How A Simple Idea From A Stranger Sold More Colgate Toothpaste

How A Simple Idea From A Stranger Sold More Colgate Toothpaste

In 1950, a random man approached Colgate with an innovative idea.

He approached the toothpaste manufacturer and told them that he had an innovation that would cost them nothing to implement, and one that would cost nothing to deploy.

He told them that this innovation would immediately yield a 44% increase in business. He offered to sell them the exclusive rights to the idea for $100,000. $100,00 at the time was a huge sum. It’s the equivalent of a million dollars today.

Colgate executives were not excited to spend that amount of money . They thanked the man and said that they would get back to him.

A big meeting was called for the marketing team and they were tasked with proposing ideas that would increase business by 44% for little cost.

After two weeks, no useful idea emerged. They called back the man and told him that he has a deal.

After the legalities were completed, and the money was handed over to him; he handed the executives a brown envelope with a small slip of paper.

On this slip were the words: “Make the hole bigger.”

If you increase the diameter of the hold from 5mm to 6mm, the volume of paste squeezed out for a given length of squirt on the brush is increased by 44%. Most users would consume the tube faster and need to buy more.

After this idea got implemented, Colgate sales shot up by 44%. After weeks went by, Colgate implemented a similar idea of increasing the size of the toothbrush. They increased the size by adding more bristles to increase the quantity of toothpaste consumption to increase sales. 

Takeaway: We always try to think of some elaborate strategy to take our businesses to the next level. We deem the simple ideas as useless because they don't take some level intellect to implement. It's these ideas that yield great results if we give them a chance

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