IQOS Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

In this case study, we will analyze the IQOS Marketing Strategy for 2024 and explore the dynamics of digital marketing within the tobacco industry. As the tobacco market evolves, companies like IQOS are leveraging innovative tactics to engage their target audience effectively and position their brand for success.

IQOS, a heated tobacco product developed by Philip Morris International (PMI), has experienced significant growth in recent years. Sales of IQOS increased from 500,000 units in 2019 to 1,200,000 units in 2020 after the implementation of Point-of-Sale (POS) marketing strategies. This remarkable increase highlights the effectiveness of IQOS’s promotional tactics in driving consumer demand.

A notable aspect of IQOS’s marketing approach is its commitment to inclusivity. Approximately 70% of unique IQOS marketing items feature models from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, showcasing the brand’s dedication to representing different communities. This approach not only fosters inclusivity but also allows IQOS to resonate with a wider range of consumers.

To ensure the success of their marketing strategies, PMI emphasizes building strong relationships with retail partners. By closely collaborating with their partners, PMI gathers valuable insights on market trends, customer preferences, and competitor activities. This customer-centric approach positions IQOS as a brand that listens to and understands its target audience.

The implementation of IQOS Point-of-Sale marketing strategies has been a game-changer for PMI. The efficacy of these tactics in boosting sales demonstrates the power of targeted marketing at the POS. However, challenges may arise in complying with marketing restrictions at the POS due to limited government assistance in implementing legislation related to IQOS marketing.

PMI’s marketing strategies aim to attract non-smokers to IQOS, particularly targeting influential groups such as politicians, doctors, and events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, the tactics employed by PMI have faced criticism for potentially misleading consumers and reaching children and young people. These concerns were further exacerbated by IQOS’s involvement in promoting its product at the Tokyo Olympics, raising questions about PMI’s intentions and their role in the tobacco epidemic.

As we delve deeper into this case study, we will explore various aspects of IQOS’s marketing strategy. We will analyze their digital marketing approach, product positioning, customer engagement strategies, and competitive analysis. Additionally, we will investigate the influence of IQOS marketing on policymakers and the scientific community.

Stay tuned for the subsequent sections of this case study, where we will examine the role of science in IQOS marketing, assess its global impact, and provide key insights and findings. Through a comprehensive analysis, we aim to shed light on the multifaceted nature of IQOS’s marketing strategy and its implications in the tobacco industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • IQOS sales experienced a significant increase after the implementation of Point-of-Sale marketing strategies.
  • IQOS’s marketing approach showcases inclusivity by featuring models from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • PMI’s strong retail partnerships provide valuable insights for market trends and customer preferences.
  • Government assistance in implementing legislation related to IQOS marketing may be limited, posing compliance challenges.
  • PMI’s marketing strategies have faced criticism for potential misleading tactics and their impact on children and young people.

Digital Marketing in the Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry has embraced digital marketing as an essential tool for reaching its target audience and implementing effective marketing strategies. Leveraging various digital platforms and techniques, tobacco companies have been able to establish a significant online presence and engage with consumers in unprecedented ways.

Statistics reveal the pervasive influence of digital marketing in the tobacco industry. In Indonesia, for example, at least half of adolescents aged 13-15 have seen tobacco marketing online, with posts suggesting e-cigarettes as glamorous and must-have gadgets for 8% and 60% of users, respectively.

Facebook, one of the most popular social media platforms globally, has emerged as a hotspot for tobacco marketing. In India, 47% of bidi industry marketing occurs on Facebook, with an alarming 47% of users having smoked their first bidi before their 10th birthday.

Furthermore, the prominence of tobacco marketing on Twitter has witnessed a significant shift in recent years. Promotional posts for heated tobacco products have doubled between 2016 and 2021, transitioning from commercial tweets to organic content that aids viral marketing.

It’s not just social media platforms that play a significant role in tobacco marketing. The entertainment industry also contributes to the exposure of tobacco imagery to millions of young viewers. A study found that 60% of the 15 most popular streaming shows among 15- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. contain tobacco imagery, reaching approximately 25 million young individuals.

Product placements in popular shows are not uncommon. For example, Season 4 of the Netflix series “Formula 1: Drive to Survive” showcased tobacco-related imagery in approximately 33% of its broadcasted minutes due to sponsorships from British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International.

Tobacco Industry Spending (US) Targeting Young People Emerging Industry Tactics
$8.2 billion spent on advertising and promoting cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in 2019 Social media platforms leveraged to target young people, with influencers promoting tobacco products without disclosing remuneration According to the WHO, stricter monitoring of tobacco marketing practices and stronger marketing restrictions are necessary to counter emerging industry tactics

The tobacco industry’s marketing strategies have also evolved to focus on brand promotion rather than specific products. Utilizing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, tobacco companies aim to enhance their image and weaken marketing restrictions.

However, the global tobacco epidemic demands stricter monitoring and regulations. Research on social media use among young people highlights the significant role digital platforms play in shaping consumer behavior and interactions with tobacco marketing content. The need for stronger marketing restrictions under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is paramount.

As digital marketing continues to evolve, it is crucial to monitor and regulate the tobacco industry’s practices to safeguard vulnerable populations, especially young individuals, from the harmful effects of tobacco marketing.

Product Positioning and Brand Development

Effective product positioning and brand development are crucial elements of IQOS’s marketing strategy. By strategically identifying and promoting unique selling points, IQOS has managed to differentiate itself from competitors in the heated tobacco product market.

IQOS’s journey began in 2015 with a successful pilot in Nagoya, where the market share for heated tobacco products reached 0.7% by the end of the year. As the product gained traction, the market share in Nagoya increased significantly to 5.2% in 2016, with approximately 1 million people converting to heated tobacco.

By 2017, IQOS had already amassed an impressive user base of 5 million users, capturing market shares of 13.9% in Japan and 5.5% in Korea. The launch of IQOS 3 in 2018 further propelled the brand, increasing the number of users to a staggering 6.9 million.

IQOS’s growth didn’t stop there. By 2019/2020, IQOS had expanded its reach to 13.6 million users across 49 countries, solidifying its position as a global leader in the heated tobacco market. The impressive growth is also reflected in the financial success of IQOS, with the second quarter of 2019 generating approximately $1.53 billion in revenue from reduced-risk products.

Furthermore, IQOS’s impact on Philip Morris’s revenue is undeniable. In 2019, IQOS sales contributed to a 10% revenue boost for the company, with revenue from the European market skyrocketing from $65 million in 2018 to $182 million in 2019.

One significant factor that has contributed to IQOS’s success is its ability to effectively position its products and establish a strong brand presence. The brand’s unique selling points, such as reduced health risks compared to conventional cigarettes and a wide range of flavor options, have resonated with consumers.

IQOS’s brand development has also been bolstered by its social media presence. The #IQOS hashtag on Instagram boasts over 540,000 posts, while content related to IQOS has been viewed over 179 million times on Instagram and Twitter. This digital exposure has further solidified IQOS’s position as a leading brand in the market.

To reinforce IQOS’s product positioning and brand identity, the company has strategically employed various marketing tactics at the point of sale. In the stores assessed, a staggering 98.5% had IQOS/HeatSticks marketing inside, highlighting the brand’s strong retail presence. Additionally, 17.3% of stores had exterior marketing, further showcasing the brand to potential consumers.

IQOS’s product positioning is also reflected in its pricing strategy. The average price per pack of HeatSticks is $6.40, slightly higher than the price of $6.08 for Marlboro Red cigarettes, indicating that IQOS positions its products as premium offerings.

IQOS’s marketing efforts are not limited to product positioning alone. The brand has also focused on differentiating itself from competitors by leveraging other marketing channels. Interior marketing for other tobacco products was found in 98.5% of the stores assessed, while e-cigarette marketing was present in 46 of the 51 stores that sold e-cigarettes. Among stores with interior marketing, 28.8% promoted IQOS as a healthier or improved alternative to traditional cigarettes.

IQOS’s success in product positioning and brand development can also be attributed to its engagement with retailers and salespersons. The study revealed that 100% of retailers with IQOS had special displays, compared to only 17.9% of those selling HEETS only. Furthermore, 73.3% of IQOS retailers interacted with specific IQOS salespersons, showcasing the brand’s commitment to providing personalized and informed customer experiences.

The positive attitudes expressed by retailers and participants towards IQOS, with 72.1% considering it ‘less harmful,’ further validates IQOS’s successful product positioning and brand development strategies.

IQOS Market Share Growth

Year Market Share in Nagoya (%) Users Market Share in Japan (%) Market Share in Korea (%)
2015 0.7 N/A N/A N/A
2016 5.2 N/A N/A N/A
2017 N/A 5 million 13.9 5.5
2018 N/A 6.9 million N/A N/A
2019/2020 N/A 13.6 million N/A N/A

IQOS Point-of-Sale (POS) Marketing Strategies

Philip Morris International (PMI) employs a range of effective marketing strategies at the point of sale (POS) to promote IQOS and enhance brand visibility. These strategies focus on capturing customer attention, driving engagement, and ultimately increasing sales.

One key strategy utilized by PMI is the implementation of eye-catching displays in specialty stores and online platforms that sell IQOS devices. These displays are designed to attract customers and showcase the sleek design and innovative features of the IQOS device, making it stand out among competitors.

The use of special promotions is another effective approach employed by PMI to boost brand visibility and customer engagement. Through collaborations with retailers, PMI offers exclusive deals and discounts on IQOS devices and HEETS, the specially designed tobacco sticks for IQOS. These promotions create a sense of exclusivity and urgency, encouraging customers to make a purchase.

Strong retailer relationships play a crucial role in the success of IQOS marketing. PMI actively engages with retailers to ensure the proper placement of IQOS products within stores. This includes strategic positioning near youth-oriented merchandise, such as popular snacks or electronic gadgets, to capture the attention of potential customers. By placing IQOS devices and HEETS in high traffic areas, PMI maximizes brand exposure and increases the likelihood of customer conversion.

Moreover, PMI’s engagement with retailers goes beyond product placement. They interact with specific IQOS salespersons, providing them with extensive training and product knowledge. This empowers the salespersons to effectively engage with customers, answer their questions, and address any concerns, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.

To incentivize retailers and drive sales, PMI offers financial incentives based on HEETS sales and provides price discounts on HEETS for customers. This not only motivates retailers to actively promote and sell IQOS products but also ensures that customers perceive HEETS as a value-for-money option compared to traditional cigarettes.

Overall, PMI’s POS marketing strategies for IQOS focus on creating brand visibility, fostering customer engagement, and ultimately driving sales. By combining eye-catching displays, special promotions, strong retailer relationships, and effective sales incentives, PMI is able to effectively position IQOS in the market and capture the attention of potential customers, contributing to its success in the industry.

POS Marketing Strategies Statistics
Average price of a HEETS package 30.2 Shekels (SD = 2.7)
Average price for the least expensive cigarette pack 27.4 Shekels (SD = 1.5)
HEETS priced on average higher than cigarettes 9.5% more expensive
Retailers with signage indicating the minimum age to purchase tobacco products 66.7%
Retailers with minimum age signage specific to purchasing HTPs 40.0%
Retailers placing cigarettes near youth-oriented merchandise 73.3%
Retailers placing HEETS near youth-oriented merchandise 66.7%
Retailers placing cigarettes within 1 meter of the floor 60.0%
Retailers placing HEETS within 1 meter of the floor 60.0%
Retailers with posted advertisements on their premises 66.7%

Implications of Legislation on IQOS Marketing

The legislation surrounding IQOS marketing has significant implications on the strategies employed by Philip Morris International. In particular, marketing restrictions, the POS display ban, and plain packaging requirements have reshaped the landscape of advertising and promotion for IQOS heated tobacco products.

Compliance with legislation presents both challenges and opportunities for IQOS’s marketing strategies. On the one hand, the restrictions limit the freedom to communicate the product’s benefits and unique selling points. On the other hand, these restrictions have prompted innovative approaches to engage with consumers within the confines of the legislation.

Marketing Restrictions

The marketing restrictions imposed on IQOS are designed to protect public health by limiting the exposure and appeal of tobacco products, particularly to vulnerable populations such as youth. These restrictions affect various aspects of marketing, including advertising, sponsorships, and promotional activities.

The IQOS marketing team has had to navigate through the complexities of legislation to find creative ways to reach consumers while complying with the restrictions. This has led to a shift towards digital marketing channels, as well as a focus on targeted campaigns that effectively communicate the product’s features to adult smokers.

POS Display Ban

The ban on point-of-sale (POS) displays has had a profound impact on IQOS marketing. The removal of product visibility at the point of purchase has necessitated a reimagining of strategies to create brand awareness and attract consumers.

IQOS has responded to the POS display ban by investing in alternative marketing tactics, such as enhancing the visual appeal of the product packaging and leveraging online platforms to engage with consumers. By leveraging digital channels, IQOS can still effectively communicate its value proposition and differentiate itself from traditional tobacco products.

Plain Packaging Requirements

The introduction of plain packaging requirements further challenges IQOS’s marketing efforts. With the removal of distinctive branding elements, IQOS must find new ways to stand out and capture consumers’ attention.

To overcome the limitations imposed by plain packaging, IQOS has focused on crafting compelling messaging and employing engaging visuals. By aligning the marketing content with the target audience’s interests and preferences, IQOS can create a memorable brand experience despite the restrictions.

In conclusion, legislation, including marketing restrictions, the POS display ban, and plain packaging requirements, has significantly impacted IQOS marketing strategies. Compliance with these regulations has spurred innovation and necessitated a shift towards digital channels and targeted campaigns. By staying adaptable and resourceful, IQOS has managed to communicate its value proposition while adhering to the evolving legal environment.

IQOS Direct Mail and Email Marketing Analysis

Analysis of direct mail and email marketing campaigns plays a crucial role in understanding the effectiveness and impact of IQOS’s promotional strategies. By evaluating content and image portrayal, insights can be gained regarding IQOS’s marketing approach and its ability to reach and influence its target audience.

Content Analysis

Content analysis allows for a comprehensive examination of the messaging used in IQOS’s direct mail and email marketing campaigns. It involves analyzing the language, tone, and key selling points of the promotional materials. This analysis helps determine the effectiveness of the marketing messaging in conveying the benefits of heated tobacco products (HTPs) and attracting potential consumers.

Image Portrayal

Image portrayal is a critical aspect of marketing campaigns. It entails assessing the visual elements used in IQOS’s direct mail and email marketing materials. By examining the representation of diverse groups and the overall visual appeal, insights can be gained into the brand’s efforts to connect with different demographics and create a positive brand image.

Examining the direct mail and email marketing campaigns provides valuable insights into IQOS’s overall marketing strategy. The content analysis allows for an evaluation of the persuasive messaging used, while the image portrayal analysis sheds light on the brand’s visual representation. These analyses help identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, enabling IQOS to refine its marketing approach and effectively target its desired audience.

Israelis Americans
Past-month HTP media exposure via advertisements (%) 58.2 48.0
Past-month HTP media exposure through non-advertisement sources (%) 49.7 30.7
Past-month HTP media exposure through social connections (%) 51.5 33.6

Influence of IQOS Marketing on Policymakers

Leaked documents have shed light on the efforts of Philip Morris International (PMI) to influence policymakers and shape public opinion regarding their flagship product, IQOS. These documents reveal a comprehensive marketing strategy aimed at garnering widespread acceptance of IQOS through various tactics.

PMI’s IQOS marketing approach involves targeting not only consumers but also key stakeholders such as policymakers, medical professionals, and businesses. By exerting influence over these influential groups, PMI aims to create a favorable environment for IQOS adoption and implementation.

One of the key marketing tactics employed by PMI is the engagement of advertising agencies, social media promoters, event coordinators, media content producers, brand managers, and talent recruitment companies. Through these partnerships, PMI orchestrates well-crafted marketing campaigns that span multiple continents, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North and South America.

A crucial aspect of IQOS marketing is the involvement of artists, musicians, social media influencers, and celebrities in promotional roles. By associating IQOS with popular figures, PMI aims to enhance the product’s appeal and credibility, leveraging the influence of these individuals to sway public opinion and consumer behavior.

The core message of IQOS marketing is its portrayal as a smoking cessation device, with the acronym “I Quit Ordinary Smoking” becoming widely associated with the brand. By positioning IQOS as a healthier and cleaner alternative to traditional cigarettes, PMI aims to change the perception of smoking and encourage smokers to make the switch.

Despite claims of being smoke-free and vapor-free, IQOS does emit smoke due to the nature of its aerosol. However, PMI’s marketing efforts focus on emphasizing the product’s perceived health benefits and smoke-free attributes, further contributing to its widespread acceptance.

In addition to health-related messaging, IQOS marketing targets middle-aged smokers by presenting the product as an elegantly fashionable lifestyle choice. The product design, packaging, and retail locations are positioned as high-end luxury, drawing inspiration from brands like Apple and incorporating Tiffany’s distinctive blue color in branding. This strategy seeks to appeal to consumers’ desire for stylish, trendy, and high-tech products.

IQOS marketing campaigns extensively feature the product alongside food and beverages, creating an association with pleasure and enjoyment. The tobacco flavors are named after colors with descriptors like menthol, citrus, nuts, dried fruit, vanilla, cocoa, and herbs, further enhancing the sensory and pleasurable experiences associated with IQOS.

Through these marketing efforts, PMI aims to influence policymakers by shaping public opinion and creating an environment of widespread acceptance for IQOS. By portraying IQOS as a desirable, stylish, and healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, policymakers may be more inclined to support lenient regulations or even advocate for the product’s benefits.

However, it is important to note that studies indicate that IQOS usage often complements traditional cigarette smoking rather than leading to cessation. This raises questions about the efficacy of IQOS as a smoking cessation device and highlights the need for policymakers to critically evaluate the claims made by PMI in their marketing campaigns.

Overall, the influence of IQOS marketing on policymakers highlights the complex interplay between industry interests and public health considerations. Policymakers must carefully evaluate the information and evidence provided by PMI to ensure that regulatory decisions prioritize public health while considering the potential benefits and risks associated with the widespread acceptance of IQOS.

Science and IQOS Marketing

As the marketing of IQOS, Philip Morris International’s flagship heated tobacco product, continues to evolve, it is crucial to critically examine the scientific research behind its claims and the potential biases that may influence these findings.

Leaked documents have raised concerns about covertly funded research conducted by Philip Morris Japan, casting doubt on the credibility of PMI’s claims about IQOS and its ability to reduce smoking and related harms. This covert funding raises questions about the objectivity and independence of the research, highlighting the need for transparency and scrutiny.

One of the primary assertions made by IQOS marketing is the concept of “reduced risk” products. However, it is essential to approach these claims with caution and consider the possibility of biased science. The reliance on industry-funded studies and the potential influence of commercial interests may compromise the credibility and reliability of the research.

Despite the ongoing regulatory oversight by the FDA, it is essential for independent researchers and public health organizations to conduct rigorous evaluations of IQOS and other heated tobacco products. By conducting unbiased studies and assessments, we can ensure that the claims made by the industry are thoroughly examined and substantiated.

Ongoing surveillance of IQOS marketing practices and their impact on various consumer subgroups, such as tobacco non-users, women, and young people, is crucial. The potential risks and unintended consequences of promoting heated tobacco products need to be continuously monitored and addressed through evidence-based policies and regulations.

Summary of Key Statistics:

Statistics Pre-MRTPA (%) Post-MRTPA (%) Post-Court Decision (%)
Total Ad Occurrences 39.3 48.8 12.0
Total Expenditures 8.6 30.0 61.5
Online Display Ad Occurrences 73.1
Print Media Expenditures 99.6
Pre-MRTPA Visuals Featuring Women 8.6
Post-MRTPA Visuals Featuring Women 21.5

Global Impact of IQOS Marketing

Philip Morris International (PMI) has strategically expanded the marketing efforts of its flagship product, IQOS, beyond Japan, aiming for a significant global marketing impact. Through various tactics, including government outreach, industry influence, and strategic partnerships, PMI has actively sought to establish IQOS as a dominant player in the tobacco industry.

Research conducted by Caputi et al. in 2016 revealed a growing public interest in heat-not-burn tobacco products, including IQOS, evidenced by a significant increase in internet search queries. This heightened global interest prompted PMI to capitalize on the potential market by launching IQOS in multiple countries.

One of the initial markets where IQOS gained considerable traction was Japan. According to research by Tabuchi et al. in 2017, the prevalence of heat-not-burn tobacco product use in Japan ranged from 25% to 27%. PMI leveraged this positive response to establish IQOS as a market leader, leveraging the absence of e-cigarette competition due to a prior ban.

Estimates suggest smoke-free products, including IQOS, will constitute half of PMI’s revenues by 2025, reflecting the growing global impact of their marketing efforts. This strategic shift aligns with PMI’s goal of transitioning to a majority smoke-free business by 2025.

To bolster their global marketing impact, PMI invested over $6.0 billion in research, product development, and commercial initiatives for IQOS between 2008 and 2018. This significant investment paved the way for the introduction of IQOS in various countries, including the United States, where the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its sale in April 2019.

Research studies, such as those conducted by Berg et al. in 2021, have analyzed the advertising efforts and marketing strategies employed by PMI for IQOS. These studies investigate how the marketing landscape evolves pre and post-FDA authorization, shedding light on the industry influence wielded by PMI.

PMI’s global marketing impact is not limited to advertising alone, as they have also engaged in government outreach, lobbying efforts, and industry influence tactics. These efforts have allowed PMI to navigate regulatory landscapes across different countries and establish partnerships that promote the adoption of IQOS.

The introduction of IQOS in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, served as a strategic test market, signaling PMI’s intention for nationwide expansion in the United States. This expansion reflects the company’s commitment to reaching a wider consumer base and solidifying IQOS as a global leader in the heated tobacco products market.

Global Availability and Consumer Behavior

IQOS has been introduced to over 70 countries worldwide, reflecting the company’s commitment to expanding its global reach. The estimated number of IQOS users increased from 2.9 million in 2017 to 13.2 million in 2022, resulting in a 25% decrease in global cigarette unit shipment volume. These figures demonstrate the substantial impact of IQOS marketing on consumer behavior and choice.

One notable aspect of IQOS marketing is the “free trial” policy offered to customers, allowing them to experience the product for 30 days before making a purchase. This approach influences consumer behavior, tapping into the psychological principles of loss aversion and habit formation. By creating a sense of ownership and familiarity, the free trial policy encourages consumers to continue using IQOS and make repeat purchases.

Sensory branding also plays a crucial role in IQOS marketing. Through the clever use of scents and flavors, PMI enhances the customer experience, cultivates product recognition, and aids in attracting affluent consumers with higher incomes. Sensory stimuli evoke emotional responses, making the product appealing and creating a connection between the consumer and the brand.

The Impact on Global Health and Regulation

As PMI continues to expand IQOS marketing globally, it has faced scrutiny from public health organizations and regulatory authorities. The National Institutes of Health awarded a $1.2 million grant to investigate PMI’s marketing strategies for IQOS, highlighting concerns about the potential public health impact of these tactics.

The US FDA is currently reviewing PMI’s application to sell IQOS with a “reduced harm” label in the United States. This review and potential approval would have significant implications for the global perception of IQOS and could shape regulations in other countries.

Legislation has already been enacted in various countries, including Israel, to regulate tobacco products, including IQOS. This shift towards increased regulation signifies the growing recognition of the impact of IQOS and the need to protect public health.

PMI’s marketing influence extends beyond advertising and consumer behavior, as their efforts also impact policymakers. The suspension of an international marketing campaign for IQOS on Instagram by PMI was a direct response to findings that the marketing had influenced youth users. The influence on policymakers highlights the need for robust regulation to prevent harmful effects on vulnerable populations.

Year Number of IQOS Users Global Cigarette Unit Shipment Volume Decrease
2017 2.9 million
2022 13.2 million 25%

Key Findings and Insights

Through an in-depth analysis of IQOS marketing strategies, several key findings and insights have emerged, providing valuable knowledge about the tactics employed by Philip Morris International (PMI) to position IQOS in the highly competitive tobacco industry.

One of the key findings is that IQOS made its debut in test markets in Japan and Italy in 2014 and has since expanded its availability to 52 countries globally. This highlights the international reach and success of the IQOS brand.

Another significant finding is the substantial investment in advertising IQOS, with $1.29 million spent on fall 2019 alone. This demonstrates PMI’s commitment to promoting and popularizing the IQOS product.

IQOS advertisements have strategically appeared in high-end fashion and tech magazines such as GQ, Men’s Journal, Popular Science, Vogue, and Wired. This placement in reputable publications targets a specific target audience, aligning IQOS with a sophisticated and trend-focused demographic.

PMI recognized the importance of social media in marketing IQOS, launching Facebook and Instagram profiles for the U.S. market in November 2019. Although the profiles initially had minimal followings, online searches related to IQOS have gradually increased since then, indicating growing interest and engagement.

One of the key insights is that the IQOS device and HeatSticks are priced at a minimum of $80, positioning IQOS as a premium and exclusive product within the heated tobacco market.

The nicotine levels in IQOS aerosol are revealed to be 57%-83% of a conventional cigarette, while IQOS HeatSticks contain higher nicotine levels compared to a traditional cigarette. This finding underscores IQOS’ effectiveness as a nicotine-delivery device.

Notably, IQOS aerosol contains higher nicotine levels than some older generations of e-cigarettes but lower than newer generations, making it a potentially attractive alternative for smokers seeking reduced nicotine intake.

Examining Instagram posts related to heated tobacco product (HTP) marketing highlights that 92.28% of posts primarily focused on product display, with posts predominantly featuring the device only (61.45%). In comparison, brand promotion and other content categories accounted for a smaller percentage of posts, indicating a clear emphasis on showcasing the product.

A univariate negative binomial regression model indicated that Instagram posts featuring HTP heatsticks received significantly fewer likes compared to posts with devices, accessories, and device-heatstick sets. This finding suggests that users are more drawn to complete HTP representations rather than individual components.

Multivariate negative binomial regression models revealed that HTP-related Instagram posts with model or lifestyle elements received a higher count of likes. Additionally, posts without explicit product advertising information also garnered greater engagement. These findings emphasize the role of authentic and relatable content in driving user engagement.

PMI’s marketing efforts for IQOS in the United States have been substantial, with a total spending of $4.9 million on paid advertising during the first two years. Print ads accounted for 99% of IQOS’ paid advertising budget, while online and mobile channels represented the greatest circulation, with 92% of the budget allocated to this channel. These insights demonstrate PMI’s targeted approach to reach their desired audience through various media.

The study also highlights the demographic interest in IQOS, with 38.6% of U.S. youth and young adults expressing interest in the product. Young adults, men, and racial/ethnic minorities are identified as more likely users of heated tobacco products, indicating specific target demographics for future marketing efforts.

PMI’s strategic objective to make smoke-free products, like IQOS, contribute to half of its revenues in the next four years emphasizes the company’s commitment to promoting reduced-risk alternatives.

In conclusion, the analysis of IQOS marketing strategies provides valuable insights into PMI’s efforts to position IQOS in the tobacco industry. These insights encompass various elements such as advertising expenditures, target demographics, social media engagement, and product positioning. As IQOS continues to expand globally and attract millions of users, these findings act as a compass for understanding the factors driving its success in the highly competitive tobacco market.


In conclusion, the IQOS marketing strategy implemented by PMI in the tobacco industry demonstrates a comprehensive and targeted approach to reach a diverse audience. The analysis of IQOS marketing tactics provides valuable insights into the various strategies employed by PMI to promote their heated tobacco product.

The data reveals that IQOS advertising heavily relied on online display platforms, accounting for 73.1% of ad occurrences. Additionally, print media received significant investment, with 99.6% of ad expenditures attributed to this channel. Pre-MRTPA, the marketing headlines focused on themes such as “future,” “real tobacco,” and “innovation or technology,” while post-MRTPA themes highlighted “not burned or heat control,” “reduced exposure,” and “distinct from e-cigarettes.”

Visuals in IQOS advertisements predominantly showcased the product alone but increasingly featured women post-MRTPA. The choice of media channels also evolved, with pre-MRTPA emphasizing “technology” while post-MRTPA included “women’s fashion” and “entertainment or pop culture/gaming.” The IQOS advertising campaign in fall 2019 had a budget of $1.292 million and targeted higher-end fashion and tech magazines exclusively.

The marketing strategies also extended to social media platforms, with IQOS social media profiles having a following of 308 on Instagram and 226 on Facebook as of April 2020. Influencers played a significant role in promoting IQOS through aggressive online marketing on platforms like Instagram and YouTube.

Overall, the analysis of IQOS marketing provides valuable insights into the tactics and strategies used by PMI in the tobacco industry. These findings contribute to a deeper understanding of the marketing landscape surrounding heated tobacco products and its impact on consumer perceptions and intentions.


What is the IQOS Marketing Strategy for 2024?

The IQOS Marketing Strategy for 2024 focuses on digital marketing, product positioning, and engagement with policymakers to reach a broad audience and establish IQOS as a leading brand in the tobacco industry.

What are the key elements of the IQOS marketing strategy?

The key elements of the IQOS marketing strategy include product positioning, understanding consumer behavior, market segmentation, competitive analysis, and innovative marketing tactics.

How does digital marketing play a role in IQOS’s strategy?

Digital marketing allows IQOS to effectively reach their target audience and communicate the value and benefits of their products. It encompasses various platforms and techniques to engage consumers and drive sales.

How does IQOS position its products and develop its brand?

IQOS identifies unique selling points and differentiates itself from competitors to strategically position its products. Brand development is also crucial to establishing a strong presence in the market.

What are the point-of-sale marketing strategies used by IQOS?

IQOS utilizes eye-catching displays, special promotions, and strong retailer relationships to enhance brand visibility, drive customer engagement, and increase sales at the point of sale.

How does legislation affect IQOS marketing?

Legislation surrounding point-of-sale display and packaging regulations presents challenges and opportunities for IQOS’s marketing strategies. Compliance with these regulations requires clear guidance for retailers to ensure POS compliance.

What is the analysis of IQOS direct mail and email marketing campaigns?

The analysis of IQOS direct mail and email marketing provides insights into the overall strategy and approach of IQOS. Content analysis evaluates messaging and effectiveness, while image content analysis examines visual elements and representation of diverse groups.

How does IQOS influence policymakers and gain acceptance?

IQOS has engaged in government outreach, lobbying efforts, and industry influence tactics to influence policymakers and cultivate acceptance of their products among medical professionals, businesses, and consumers.

Are there concerns about the science behind IQOS marketing claims?

There are concerns about covertly funded research conducted by IQOS, which raises questions about the credibility of their claims regarding reduced smoking and related harms.

How does IQOS’s marketing impact other countries?

IQOS’s marketing strategies extend beyond Japan, with evidence suggesting attempts to cultivate influence in other countries. This includes government outreach, lobbying efforts, and industry influence tactics to expand the reach of IQOS.

What are the key findings and insights from the analysis of IQOS marketing strategies?

The analysis of IQOS marketing strategies provides valuable insights into the tactics used by IQOS and its parent company, Philip Morris International, to position IQOS in the tobacco industry and attract new consumers.
About the author

Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.