Thornton & Ross looks to lift market penetration

Thornton & Ross looks to lift market penetration
Mick Cox spent more than a decade with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare before joining Thornton & Ross

1 September 2020 - Deborah Wilkes

Increasing the market penetration of recently-acquired brands will be a key element of the growth strategy at Thornton & Ross, says Mick Cox, who has just joined the company as vice-president for consumer healthcare in the UK.

Speaking to OTCToolbox, Cox stresses the importance of “growing the market penetration of brands rather than stealing a little bit of market share here and there”.

Thornton & Ross will achieve this goal, says Cox, by “working with trade customers” and “showing consumers the benefits that the company’s products can deliver to their lives”.

“If we meet the needs of our consumers in a way that is either different or better than the competition, then we have good opportunities to grow our business,” comments Cox. “My real passion is to make sure that consumers desire the products that we deliver.”

Importance of innovation

Cox also notes the importance of innovation, which he describes as “one of the most important levers we have available”. “Successful innovation is a tight combination of good consumer insights, marketing and technical work,” he observes.

Cox will work closely with Steve Makin who recently joined Thornton & Ross as vice president OTC research and development. Makin spent 17 years with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where his roles included vice president Sensodyne R&D, vice president skin health R&D and vice president pain relief R&D.

Cox also joined Thornton & Ross from GSK where his most recent post was vice-president for business integration within the Consumer Healthcare division. Before that, he was vice-president and global business leader for GSK’s Sensodyne oral health brand, which now has annual sales in excess of GBP1 billion (USD1.3 billion).

His remit at Thornton & Ross is to drive sales growth for the company’s consumer portfolio which includes the Cetraben, Covonia, Hedrin, Nizoral, Oilatum, Savlon and Zoflora brands.

Opportunity to develop Nizoral

Cox cites the Nizoral (ketoconazole) anti-dandruff shampoo as an example of a brand for which penetration could be increased. Nizoral treats the underlying condition rather than just washing away flaky skin, he points out, adding that many consumers in the UK are probably not aware of the brand.

Thornton & Ross’ parent company Stada acquired the rights to Johnson & Johnson's Nizoral two years ago. The deal covered Europe, the Middle East and Africa (click here to read the News story).

At the time, Stada said the active ingredient ketoconazole distinguished Nizoral from purely cosmetic anti-dandruff shampoos, and made it substantially more effective for treating symptoms such as dandruff, redness and itchiness of the scalp and their causes.

Cox says there is also a big opportunity to increase the market penetration of other recently-acquired brands as well as potential to grow the company’s established brands.

Noting that it is too early to comment in any detail on his plans at Thornton & Ross, Cox says the business can be split into three main areas, each of which offers significant opportunities.

The household business led by Zoflora disinfectants has had “a very good run of success”, he says, and is “ideally-positioned for the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond”.

The skincare portfolio offers “huge opportunities to make a difference to people’s lives”, he adds, while the OTC portfolio “meets some fundamental needs of consumers”.

Impact of COVID-19

Commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, Cox points out that the behaviour of consumers is “adapting to the different environment we are all living through”.

“People will be a lot more health aware and self aware going forward, and they will also be more cautious,” he observes. “That will open up opportunities for brands to meet needs that didn’t exist in the past.”

Cox also notes the change in shopping patterns. “Online shopping has increased and the way we shop on the high street may have changed forever,” he says, adding that “manufacturers and healthcare professionals will have to work out how to operate successfully in the new environment”.

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