Founded in 1983, Rococo Chocolate Company has been in the chocolate industry for well over two decades now. This company was founded by Chantal Coady, in Chelsea, London. Ms. Coady had a great passion and love for chocolates, and though she didn’t have massive knowledge about them, her passion, hard work and determination has led and contributed to the current success of Rococo Chocolate Company. This has been achieved through years of hard work, coalitions, research, improvement and generation of ideas and more importantly, advanced knowledge concerning chocolate, cocoa and chocolate products.
For the 28 years that Rococo Chocolate Company has been in business, we have made major changes and improvements, and this is the main reason behind our plan to go international. Looking at our success briefly, we have over the years acquired a number of recognition and awards for example in 2008, Academy of Chocolate awards specially awarded us for ‘Changing the way people think about chocolate’.
We have made major steps from being a simple Chocolate products’ retailer to being a diverse company, integrated with chocolate schools, delivery, diverse chocolate products and various accessories, such as kitchen accessories. We also manage events such as weddings, parties, dinners etc.
The other major steps we have taken that are worth noting is that we have successfully branched from our Chelsea retail shop to Belgravia, Marylebone, Chelsea store and the current head office at Unit c41, Parkhall Road Trading Estate, West Norwood.
The main motivation n behind our plan to spread our wings has been catapulted by the success we have had around London and Britain at large, secondly, there has been a steadily rising demand for our chocolate products and services from new and old loyal customers. This means that our product quality (which we highly emphasize on improving and maintaining) and marketing strategies have been improving, which is an added advantage to us and a good service to our actual and potential customers.
Good marketing strategies, quality improvement on our products, good customer relations all backed up by efficient service delivery from our well trained members of staff has played the pivotal roles to our achievement and market acceptance by our clients. Through good relationship with the clients, we have had steady services and products output per financial year, and have been able to serve more customers with ease. Comparing to last financial year, products sales have raised by 9.8% while services output have improved by 12.7%.
With the above analyzed statistics, the Human Resource Department has decided to explore the external-international market by promoting and hopefully conquering the international chocolates’ market. The HRM department therefore has a major role to play, to ensure that the products and services successfully penetrate into the international market without flopping, the reason being once a product fails to penetrate into a new market the first time it is introduced, the potential product consumer may develop a cautious approach towards it, making it difficult for marketers to convince them to use the product/service (Feig, 1997).
By the international market, Rococo Chocolate Company has a marketing plan to start by marketing its products in South Africa.
As Rococo Chocolate Company, we have a number of objectives that we seek to fulfill by marketing our products and services to the international market. in the International market, we hope to start by spreading out our wings to South Africa.
The objectives behind our venture as a company is to reach out and serve new unexplored markets, and at the same time, offer quality services to the new market. Our aim is that we seek to conquer new markets.
The main objective in this venture is to expand our market base for our products to the outside market. When doing this, it is important to note that the other regions we hope to launch our products have other players in the same industry as we Rococo Chocolate Company, who joined the market and the target field before us. The marketing strategy that we will employ therefore will seek to convince the potential customers to switch to our products and services. As it has been noted from the earlier markets we have served before and the volume of output per financial year that we have been putting across, our products have a potential market base because people have been accepting them and embracing them day by day, and this means that they are of good quality. When marketing them on the international front however, it will call for using different marketing strategies depending with the culture, customs and attitude of the target markets. People are different, and what works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else. One of our main objectives will therefore be to market our products and services in new markets, but based on different marketing styles and strategies.
Once we start penetrating these new markets. It’s our second objective to provide quality products and services to our customers. Rococo Chocolate Company always seeks to provide quality services and products to its customers and this is part of our Mission Statement. This is because we believe that providing our esteemed customers with quality services and giving less attention to profits’ maximization will consolidate our customers to loyalty. This has a long-term advantage because every organization seeks to build customer loyalty and confidence. The advantageous thing about loyalty in customers is that they ensure that business keeps on flowing even through the lean months (off-peak seasons), enable and assists an organization to plan its production budget and also develop a one-on-one relationship between them (customers) and the service providers (Cohen, 2005).when there is a loyal customer base between a business and its clients, service becomes more effective.
Through customer loyalty, Rococo Chocolate Company develops a third objective, which is to make sure it maintains its customer base. Maintaining customers involves providing quality products and services to them, listening to and reacting to their suggestions, complaints and recommendations. This is the only way to make a customer feel appreciated and with a sense of belonging, and this is one objective that Rococo Chocolate Company seeks to achieve.
Lastly, in our objectives we seek to ensure that all our new and old markets will be fully supplied and serviced and that the markets will not at any one time go subserviced. This will be achieved through efficient supply of products and services to all the markets and ensure that they are served in accordance to their attitudes and likes, preferences, cultures and demands.
With these objectives at hand, they will act as guidelines in our next steps in this products’ marketing plan.
Assessment of the market environment
According to various management scholars and writers, before embarking on marketing a product, it is always vital and crucial to conduct a market assessment and analysis (William, 2001). Market assessment is a critical and detailed analysis of the actual, potential or targeted market for a particular product. It helps the marketers to determine from which angle and perspective they will use in approaching their marketing activities.
In my marketing plan, I am looking at and assess the market plan through two perspectives: the internal factors, and the external factors.
These are factors within the company that will have to be considered when marketing our products to the external/international market. In these factors, we will consider the following aspects.
This is the prime consideration when marketing the products. Through this, we will consider the amount of finances that has been allocated to the marketing of our products. The finance department will have to make sure that there are enough funds to effectively market our products in the target markets. Different markets will require different amount of marketing finances, due to the states’ state of economy, inflation levels, the cost of living and the states legislation and policies for example taxation on foreign investors and foreign products. For this reason, we will consider and assess all the above stated finance-related factors in the entire region that we intend to market our products. This will help Rococo Chocolate Company to establish a starting point for marketing.
Marketing staff members
We have to consider, as a company, how many marketing members of staff we have to send to all the regions that we want to market our products. In external/international marketing, it will be a good idea to employ marketers from the target market in their respective areas. However, there will have to be staff members from the producing company, because they play a supervisory role as they are more conversant with the products, company policies and strategies, comparing to the new marketing recruits (Feig, 1997). In deploying marketing staff to these regions, we will have to select the ones with most marketing experience, vigor and energy to do the work. Since they will be the company’s image out there, we will also have to select the best qualified ones, with good marketing skills, discipline and good character (Scott, 2010). This task will be carried out by the Human Resource Department, since they have a profile to every staff member.
Due to difference in the economic state and income levels per person in the different target markets, the Finance Department in conjunction with the Marketing Department will have to set prices for our products and services in relation to the economic status of the countries. The reason is because due to different economic status of the target markets, different states will have different priorities to different products. This affects the products that one is marketing, especially if the product is not a basic need and a necessity for a person’s survival (Schnaars, 1997). For example, the African Market will have to have lower prices, due to their economic status, demand and the market’s general attitude towards chocolate.
In company policies, this will have to look at the legislations, constitution and the mission statement of our company. Due to the fact that we are in the chocolate business to quench a market’s thirst and at the same time make profits, we will also have to review our plans to make sure that we also realize our set goals, by making the desired profits and serving the market fully. Setting extremely high prices for products may maximize on profits but dissatisfy the market, while setting extremely low prices may satisfy the market but starve the profits, leading to closure of the business. The two aspects will therefore have to be brought to equilibrium, to satisfy the desired, potential and the actual market, as well as the producers (Weinberg, 2009).
The cost of production of our products and services will have to be considered when marketing our products. this will not only be used as a unit to determine price settings but it will also be used as a determinant to establish whether or not the target market will be in a position to purchase our products (Kotler & Keller, 2011). According to marketing writers and scholars, the reason is because; there are certain levels of pricing that a company cannot go below. Since this is a profit-making business, loss leader pricing strategy will not be a good idea to use in selling our product, even when marketing (Kotler & Armstrong, 2009).
When marketing products, we will have to consider the brand of the specific products brands when marketing them. Since we have different products for different markets, we will have to maintain a specific standard for some of the products. In these products, we will use premium pricing method, for example the Organic Milk Chocolate should not sell below € 12.50 while the Cardamom Organic Chocolate can sell for as low as € 4.25. The brand of the products also affects pricing, as it affects the market.
The above-discussed factors should be considered when reaching out for the new market, as they will determine the success and full exploitation of a target market by the company.
A number of external factors will be considered too, when reaching out for a new market. These factors are the following.
Political factors to consider when targeting a new market are the political stability of the target state, their legislations and policies. This is because what may be considered legal in a given state may be illegal to another, and what may be considered a petty offense may be a crime in another (Cohen, 2005).
The economic stability of a country and its citizens will determine how much disposable income the citizens have to purchase the products. Developed and developing countries for example, will have more disposable income to purchase our products, comparing to the underdeveloped states, which have to struggle to meet their basic needs (William, 2001). Economic status of the country will determine the pricing of the products, and the pricing strategy.
Different societies have different attitudes to products. Our products especially, being sensitive ones (chocolates and confectioneries) will require convincive marketing, especially to customers who have a cautious approach to chocolates. This will affect the products’ demand and acceptability in the market.
Since we market our products on the internet too, we will have to establish the means by which a customer will pay for his product and how the product will be delivered. Customers pay for the products through MasterCard, Maestro, JCB and Visa. These services must therefore be in the target markets, for E-business transactions to take place, and all these services are present in South Africa.
Business policies and legislations
These include the laws and legislations set for foreign investors in the target markets. Some states may have high taxes for foreign investors, for example the Far East market, while others have low taxes, for example majority the African states.
In our marketing, we intend to sell our products to everyone, irrespective of their economic status. For example, we have some products targeting high income earners for example the Organic Milk Chocolate at € 12.50, Fiori Cioccolata at € 10.25 etc, while others target every market, for example the Chilli Pepper Organic Dark Chocolate at € 4.25 , Cardamom Organic Chocolate for € 4.25 etc.
In specific marketing intend to start marketing our products in South Africa.
These are results we seek to achieve by marketing our products, and by marketing, we seek to conquer new markets, increase the output per product, and diversify our market. By diversifying we seek to establish our company in South Africa, which seems from research to be a promising market.
Diversifying a market for one’s products is important to the company because it makes sure that the company does not go bankrupt in case one region fails, or faces an economic crisis. Other crises that may arise and affect a market include legislative changes and natural disasters (Calkins, 2008).
In marketing and selling the products, we should try the competitive pricing strategy when we are penetrating into the market. This is pricing of a product based on the prices of our competitors. By this, we will set a product price slightly below their prices for some products and slightly above theirs in the products that have a slightly higher demand. This will be the marketing strategy for the common products such as Cardamom Organic Chocolates.
In the products that target the higher income earners such as Organic Milk chocolates, we intend to use premium pricing strategy. This is a pricing strategy that seeks to maintain a high price for the products so as to skim the market and maintain a high brand value for the product.
We intend to send two staff members to every state that we hope to market our products. These staff members will recruit 2 more staff members in the states who well assist in marketing our products in these specific markets. This is because using people who are conversant with the state and its’ people’s way of life.
We intend to establish these markets in 12 months, after which we need to have stable output in these markets.
The marketing Budget
Every state will have a manager, a supervisor and two marketers. The manager and the supervisor will be sent from London, while the markets will be recruited from the individual markets. The manager will get a net salary of € 1000 while the supervisor will get € 600 a month. The marketing staff from the individual states will get € 250 per month.
Other expenses such as transport, rent, electricity bills and any other miscellaneous needs will require € 15000 per month. Purchasing of equipment such as kitchen equipment will require, collectively, € 9000. These will only apply once since they won’t be purchased on monthly basis, but their servicing will require € 100. We will also require a vehicle (van) for every state, which will cost an estimated of € 10,000.
These costs will add up to an estimated value of € 53, 500.
Monitoring and evaluation
These are the strategies put in place to determine whether a company is sticking to its plan (Chernev, 2010). In this case, to check whether we stick to our marketing plan, we will use survey to establish whether the target market know about our products and services are whether they are purchasing them.
The other principle we will use to monitor if we are sticking to our plan is the sales in volume of our products. The level of demands for the products will determine our success in marketing these products.
The most critical issue of concern in marketing our products to these states is the Countries’ laws and legislations. The staff members to be flown to these countries must be conversant with the laws because what may be considered legal in one country may be illegal in another. The issue of customers’ perception towards our goods and services should also be considered. This will be determined by the research we carry out, the market research.
After the above described marketing plan is thoroughly scrutinized, it will kick off after the Finance Control Department approves the estimated cost of marketing.
After analyzing the economic conditions, political and social aspects of South Africa, we highly recommend that Rococo Chocolate Company venture into the market. The country has maintained peace for the past two decades after apartheid, and political stability has been getting reinforced. Socially, the state’s citizens, having embraced the urban culture, are a new market for chocolate products, confectionery and pizzas. They will therefore embrace Rococo Chocolates’ products. Economically, the country has been doing well, and majority of the citizens’ economic status fall under middle-class and high-class level, according to Africa’s set standards. The only problem with the country is the fairly present levels of theft. They have however been outdone by the positive aspects, by far.
Growing economies are ideal and the best markets for our products, and this makes South Africa the most appropriate target market for our services and products.
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