What Is The GE McKinsey Matrix And Why It Matters In Business

The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

Understanding the GE McKinsey Matrix

The GE McKinsey Matrix is fundamentally a portfolio analysis.

That is, it compares groups of products with their competitive power and market attractiveness.

The portfolios themselves are comprised of the full suite of products or services that a business offers to the market.

In the context of General Electric, the matrix was created so that the company could analyze the composition of each of its 150 portfolios – otherwise known as strategic business units (SBUs).

The GE McKinsey Matrix allows a large, decentralized company to determine where best to invest its cash.

It does this by allowing the company to judge each SBU according to whether it will do well in the future.

That is, the attractiveness of the industry and the SBU’s competitive strength in that industry.

Drivers of the GE McKinsey Matrix

Before any business can plot their products on the matrix, they must first define both competitive advantage and industry attractiveness.

Competitive advantage may include:

  • Actual market share and market share growth potential.
  • Profit margins, cash flow, and manufacturing costs.
  • Brand equity and customer loyalty.
  • Product or service uniqueness.

Industry attractiveness includes:

  • Market size and the potential for growth.
  • Buyer and supplier power.
  • The potential for new entrants (competition) or substitution with another product.
  • Industry profitability. 
  • Entry and exit barriers.

Structure of the GE McKinsey Matrix

The matrix comprises two axes.

The competitive strength of the individual SBUs is represented on the x-axis while market attractiveness is represented on the y-axis. 

Both competitive strength and market attractiveness are determined by a weighted score calculated from the relevant factors that apply to each.

Each parameter is further divided into three categories – low, medium, and high.

This creates a matrix with a total of nine cells.

To calculate a weighted score for each SBU, follow these steps:

Make a list of factors

What are the competitive strength and market attractiveness features that are most relevant to the organization?

Refer to the previous section for examples.

Attribute weights

These define the relative importance of each factor.

The scale that is used is up to the discretion of the business.

For example, one may use a value of 1 to denote extreme unimportance with a value of 100 denoting extreme importance.

In this case, the individual weights that are assigned to each factor should add up to 100.

Rate the factors

Then, rate the factors according to how well each SBU satisfies them.

Most businesses use a scale of 1 to 10.

For example, one SBU may score a 6 for industry size while a smaller industry may score a 3.

Calculate total scores

To arrive at a total score for each SBU, multiply the weight assigned in step two with the rating assigned in step three.

Market segmentation for one SBU that is weighted at 17 and rated at 5, for example, receives a score of 85.

Repeat the process for each factor and sum each score to arrive at a total score.

Plot the scores on the matrix

With the total scores identified for industry attractiveness and competitive strength, the x and y-values of each SBU can be plotted on the matrix using a circle.

The size of each circle should correspond to how much revenue the small business unit generates.

That is, an SBU that generates 40% of company revenue should be twice the size of an SBU that generates 20% of revenue.

Note also that the nine cells are divided by a diagonal line running from the bottom left to the top right of the matrix.

When a product is placed on the matrix, its position relative to the diagonal line determines the strategy that should be used.

Products that fall above the diagonal line tend to be better performers with high growth or cash flow potential.

Conversely, products that fall below the line tend to have little potential for growth and are costing the company money to sell.

Strategic implications of the matrix

With each SBU plotted on the matrix, the business can choose one of three strategies according to whether it has low, medium, or high competitive strength and industry attractiveness.

Let’s take a look at these below.

Grow/invest strategy

A growth strategy is prudent when a product has a competitive advantage in an attractive market.

Investment in growth and a focus on maintaining strengths is a priority. Profitability can also be increased with an emphasis on productivity.

This is a position every business aspires to and is characterized by moderate to high industry attractiveness and moderate to high competitive strength.

The biggest challenge for businesses in this area of the matrix is a lack of assets or capital that prevents growth or hinders it from maintaining a dominant market position.

For those who can afford to do so, growth strategies may involve increasing production capacity, targeting new consumer demographics, or mergers and acquisitions.

Hold strategy

A hold strategy occurs when a product has both average competitive advantage and market attractiveness.

The way forward, in this case, is a little more difficult to define than in the previous example.

Depending on the outlook of the company, it could either shift to a more attractive industry or strive to improve its competitive position in the current industry.

If the business decides to improve the current competitive position of one of its SBUs, it should only do so if there is capital leftover from investments in the grow/invest strategy

Harvest strategy

If the product is at a competitive disadvantage and resides in an unattractive industry, a harvest strategy should be employed.

This means investing just enough capital to keep the SBU afloat and continuing to invest as long as the investment made does not exceed the cash that is generated.

Business units that are making a loss, on the other hand, should be sold as soon as possible or when the cash value is at its peak.

These strategies ensure that low-viability products do not negatively impact other, more profitable SBUs.

Advantages of using the GE Matrix

The GE Matrix is a great tool that introduces a more scientific method to business strategy.

Indeed, the GE Matrix helps clarify the business landscape and, based on a set of weights, identify the best strategy to execute.

Thus, its strengths definitely lie in the fact that the GE Matrix is a simple yet more scientific tool to assess the business world beyond gut or instinct.

Disadvantages of using the GE Matrix

The main issue with the GE Matrix is the fact that the way to attribute weights can become very subjective.

Indeed, based on how we attribute weights in analyzing the business landscape, that might also result in a complete misrepresentation of what the business world looks like.

In addition, the GE Matrix, while it introduces a “scientific” element, it also has significant drawbacks, given the fact that it looks at the business world in a linear fashion.

This simplification works to simplify the execution of a strategy, yet it can also represent a significant limitation.

That is why the GE Matrix needs to be balanced with other heuristic-based tools and also on the intuition of the business person or team of people who is in charge of the strategy and execution.

In short, the GE Matrix is a great tool to avoid getting stuck, prioritize a strategy and enable execution.

Yet, to be effective, it needs to be balanced with heuristics and intuition about the business landscape.

Key Highlights About The GE McKinsey Matrix

  • Development and Purpose: The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s by General Electric in collaboration with McKinsey & Company. It serves as a portfolio management tool to guide a corporation in prioritizing its investments among different business units or strategic business units (SBUs).
  • Portfolio Analysis: The matrix compares different products or services within a company’s portfolio based on their competitive strength and market attractiveness. It helps companies assess which SBUs are worth investing in for future growth.
  • Factors and Attributes: Competitive advantage factors include market share, growth potential, profit margins, brand equity, etc. Industry attractiveness factors include market size, growth potential, competition, and industry profitability.
  • Matrix Structure: The matrix consists of two axes: competitive strength (x-axis) and market attractiveness (y-axis). Both axes are divided into low, medium, and high categories. The matrix is divided into nine cells.
  • Scoring and Positioning: Each SBU’s competitive strength and market attractiveness are scored based on relevant factors and attribute weights. The scores determine the SBU’s position on the matrix, often represented by circles. The size of the circle indicates revenue generated.
  • Strategic Implications: SBUs falling above the diagonal line indicate growth potential and profitability. Those below the line may need to be divested or managed with a harvest strategy. The matrix suggests three strategies: grow/invest, hold, and harvest.
    • Grow/Invest Strategy: Used for SBUs with high competitive strength and high industry attractiveness. Focus on growth, maintaining strengths, and increasing profitability.
    • Hold Strategy: Applied when an SBU has average competitive advantage and market attractiveness. Decision to shift to a more attractive industry or improve competitive position.
    • Harvest Strategy: Employed for SBUs with low competitive strength and low industry attractiveness. Minimize investment while generating cash or divest if the SBU is not viable.
  • Advantages of the Matrix: The GE Matrix provides a structured approach to business strategy, offering a more scientific method than relying solely on instinct. It clarifies the business landscape and helps identify the best strategic approach.
  • Disadvantages of the Matrix: Assigning weights to factors can be subjective, potentially leading to misrepresentations. The matrix’s linear perspective oversimplifies the business world, necessitating balance with heuristic-based tools and business intuition.

GE McKinsey matrix vs. BCG matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix is another tool businesses use to guide long-term strategic planning across multiple business units.

The matrix was developed by Bruce D. Henderson in 1968 and served as the template for the GE McKinsey matrix in the following decade.

As a result, the two matrices are similar but with a few key differences which are outlined below.


The GE matrix is a multifactor portfolio matrix that tells a firm which strategy to follow based on the position a product occupies in the grid.

The matrix has nine cells that account for varying degrees of industry attractiveness and competitive advantage.

The earlier BCG matrix, on the other hand, is more primitive.

It features only four cells and categorizes products according to their relative market share and growth rate. Each cell, or quadrant, is described as follows:

  1. Dogs – low market share/low market growth.
  2. Question marks – low market share/high market growth.
  3. Stars – high market share/high market growth.
  4. Cash cows – high market share/low market growth.

Level of detail

The GE McKinsey matrix provides concrete instruction on how a business can calculate industry attractiveness and competitive advantage or business unit strength.

As noted earlier, the organization lists important factors and then assigns a weighting to each.

The resultant calculation then yields x and values that can be plotted on the matrix to determine the best course of action moving forward. 

The BCG matrix does not clarify how market share and market strength should be calculated.

In fact, one of the main criticisms of the matrix is that it is too simplistic.

Smaller businesses with market shares that are too small to quantify may also find that the BCG matrix is unsuitable for their needs.


The nine-box GE matrix features three different strategies that in some interpretations are color-coded in the following way:

  • Grow/invest (green) – any product that falls in a green box is representative of a business in a good position.
  • Hold (amber) – with the way forward more difficult to define, these boxes require the skilled decision-making of experienced personnel.
  • Harvest (red) – these products require close attention because they have the potential to negatively impact the company’s bottom line.

Strategies here are based on strong, average, and weak competitive advantage and high, medium, and low industry attractiveness.

Conversely, the less versatile BCG matrix is mostly concerned with identifying the business units where investment should be prioritized.

Market share and market growth are only measured in terms of high or low, which makes the resultant strategy far more general and imprecise:

  • Dogs – in most cases, these products should be removed from the portfolio because they are a drain on resources. 
  • Question marks – as the name suggests, these are products that may or may not respond to increased investment. Some may turn into stars, while others will turn into dogs or fall somewhere in between.
  • Stars – or products that require ongoing investment to sustain market dominance.
  • Cash cows – these are mature, well-established products that should be “milked” as long as possible.

GE matrix vs. Ansoff matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing and whether the product is new or existing.

Where the GE matrix is a useful tool to prioritize specific business units, the Ansoff Matrix helps to make sense of whether to prioritize four kinds of strategies (market penetration, market development, product development, or diversification) to grow the business and create competitive moats.

Indeed, the Ansoff matrix will help to assess whether it’ll make sense to leverage new or existing products while looking into new or existing markets, and based on that, it devises four different types of strategies:

GE Matrix and SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

With the GE Matrix, we can build a prioritization pipeline to understand what initiatives and products the company can push forward.

On the other hand, by coupling the GE Matrix with the SWOT analysis, you can assess and prioritize initiatives by looking at the internal context (strengths and weaknesses) and external context (opportunities and threats).

Through the four SWOT elements:

This might give you a further qualitative assessment of the business landscape in which you can prioritize your business initiatives.

GE Matrix and Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces.

The GE Matrix can also be coupled with another tool, like Porter’s Five Forces, to assess the competitive landscape through five main elements:

With this further quantitative assessment, you can define what the competition looks like in the current market’s landscape and what initiatives make more sense based on this external environment!

GE matrix of Apple

Grow/invest strategy

Apple is in the enviable position of operating in several highly attractive industries with a strong competitive position.

Contributing around 50% of total company revenue and $42.62 billion in Q3 2022 alone, the iPhone remains the company’s most dominant product. 


Despite the lucrative iPhone market, however, there is still room for improvement.

Around 72% of all smartphones run on Android, but research shows that Apple is gaining traction in the critical Chinese market.

Apple vs. Android

Almost 10 million iPhones were shipped to the country – the largest smartphone market in the world – beating out a host of Chinese-owned competitors.

The company’s services category is experiencing the most growth and investment.

The category, which includes Apple TV+, AppleCare, Apple Pay, and the App Store (among others) earned $19 billion in Q3 2022 with the company reporting over 900 million paying subscribers.

These numbers represent an increase of $1 billion compared to Q3 2021 or an extra 155 million paying customers.

Hold strategy

Apple has been the leading tablet seller between 2011 and 2022 with the iPad enjoying 37.5% of the global market.

However, market analyst firm Canalys reported recently that the market itself has experienced an 11% year-over-year decline and has shrunk for the past four years. 

The reasons for this decline are likely to be multifaceted. One explanation is that the increasing size and functionality of smartphones have made them a more attractive alternative.

Another reason is that the popularity of the market is not sustainable.

Adoption of the tablet exploded initially, but with many holding onto their iPads for several years before considering another purchase, growth in the market has stalled and reversed.

The future of the iMac and associated peripherals were also unclear for a time.

But almost inexplicably, the iMac is one of the few success stories in a rapidly shrinking PC market.

Apple saw a 40.2% increase in PC sales for Q3 2022 over the same quarter in 2021.

However, the company only enjoys moderate competitive strength and is placed fourth for sales behind powerhouses Lenovo, HP, and Dell.

Harvest strategy

In some respects, the iPod and its many derivations made Apple what it is today.

In the modern era, however, the market is almost non-existent and the iPod touch remains the only product the company still sells.

Considering the rise of Spotify and other streaming services, Apple also announced in mid-2019 that iTunes would be discontinued after 18 years.

The product would be harvested with the release of macOS Catalina and replaced by three apps with different purposes: Apple TV, Apple Podcasts, and Apple Music.

While iTunes would be no more on Apple devices, the company noted that its revolutionary iTunes Store would live on and exist on the sidebar in the new Music app.

Downloaded movies and TV shows, on the other hand, would intuitively be found in the Apple TV app.

iTunes itself would also still be available for Windows users.

GE matrix of The Coca-Cola Company

Grow/invest strategy

The original and iconic Coca-Cola beverage is still the company’s top seller around the world.

However, 43% of this market is now comprised of low or no-sugar derivates such as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Life, and Diet Coke.

Coca-Cola’s dominant position in this market has never been in doubt, but it has been forced to develop new products that appeal to more health-conscious consumers.

This growth strategy appears to have paid off, with Zero Sugar enjoying double-digit growth in 2018 in a wider market forecast to enjoy a CAGR of 7.8% until 2028.

Coca-Cola has also made several acquisitions as it seeks to take advantage of this trend.

The company prefers to acquire smaller, ready-made start-ups such as Honest Tea, Fairlife Dairy, and Suja Life LLC – a manufacturer of processed juices and kombucha.

Hold strategy

While many of Coca-Cola’s carbonated beverages enjoy a competitive advantage in attractive markets, the long-term viability of these brands is uncertain.

From a peak of 50 gallons per person in 1999, per capita soft drink consumption in the United States has been on a slow but steady decline to now sit at 39.3 gallons per person.

This trend, as we noted above, is the result of more health-conscious consumers. But it is also important to note that the input prices for carbonated soft drinks have also increased recently. 

Higher oil prices, for example, have seen demand for alternative fuels such as ethanol increase. Since ethanol is made using corn and sugar products, the price for these products has also increased.

One product in particular – high-fructose corn syrup – is used in both ethanol and soft drink production.

It is unlikely the carbonated soft drink market will ever decline to a point where it becomes unprofitable.

Nevertheless, the extent to which the market declines (and whether growth in the healthy drink market can compensate) remains to be seen.

Harvest strategy

The Coca-Cola Company has been in continuous operation for over 130 years and has had its fair share of failed or questionable products. 

In Japan in 2020, the company debuted its Go: Good line of canned soup available in vending machines and served hot.

The product is billed as a healthier, low-salt alternative, but it nevertheless occupies the low market share, low market attractiveness area of the GE matrix.

Coca-Cola was also forced to harvest its Dasani line of bottled water in the United Kingdom.

Whilst Dasani has been relatively successful in the United States, English consumers reacted unfavorably when they realized that water was sourced from a tap in London and not from the virgin forest on the bottle’s label.

GE McKinsey matrix of Volkswagen

Volkswagen is a German automotive manufacturer that was founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front with a mission to make vehicles more affordable for working-class citizens.

The company is best known for its iconic Beetle, with its 80-year production run finally ending in Mexico in July 2019.

Today, Volkswagen is a dominant force in the automotive industry with a portfolio of 10 core brands across sports cars, passenger cars, motorcycles, and commercial vehicles.

The company also manages additional brands and business units that offer vehicle financing and leasing.

Let’s take a look at some of these brands in the context of the GE McKinsey matrix below.

Grow/invest strategy

Volkswagen Passenger Cars is by far the company’s most valuable brand with 2.719 million vehicles sold in 2021

Some 453,000 of these sales were electric vehicles, representing an increase of 95% over the previous year.

Like most of its competitors, Volkswagen is investing heavily in electric vehicles.

In releasing its Q1 2022 results, the company announced a growth strategy to achieve a 10% market share of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) in the United States.

To achieve this, the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand will feature 25 separate models by the end of this decade with $7.1 billion slated to be invested in BEV research, development, and manufacturing.

This investment forms part of the company’s New Auto – Mobility for Generations to Come strategy which also encompasses fully networked autonomous transportation.

Hold strategy

Seat is a brand that may be classified as average market attractiveness and competitive advantage.

The brand was the fourth most popular for Volkswagen in 2021 with 494,000 vehicles sold, with the vehicle more popular in Germany and the United Kingdom than in its home country of Spain.

Elsewhere, Seat has had mixed success. In a similar way that Skoda gained a foothold in India, Seat has been a strong representative of VW in North Africa.

However, a move to enter the Chinese market with a small, low-cost EV was ultimately thwarted by a looming recession, reduced governmental incentives, and continued COVID-19 lockdowns.

Despite sales in the brand increasing by 10% in 2021 with the addition of a new sports model, the brand reported an operating loss of €371 million.

Seat president Wayne Griffiths blamed the loss on a semiconductor shortage which resulted in a decrease in production volume.

Harvest strategy

While Volkswagen has not harvested any specific brands in their entirety, it did announce in April 2022 that around 60 petrol and diesel models across several brands would be scrapped to focus on more profitable electric vehicles.

The measure was also seen as a reversal of the company’s previous global dominance strategy, where it flooded the unprofitable North and South American markets with new models amidst heavy financial losses.

This quasi-harvest strategy will allow Volkswagen to remove the less profitable models of some brands and keep the products with higher margins and higher potential.

The so-called “survivors” will then receive more attention, more investment, and more focus and become integral parts of the company’s sustainable EV growth strategy moving forward.

GE matrix of Nestle

Nestle is a multinational food and drink conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland.

Nestlé is a powerhouse of consumer brands spanning baby foods, bottled waters, powdered drinks, cereals, coffee, drinks, pet care, and more. The company made almost $92 billion in 2018, with high margins on its powdered and liquid beverages (coffee, cocoa, malt beverages, and tea categories).

The company, which owns 29 brands with sales of at least $1 billion and more than 2,000 brands in total, sells products such as baby food, bottled water, breakfast cereals, pet food, snacks, coffee, healthcare nutrition, and confectionery.

With thousands of brands in multiple industries and markets, we consider Nestle to be an ideal candidate for a GE-McKinsey matrix analysis.

The results of this analysis posit that a brand has three potential courses of action according to where each is positioned in the matrix itself.

These alternatives are the grow/invest, hold, and harvest strategies.

Let’s take a look at each of these with respect to some of Nestle’s brands.

Grow/invest strategy

Growth or investment strategies are suited to products that have a competitive advantage in an attractive industry that may be characterized by size, growth potential, profitability, and the presence of entry barriers.

As the largest food company in the world, it is perhaps no surprise that Nestle has many product brands in this section of the matrix.

Nestle’s instant coffee brand Nescafe is, according to Forbes, its largest brand with a valuation of $20.4 billion alone

Nescafe has dominated the instant coffee market since it was introduced in the Second World War to U.S. soldiers, using its previous expertise in milk processing to offer a product now available in more than 180 countries.

Hold strategy

Hold strategies are reserved for products characterized by average competitive advantage and market attractiveness.

As a result, a specific course of action is a little harder to identify and depends on the specific ideals of the company in question.

Nestle Milo is a chocolate-flavored malt drink that is normally mixed with milk or hot water.

The drink was invented in Australia in 1934 where it remains the most popular drink in a relatively small market.

However, Milo is also a staple in Malaysia and popular in other parts of South Asia such as Singapore and Japan.

Milo has been released in other countries such as Portugal, Brazil, and the United Kingdom to limited success and is not available at all in the lucrative United States market.

In other areas, it competes directly with fellow Nestle drink brand Nesquik. 

As of February 2022, Nestle is looking to expand its presence in the popular South Asia region with a new soy-based version of Milo.

Since over 40% of Thai consumers consume plant-based diets, this may be a way for the brand to increase its market share and industry attractiveness in the country and indeed the broader region.

Harvest strategy

When a product resides in an unattractive industry at a competitive disadvantage, a harvest strategy should be employed.

Products that break even should be dedicated just enough capital to remain afloat, while loss-making products should be discontinued.

Nestle has a long list of products that have been discontinued for whatever reason.

A low sugar version of its popular white chocolate Milkybar was pulled from sale in 2020 just two years after it was launched because of a disagreeable taste.

The company also phased out a line of smoothies after four months in a joint-venture with juice company Boost.

Other products to have suffered the same fate include hot cocoa mixes, power bars, and flavored mineral waters. 

Nestle has several brands in this area of the GE matrix for a couple of reasons.

Like any sizeable company, its failed innovations are more numerous than other companies with smaller budgets.

But there is a far more significant reason: Nestle is a multinational food company in a market that now demands healthy and nutritious food. 

Since much of Nestle‘s success has been built on confectionery and other unhealthy foods, the company has found it difficult to shift its brand perception among consumers.

The company even went as far as acknowledging that over 60% of its food and drink options did not meet a “recognized definition of health”. 

In response to the shift toward healthier food, Nestle sold its entire confectionery business in the United States in 2018 to Ferrero for $2.8 billion.

Key takeaways from Nestle case study:

  • Nestle is a multinational food and drink conglomerate corporation headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland. The company owns 29 brands with sales of at least $1 billion and over 2,000 brands in total.
  • Nestle’s instant coffee brand Nescafe is a dominant brand in over 180 countries around the world. Flavored malt drink Milo is a brand that has average market attractiveness and competitiveness since most sales are confined to Asia and Oceania.
  • As a company built on the back of unhealthy food item sales, Nestle has several brands in the harvest strategy of the GE matrix. These include power bars, cocoa mixes, confectionary, and smoothies.

Nestle SWOT Analysis

Another way to look at Nestle is to look at it through the SWOT Analysis.

Nestlé is a large multinational food and beverage manufacturer with more than 2000 brands spread across 197 countries. Some of Nestlé’s well-known brands include Nescafe, Kit-Kat, Purina, Aero, Butterfinger, Maggi, and Haagen-Dazs. Originally a producer of infant food in 1867, it is now considered to be the world’s largest food manufacturer.

GE matrix of P&G

P&G has a portfolio of brands that resonate with consumers spanning five main units and it focuses on their growth, while also innovating by the creation of new products. P&G generated over $80 billion across these brands. Its strength stands by implementing a growth strategy focused on five pillars: portfolio, superiority, productivity, constructive disruption and organizational design.

In this case study, we’ll analyze the consumer-packaged-goods multinational Procter & Gamble.

Grow/invest strategy

Procter & Gamble owns 21 brands that generate more than $1 billion in sales. Examples of these brands (which can be found in each of the company’s five segments) include:

  1. Beauty – Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, SK-II, Olay, and Pantene.
  2. Grooming – Braun and Gillette. 
  3. Health Care – Crest, Oral B, and Vicks.
  4. Fabric & Home Care – Ariel, Downy, Gain, Tide, Cascade, Dawn, Fairy, and Febreze.
  5. Baby, Feminine & Family Care – Luvs, Pampers, Always, Bounty, Charmin.

Procter & Gamble has looked to capitalize on its dominant position in numerous markets with innovations that solve everyday problems. In 2021, nine of the company’s products were featured in the top 25 of market research firm IRI’s New Product Pacesetters list. 

The list details the most successful non-food product launches and featured new P&G products that were variations of billion-dollar brands. Examples included Dawn Platinum Powerwash, Febreze LIGHT, Febreze Auto, Crest Whitening Emulsions, Tide Hygienic Clean, and Olay Regenerist Collage Peptide 24. 

Hold strategy

While Braun and Gillette are both billion-dollar brands, they only possess a moderate competitive advantage in the United States and, together with women’s brand Venus, contributed just 8% of the company’s 2022 net sales.

In the aforementioned razor market, Gillette and Venus rank #3 and #6 for sales with Braun not featuring in the top 10. These brands face stiff competition from the likes of Panasonic ($62.1 billion in sales in 2021) and Philip Morris International ($31.4 billion) whose diverse product ranges compete for sales.

Whether the company should hold these brands to maintain market share or invest in their growth is not clear. Research firm Prescient & Strategic Intelligence predicts the industry will experience a modest CAGR of 0.96% until 2030 and the industry has seen many new entrants as consumer tastes have evolved.

Nevertheless, with two brands in the top 10 in North America and billion-dollar brands in other segments, P&G may be content to hold Braun, Gillette, and Venus for now.

Harvest strategy

The harvest strategy has been effective for P&G in consumer goods where the lifecycle of a product can be relatively short. Perhaps counterintuitively, some of the company’s most successful products are those that have been harvested. 

For example, Pampers diapers has been a staple brand for years and the company has maintained its market dominance via constant innovation. Tide, as we mentioned earlier, is another brand that is refined periodically to maintain its competitive advantage.

Nevertheless, Procter & Gamble has sold several brands over its history to focus on core products and improve performance. Here are some examples:

Key takeaways

  • The GE McKinsey Matrix is a nine-cell portfolio matrix, originally developed for GE as a means of screening their large portfolio of strategic business units.
  • The drivers of the GE McKinsey Matrix for a product portfolio are competitive strength and market attractiveness.
  • The position of a product on the matrix ultimately decides whether the business should focus on growth or on minimizing investment and selling.

What is GE Matrix used for?

The GE Matrix is a strategic tool that is useful for assessing and prioritizing the development of a portfolio of products for specific business units. The matrix helps corporations prioritize their investments among their business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

Is GE matrix better than BCG?

The strength of the BCG Matrix is its simplicity. Both tools help prioritize the investment activities of corporations toward products that can lead to business growth. Whereas the GE Matrix is a bit more complex, the BCG Matrix is a more straightforward tool. Both can be extremely useful for corporations to identify business opportunities and products worth pursuing.

What are the components of GE matrix?

The main components of the GE Matrix comprise:

  1. Competitive advantage, which may include:
  • Actual market share and market share growth potential.
  • Profit margins, cash flow, and manufacturing costs.
  • Brand equity and customer loyalty.
  • Product or service uniqueness.

2. Industry attractiveness that includes:

  • Market size and the potential for growth.
  • Buyer and supplier power.
  • The potential for new entrants (competition) or substitution with another product.
  • Industry profitability. 
  • Entry and exit barriers.

Related Business Matrices

SFA Matrix

The SFA matrix is a framework that helps businesses evaluate strategic options. Gerry Johnson and Kevan Scholes created the SFA matrix to help businesses evaluate their strategic options before committing. Evaluation of strategic opportunities is performed by considering three criteria that make up the SFA acronym: suitability, feasibility, and acceptability.

Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix

The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps businesses achieve goals over the short and long term. Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned. With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.

Kepner-Tregoe Matrix

The Kepner-Tregoe matrix was created by management consultants Charles H. Kepner and Benjamin B. Tregoe in the 1960s, developed to help businesses navigate the decisions they make daily, the Kepner-Tregoe matrix is a root cause analysis used in organizational decision making.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that helps businesses prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance, named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the matrix helps businesses and individuals differentiate between the urgent and important to prevent urgent things (seemingly useful in the short-term) cannibalize important things (critical for long-term success).

Action Priority Matrix

An action priority matrix is a productivity tool that helps businesses prioritize certain tasks and objectives over others. The matrix itself is represented by four quadrants on a typical cartesian graph. These quadrants are plotted against the effort required to complete a task (x-axis) and the impact (benefit) that each task brings once completed (y-axis). This matrix helps assess what projects need to be undertaken and the potential impact for each.

TOWS Matrix

The TOWS Matrix is an acronym for Threats, Opportunities, Weaknesses, and Strengths. The matrix is a variation on the SWOT Analysis, and it seeks to address criticisms of the SWOT Analysis regarding its inability to show relationships between the various categories.

GE McKinsey Matrix

The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

Growth Matrix

In the FourWeekMBA growth matrix, you can apply growth for existing customers by tackling the same problems (gain mode). Or by tackling existing problems, for new customers (expand mode). Or by tackling new problems for existing customers (extend mode). Or perhaps by tackling whole new problems for new customers (reinvent mode).

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Kraljic Matrix

The Kraljic matrix is a framework that analyzes and classifies a company’s supplier base. Kraljic’s matrix is used by purchasers to maximize supply security/minimize supply risk and reduce costs. In so doing, it encourages them to see procurement as a strategic activity and not one that is simply transactional. The Kraljic matrix is divided into four quadrants based on varying degrees of supply risk and profit impact. Each quadrant defines a type of supply item and a strategy that reduces risk and cost. The quadrants encompass leverage items, bottleneck items, non-critical items, and strategic items.

Product-Process Matrix

The product-process matrix was introduced in two articles published in the Harvard Business Review in 1979. Developed by Robert H. Hayes and Steven C. Wheelwright, the matrix assesses the relationship between The stages of the product life cycle (from ideation to growth or decline) and The stages of the process (technological) life cycle.

Mendelow Stakeholder Matrix

The Mendelow stakeholder matrix is a framework used to analyze stakeholder attitudes and expectations and their potential impact on business decisions.

Requirements Traceability Matrix

A requirements traceability matrix (RTM) is a vital part of the lifecycle of any embedded system, helping organizations ensure their products are safe and meet intended standards. While the matrix has long been associated with medicine, technology, and engineering, the approach works well for any project regardless of industry. A requirements traceability matrix is a tool used to identify and maintain the status of project requirements and deliverables.

Value/Effort Matrix

The value/effort matrix is a feature prioritization model used to build effective product roadmaps. The value/effort matrix allows product managers to prioritize their product backlog using a confident, structured approach. The product team learns how to plan an effective roadmap, identify boundaries of work, and differentiate between needs and wants.

Decision Matrix

A decision matrix is a decision-making tool that evaluates and prioritizes a list of options. Decision matrices are useful when: A list of options must be trimmed to a single choice. A decision must be made based on several criteria. A list of criteria has been made manageable through the process of elimination.

Cash Flow Statement Matrix


Grand Strategy Matrix

The grand strategy matrix was created by American business theorist Paul Joseph DiMaggio in 1980. The matrix, which first appeared in the Strategic Management Journal, was initially used as a strategic option tool for managers.  The grand strategy matrix helps organizations develop feasible alternative strategies based on their competitive position and the growth of their industry.

Read Also: RAPID FrameworkRACI Matrix3×3 Sales MatrixValue/effort MatrixSFA matrixValue/Risk MatrixReframing MatrixKepner-Tregoe Matrix.

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