Carmex has been making lip balm since 1937. Nevertheless, in the last five years, it has stressed growth and become more competitive. During this time, Carmex has relied on Bolin Marketing to lead its domestic marketing, new product development, international distribution, and online initiatives. As a result, Carmex’s business has more than doubled.

During the last five years, Carmex has seen growth on all fronts. It has extended its core line of lip balm products into new flavors and varieties. It has also expanded into nearly forty international markets. Carmex developed a line of premium lip balms for women, Carmex Moisture Plus, and extended the line to include tinted lip balms. Most recently, Carmex launched a line of skincare products, its first venture outside of lip care. Carmex has used social media tools extensively in developing these initiatives.

Both Carmex® lip balms and recently-introduced skincare products are produced by Carma Laboratories, a family-owned company that has taken pride in connecting with its customers since its founding, 75 years ago. Carma Laboratories focuses on how to do marketing research using Facebook to decide which two of three new possible flavors might be put into quantitative testing. The two key Facebook metrics that will be used in reaching the decision are “likes” and “engagement.” The three Facebook strategies are being considered that are expected to have differing effects on likes and engagement as well as costs: (1) a poll question on Carmex’s Facebook wall, (2) a contest on Facebook, and (3) both a poll and contest.

Discussion Questions

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages for the Carmex marketing team in collecting data to narrow the flavor choices from three to two using (a) an online survey of a cross-section of Internet households or (b) an online survey of Carmex Facebook likers?

2. (a) On a Facebook brand page, what are “engagement” and “likes” really measuring? (b) For Carmex, which is more important and why?

3. (a) What evokes consumers’ “engagement” on a brand page on Facebook? (b) What attracts consumers to “like” a brand page on Facebook?

4. (a) What are the advantages of using a fixed-alternative poll question on Facebook? (b) When do you think it would be better to use an open-ended question?

5. (a) If you had a limited budget and two weeks to decide which two flavors to put into quantitative testing, would you choose a “poll only” or a “contest only” strategy? Why? (b) If you had a sizable budget and two months to make the same decision, which scenario would you choose? Why?

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