a good offer.

- Create a marketing campaign that is as innovative and exciting as the product itself.

- Keep the momentum going - a success with one new product/service can be the gateway to a whole new range of related offerings.

SHORTLISTED Consultancy: Capgemini Client: Association of Train Operating Companies Consultancy: Code Red Consultancy Client: Strongserve Consultancy: Parallel 56 Client: Scottish Enterprise


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