Listening to the consumer helped the Jacksonville-based Monticello Co. to find a niche for a 40-year old product called Nullo that it had been selling primarily to nursing home and elderly care facilities.
Nullo is a pill that eliminates all body odor, making it helpful to people with incontinence. Company president Henry Dean and vice president Thomas Dean began to notice that teenagers and men in their 20s were buying Nullo, not exactly its target market.
"We got a call from a young guy trying to buy Nullo direct from us, and we asked him what he was using it for," Henry said. "He said, `you must not be a deer hunter.' Nullo was helping these bow hunters get within six feet of a deer without it picking up the human scent."
Eyeing the potential for increased market share, the company put the same product in a camouflage bottle and called it Ghost Scent. First year sales have far exceeded projections.
"We really pioneered that market," Thomas said. "Most other scent elimination products approached the problem from the exterior, and Ghost Scent approaches it from the interior."
Monticello launched the product nationally last year, and both Deans were flattered when the number one scent company in the country copied it. The Monticello Co.'s experience with Nullo illustrates that the ever inventive consumer can create applications for a product that surprise even the product's manufacturer.
The smart company listens and learns.
Sadly, it would appear that the name "Ghost Scent" didn't work out; the current Monticello website only has the brand name Nullo, and the official Ghost Scent website) is belly-up.
If you visit the Monticello website, be sure to read Henry Dean's down-to-earth mission statement, which begins:
"I have read a number of other company's [sic] mission statements to insure [sic] I was fully instructed in the procedure of writing the Monticello Company's mission statement. On each one of them I had to double check that they were not written by the Pope. Anyone who is in the corporate environment knows that if you do not make profits and take care of stockholders, your company[,] or at least your position, will become short lived."
One of these days I've got to get down to Florida to hoist those bottles of 666 with good ol' Henry Dean III.