At the turn of the century, when Tupperware parties were all the craze, you could count the number of Australians who knew what a “Thermomix” was on one hand. In 2016 the product is almost a household name but most certainly not in every household.
A product manufactured by Voerwork in Germany since 1971, it began it’s journey in Australia when a Perth based businesswoman, Grace Mazur, was successful in winning the exclusive rights to distribute the product across Australasia.
How this single distributor working from a very humble beginning in Perth has created a multimillion dollar business selling an incredibly expensive blender, is almost part of Australian legend in 2016 – it is a story that has been told and retold in kitchens across the country. The story is often told with an intent to ridicule the circa $AUD 2000 price tag but more and more of these expensive blenders (apparently we’re not supposed to call them that but it feels good… blenders…expensive blenders!!)
are being sold across the country and more and more people are being exposed to the product every day through reality cooking shows, celebrity endorsements, social media and through their friends.
The distribution of Thermomix has not been without its challenges, such as the furore which erupted from the Thermomix community when a new product was launched without warning, leaving customers who had purchased the older model furious that they had not been given the option to wait for a new model (or get an incentive to stay with the old model) however even with such setbacks the product still has an amazing following in Australia and it looks like it is here to stay (at least for now)
How you buy the Thermomix is actually a big part of the story. You can’t just pop into a shop and buy one, no, that would be too easy! The only way you can get one is to attend a personalised demonstration, usually in your own home where a personal consultant will cook you dinner and regale you with tales of how the Thermomix will change your life! Sound familiar? Well you may be forgiven for thinking of how Tupperware has been made famous with a similar model that has, for the most part, been very successful over the past 50+ years.
Thermomix, like Tupperware and others before it, are employing an extremely exclusive distribution model targeted at “cashed up home cooks” who like to be associated with a premium, expensive, exclusive product, perhaps to make themselves feel better or perhaps to impress their friends and appear to be more exclusive and premium people through association with the product (Iacobucci 2014)
The exclusivity of the product is part of the allure and the deliberate choice of an exclusive, direct distribution channel is a key part of the marketing strategy. This is a high cost, high involvement product that requires personal selling – it simply would not work if the product was widely distributed via retail stores and left in the hands of potential “non believers” such as the kitchen gadget guy at the local Harvey Norman.
The personalised, in home product demonstration engages the customer and moves them into a higher involvement in the purchase decision making process (Broniarcyzk & Griffin 2014), it creates an environment where consumers are able to break down perceived risk barriers and experience the product for themselves, thereby taking them one step further down the path to purchase (Hoffman & Bateson 2011) and potentially becoming the next Thermomix evangelist on the street. This simply would not be possible via other distribution channels such as Intensive, multi channel distribution across a large network of retailers (such as the model employed by most blender manufacturers!)
The key to a good marketing mix, especially as far as “Place” is concerned, is to make sure you have the right product, in the right place at the right time (Iacobucci, 2014.) The Thermomix marketing mix pulls customers towards the product with a mix of social media, product placement and promotion and then seals the deal through the personalised relationship with the consultant evangelist who literally comes into your home to sell and then personally deliver the product direct to your kitchen.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner – Thermomix Style!
By Jeremy O’Brien. WordPress ID Jeremyob. Deakin ID 216224841
Image via http://slideplayer.com/slide/5190933/ Atomic Dog Publishing, 2007
Iacobucci, D. (2014) Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, South-Western, Cenage Learning, Mason, Chapters 2, 14
Broniarczyk, SM. and Griffin, JG. (2014) Decision difficulty in the age of consumer empowerment, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24 (4), 608-625…
Hoffman, K & Bateson, J 2011, Services Marketing. Concepts, Strategies, & Cases, 4th Edn, South-Western Cengage Learning, Mason, Ohio (Ch. 4)