MaxShim Florists: The Marketing Plan

Executive summary

The paper is a marketing plan of MaxShim Florist which deals with floral products. The management of the firm intends to venture into floral designing. The paper identifies the firm’s mission statement, financial and the non financial goals. It also involves an analysis of the current market situation in the US floral market. The marketing strategy to be incorporated in venturing the new market segment is also identified. Various target markets and market segments are also identified. The target market includes the individual and institutional customers. The customers in the identified target market are segmented based on various segmentation variables which include demographic, psychographic and behavioral variables. The marketing strategy also considers the various marketing mix strategies. These include the price, promotion and distribution strategy. The pricing strategy considered is the penetration strategy.

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Other price adjustments such as price, quantity and promotional discounts are also incorporated in the price strategy. The price strategy also entails a price structure of the various floral designs produced by the firm. Direct and indirect distribution strategies are incorporated in the distribution strategy. Direct distribution strategy entails establishment of retail outlets in various regions. Indirect distribution considers use of distribution agents in the foreign market. Various modes of transport which include road, railway and air are considered in the distribution strategy. Distributions strategy also entails the methods of packaging and storage used. The marketing strategy also considers the various methods of promotion to be used. These include use of online and offline promotion methods. The offline promotion strategies considered include use of advertisements through billboards, radio, television and print media. Personal selling and public relations have also been considered in creating product awareness to the potential consumers. On the other hand, online advertisements will be conducted through Google and Yahoo. It will also incorporate use of current social networking tools which include You Tube, Facebook and blogs. The plan has also considered the promotion plan to be used and the promotion cost to be incurred.

Company description

MaxShim Florist is a partnership form of business within the US floral industry and has been in existence for ten years. The firm operates as a retail shop that supplies flower and flower products to other firm’s in the floral industry. The management of the firm intends to improve the firm’s competitive advantage. This is through improving on the performance of the firm by venturing into floral designing.

Mission statement

The mission of MaxShim Florist is to become the leading supplier of floral products within the US domestic and foreign market. The management of MaxShim Florists is committed to ensuring that the operation of the firm results in maximum customer satisfaction by supplying high quality floral products. This means that all the operations of the firm are focused at the customer resulting into establishment of a mutual relationship benefiting both the customer and the firm. This is through incorporation of the concept of product innovation.

Goals

Financial goals

In the operation of the firm, the management of the firm has formulated an objective aimed at improving the firm’s financial stability. This will be achieved by increasing the firm’s annual revenue by a margin of 10% for every year. Within a period of one year after launching the floral designs products in the market, the management expects that the firm’s revenue will increase to $1 million. In addition; the management intends to increase its market share by a margin of 15% within a period of one year. This trend of increase in the firm’s level of profit and market share is expected to be maintained into the future. This will enable the firm to attain its goal as a going concern and also attain its profit maximization goal.

Non financial goals

The management of the firm has incorporated the concept of corporate social responsibility in its operation. This will ensure that all the operations of MaxShim Florists are conducted in an ethical manner. Corporate social responsibility will be integrated by considering the firm’s impact on the society in which it exists. In addition, the management of the firm intends to increase the firm’s scale of operation by opening other retail shops in all the regions in US. This will enable the firm to attain a competitive advantage in relation to its distributional strategy. The management of the firm intends to venture into interior designing as part of its floral designing.

Industry overview

In US, the floral industry has become very competitive over the past decade. According to Michael (2005, p.29), this has resulted into an increase in the number of firms venturing into the industry due to its lucrative nature. This trend results from the fact that there has been an increase in the rate of floral products consumption in US. For example, there was an increase in the level of sales from $34.1 billion in 2007 to $35.6 billion in 2008 within the retail floral sector. The large retailers are amongst the firms which are experiencing a high rate of growth in terms of sales compared to the small scale retailers. This indicates that there is a high probability of the MaxShim Florist improving its business performance in the future. In addition, the growth in electronic commerce presents increased chances of firm’s success within the floral designing sector. Through electronic commerce, the firm can increase its market size by conducting online marketing. This is due to the fact that more consumers are increasing the consumption of floral products such as during occasions and interior designing. One of the key success factors in the floral industry is that it does not demand highly qualified human resource in terms of post secondary education (‘Occupational outlook, 2008-2009’, 2009, ¶ 7).

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Marketing Strategy

In order for the firm’s floral products to compete effectively and be successful in the market, a marketing strategy is necessary (‘Building a marketing strategy’, 2004, p.1). The management of MaxShim Florists has devised a comprehensive marketing strategy by considering a number of components.

Target market

In venturing into floral designing, the management of MaxShim Florists formulated a comprehensive market research aimed at identifying the potential market. Through the research, the management identified the individual and institutional consumers as its target market. This means that the firm will conduct its floral designing aimed at meeting the demands of these customers. The individual consumers consist of customers holding various occasions such as weddings, funerals, graduations, birthday parties, and anniversaries. On the other hand, the institutional customers comprise of firm’s which purchase flowers for beautifying their offices. The firm has also targeted firms which purchase flowers during their annual general meetings.

Market segmentation

In selling the various floral design products, the management of the firm has considered variables in segmenting the market. These include demographic, psychographic and behavioral variables (Marinos, Irini, Michael, 2007, p. 5). The demographic variables considered in designing the various floral products include gender, level of income, religion, occupation, cultural background and social class. The various floral designs and colors will be produced with the objective of appealing various customers based on these variables. Psychographic variables to be considered include consumer’s attitude, values and beliefs. For instance, a variety of color will be used in producing the various floral products. A research will be conducted when marketing floral products to consumers of different cultural background. This is due to the fact that there are different meanings of colors across various cultures. On the other hand, the behavioral segmentation variable considered includes product usage.

Through the market research conducted, the management of the firm identified that consumers purchase floral products for various reasons. For instance, the market research identified that some consumer purchase floral products since they consider them as an important element in enhancing the quality of their life. The management of the firm has also segmented its market by considering the various occasions such as funerals, Mothers Day, weddings, Valentines Day, and anniversaries. Various floral designs will be used in targeting different occasions. For instance, in supplying floral products to occasions such as funeral, the management of the firm will supply fresh cut flowers. With regard to product usage as a market segmentation variable, the management has considered various religious festivities and ceremonies. This is due to the fact that flowers are used to set mood for various occasions by creating a memorable feeling amongst the consumers. In addition, some consumer purchase flowers for convenience purpose since they have formed it as a habit, or as the last gift to a close friend.

Marketing mix strategy

Pricing

Price is an important element in marketing. This is due to the fact that it affects other decisions related to the various marketing variables such as promotion, product positioning and the choice of promotion channel. In venturing the market, the management of MaxShim Florists has considered the impact of price on the success of the new product. In marketing the various floral design products, the management of the firm will incorporate penetration pricing strategy. This strategy will involve setting the price of the products at a fairly low price compared to the competitors. This will enable the firm to gain a significant market share. This is due to the fact that there is a high probability of the floral products gaining a high appeal within the market (‘Penetration pricing strategy’, 2009, ¶ 1).

The management settled at this pricing strategy by considering the price sensitive nature of the consumers in relation to floral products. By setting the price of its products at a relatively low price, the management of the firm intends to attract a large number of customers. This resulted from a market research which revealed that the consumers are price sensitive. The ultimate effect is that the firm will be able to increase its customer base and hence the sales volume. The penetration strategy will also result into promotion of the other complementary products such as the floral foams, baskets, frames and vases.

During special occasions such as Mothers Day, Valentines Day, Christmas and other religious occasions, the management will adjust its pricing strategy by incorporating the concept of discount pricing. The management of the firm considered the use of seasonal discounts during these occasions due to the increased demand for floral products. Seasonal discounts will enable the firm to increase on the volume of its sales during these occasions. Through this, the firm will be able to cover possible fluctuations in demand for floral products during the low seasons. During these occasions, the management of the firm intends to capitalize on the high floral product demand by increasing the volume of sales. Price discounts will also be linked to the quantity of floral products purchased. Higher percentage quantity discount will be issued to customers who purchase floral products in large quantities. In addition, the pricing strategy will also incorporate the promotional discounts. Promotional discounts will involve offering free floral designs such as the nosegay to customers who purchase a certain quantity that will be determined by the management based on the season of the year. This will enable the firm to increase the level of its sales revenue and establish customer loyalty. Increase in sales revenue will enable the firm to cover both the fixed and variable cost involved in floral designing and production.

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Through the penetration pricing strategy, the firm’s floral products will appeal a large number of customers in its target market. For instance, both individual and institutional consumers who purchase floral products in large quantities during occasions will benefit from seasonal discounts. In addition, penetration pricing strategy will attract consumers of diverse income levels and social class. On the other hand, the institutional consumers who constantly purchase floral products in large quantities will benefit from a high quantity discount.

Penetration pricing strategy will enable the firm to succeed in the product introduction phase by appealing to a large number of consumers.

The table below illustrates the pricing structure for the various floral designs to be supplied by the firm. The price of the various floral designs depends on the type of floral design, size of the floral product, customer’s budget, colors and flower availability.

Floral product Price in $
Boutonniere 25-50
Bouquet 56-70
Garland 40-79
Nosegay 45-100
Wreath 22-50
Corsage 25-50
Ikebana 24-40
Candelabra 23-39
Huppah 95-100
Fishbowl 6-9
Composite 40-49

In adjusting the price of the floral products to incorporate the discount, the price discount will be adjusted by considering the price range.

Channels of distribution

Distribution channel refers to the process through which products and services are availed to the market for consumers to access them through various logistics (Jacob, 2009, ¶ 1).To ensure that the floral products penetrate the entire market, the management of the firm will incorporate both direct and indirect distributional channel. The direct distributional channel will involve direct supply of the floral products to the entire domestic market. This will be attained through establishment of retail outlets in various geographical regions. This will ensure that the customers can easily access the floral products across the country. The management of the firm will increase the size of its sales force to ensure effective distribution of the floral products in all the regions.

In addition, direct distribution will also entail use of the current electronic commerce technology. Electronic commerce will enable the consumers to make orders of floral products direct from the firm. This will enable the firm to satisfy consumer demands of floral products that are made on short notice. Direct distribution will ensure that the floral products are handled effectively, especially the fresh-cut floral products. In addition, direct distribution will also ensure that there is effectiveness in fulfilling the customer’s demands by ensuring efficiency delivering the floral products (Lars, 2008, ¶ 5).

The distribution channel will also incorporate the use of agents. This distribution strategy will be incorporated when venturing into the foreign market. This is due to the fact that agents in the foreign market are conversant with the best distribution channels in their market. These agents will include use of wholesalers such as the national and regional supermarkets that are widely recognized in the foreign market. An effective criteria based on effectiveness of handling the floral products will be used in selecting the distribution agents.

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Effective choice of transportation method is important since it results into an increase in the longevity and quality of the various floral designs from fresh-cut flowers (Norah, 2000, p. 389). Various modes of transportation will be incorporated in distributing the floral products from one distribution point to another. This will be attained by forming alliance with various individuals such as the courier companies in the floral industry. In the domestic market, the modes of transport to be used will include road and railway. This will enable the products to be supplied to all the regions in US since there is an effective road network. Road transport will entail using different types of trucks. The choice of truck will depend on the various types of floral products. For instance, floral products from fresh-cut flowers will entail use of refrigerated trucks and delivery vans. On the other hand, air transport will be used in transporting the floral products to the foreign market. This will ensure that the vase life of fresh-cut floral design product is not reduced.

Intensive training will be conducted to equip the firm’s sales force with appropriate skills on how to handle the floral products. For instance, the training will entail the importance of hygiene in handling the fresh flower designs. This will help in increasing the longevity of vase life by eliminating the bacterial infection when cutting, arranging the flowers and storing the floral products. Vase life refers to the duration that fresh flowers can last from the time they are cut from the stem (Connie, 2009, ¶2).

The firm has also devised a comprehensive work compensation program for all its sales force. The compensation involves remunerations based on a fixed salary plus a commission based on the volume of sales. The sales force is also covered from possible risks that may occur in the process of distribution. The compensation plan is in the form of an insurance policy.

Production and Storage

The production of the various floral designs will be conducted according to the preferences of the various categories of the customers. This will be achieved by conducting a comprehensive consumer market research aimed at identifying the consumer needs of the floral products. In the floral shop, the floral designs from the fresh-cut flowers will be stored in coolers. The coolers will ensure that there is high humidity and maintain low temperatures. This will eliminate build up of temperature which can damage the flowers. The coolers will have sections containing preservative solutions. In addition, the water in the vases will be changed from time to time. Effective storage of the floral products from fresh flowers will enable the customers to receive the products in fresh condition (Connie, 2009, ¶ 4).

The floral products will be well packed in special boxes and baskets to ensure that they are not damaged in the course of distribution. The boxes to be used will be of different sizes and relatively flat. This will ensure that the depth of the box is minimizes thus reducing the chance of flowers crushing. The boxes used in shipping the floral products from the fresh flowers will initially undergo a pre-cooling process. Pre-cooling entails replacement of warm air with the refrigerated air (Norah, 2000, p.389). This will ensure that the flowers are not affected by temperature changes during the process of transit. Some floral product designs such as those made of gloriosa will be packed in plastic sleeves which will be sealed and containing some amount of air. This will ensure that the flower heads are not damaged.

Through effective distribution strategy, the firm will be able to attain a competitive advantage compared to competing firms. This is due to the fact that the firm’s products will be easily accessible in the entire market.

Promotion strategy

The management of the firm has formulated a comprehensive promotion strategy by integrating the concept to Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). Incorporation of IMC will ensure that there is effective product awareness in the entire market. This is due to the fact that both online and offline promotion methods have been considered. These include advertisement, public relations, bill boards, and sales promotion.

Advertisement

Advertisements will be conducted through various mediums. These include radio, billboards, television, print media such as newspapers and magazines. The advertisement will feature the various floral designs produced by the firm. Advertisements by use of bill boards in the domestic and foreign market will be conducted by entering into a contract with advertisement companies that own bill board which are strategically situated. This will ensure that the message is accessed by a large number of individuals.

In addition, the firm will also incorporate the current information technology in its promotion strategy. This will be implemented through designing a website that will be connected to the internet through which the firm will post the various floral products. Alternatively, the management of the firm will design a blog in the firm’s website in which it will post the firm’s products. The blog will ensure that the promotion is both interactive and informative. This is due to the fact that there will be interaction between the customers and the firm on issues such as product features.

Online advertisement

In addition, the firm will form alliance with main search engines such as Google and Yahoo. The alliance will enable the firm to post its floral designs on these search engines. Through this alliance, the firm will be able to conduct online advertisement more effectively. This is due to the fact that the firm will be able to reach a large number of customers in the global market. Online advertisement will enhance the firm in venturing into international market through exportation.

Use of social networking tools

Product promotion will also be conducted by incorporating the current social networking technologies such as wikis, blogs, Facebook, and You Tube. These social networking tools are increasingly being used to create product and service awareness in the global market. The use of these tools has been enhanced by the growth in information technology which has enabled a large number of consumers to access product and service information. Use of You Tube in the promotion strategy will be more effective in creating product awareness. This is due to the fact that it will be possible to post the various floral products on You Tube. In addition, You Tube is more cost effective and is accessed by a large number of individuals daily around the globe. For example, posting advertisements on YouTube in form of videos is cheap. This is due to the fact that the firm will not require any expert knowledge to launch a You Tube advertisement. All that the firm will do is develop a video on its floral products and log in to Youtube.com where the videos will be uploaded. This will enable the firm to improve on its internet marketing (John, 2009, ¶ 1).

The promotion strategy will also entail use of public relations. The public relation will entail use of tradeshow campaigns aimed at educating the consumers on the importance of Flower Therapy. This is due to the fact that combinations of various colors of flowers result into a positive adjustment of an individual’s feelings. The public relation will be focused at the various categories of consumers based on their age. For instance, to the youth, the message of public relation will be on the importance of flowers in enhancing emotional impact. On the other hand, the message to the elderly will entail how flowers can enable the aging cope with the various challenges that are associated with aging (‘Building buzz on flower power’, 2009, ¶ 7).

Personal selling will also be used in promoting floral products to the various institutional consumers and individual customers. Personal selling will involve talking to the potential customers on the importance of purchasing a particular product or service. Personal selling to the institutional customer will be aimed at establishing a good relationship with the potential customers. This will increase the probability of them making a purchase of the floral products. According to a study conducted by the Society of American Florist in association with Texas A& M University, it was revealed that flowers can result into increased productivity in the work place. The findings were that there is efficient problem solving, creative performance and generation of ideas in workplaces which have got flowers (‘Building buzz on flower power’, 2009, ¶ 6). This means that there is a high probability of the firm increasing its sale of artificially designed floral products to the institutional consumers.

Personal selling to individual customers will be conducted by use of catalogues and brochures which will be targeted mainly to women as individual customers. The catalogues will be availed to all the regional retail outlets in the domestic market. They will also be supplied to foreign distribution agents.

The promotional message posted in television, radio, bill boards, print media and online advertisement will contain a consistent message. The message of the slogan will be effectively designed by use of a simple but catchy slogan which include ‘Designs that surprise you.’

The firm will also incorporate the concept of ‘Buy 2-get 1 free’ in its sales promotion strategy. This will ensure that the consumers are less sensitive to the existing competition. This is due to the fact that they will be able to acquire a larger quantity of the floral product by making a single purchase (‘Sales promotion and direct marketing’, 2001, ¶1).

Promotion plan and budget

Promotion plan

Media Roll out plan Duration Cost in $
Print media
Through The Sunday Gazette and New York Times
Advertisement covering one quarter of a page Advertisement for five weeks. The advert will be posted after every 3 days.
After this phase, the advertisement will be posted once a week for a duration of three months
150,000
Online advertisement through, Yahoo Google and You Tube. An advertisement for duration of two minutes. Weekly advertisement for three months 90,000
Television advertisement through Bakersfield KGET 17 NBC
and radio advertisement through KALW FM station
One advertisement in the morning and 2 in the evening. Later the advertisement will be conducted once per week for seven months. 3 and 7 Months respectively 100,000
Use of bill boards Placing of adverts on bill boards of the best advertisement company. The bill board will last for a period of three month. 7,500
Use of catalogues and brochures The various floral designs will be printed in the catalogues and brochures Catalogues will be released after every three months while brochures will be supplied after a month 2,000

Promotional budget for one year

The management of the firm has also devised a comprehensive promotion budget for one year. The budget includes the cost that the firm will incur in creating product awareness both in the domestic and foreign market (Rob &Kent, 2000, p.1).

Promotion item Cost of promotion in $
Advertisement through various mediums
Radio

Television

Yahoo, Google, and You Tube

Website designing

Bill boards

Brochures

Catalogues

Newspapers

100,000

700,000

180,000

20,000

30,000

1,000

6,000

100,000

Use of personal selling 4,000
Sales promotion , through offers (‘Buy 2-get 1
Free).
6,000
Display through trade shows 3,000
Total expected promotion cost 1,150,000

Reference list

ADTEC. (2001). Sales promotion and direct marketing. Web.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Occupational outlook 2008-2009. Web.

Connie, K. (2009). Floral design site: the vase life of flowers. Bellaonline.com. Web.

Jacob, B. (2009).Types of Distribution channels.

John, B. (2009). Widen your online marketing with You Tube advertising. More Free Information. Web.

Lars, P. (2008).Channels of distribution. Los Angeles: University of South California. Web.

Marinos, T, Irini, T & Michael, B. (2007). Consumer behavior in the floral market: empirical evidence from Northern Greece. Barcelona, Spain; CREDA. Web.

Michael, R. S (2005). Trends in flower marketing and post harvest handling in the United States. California: University of California. Web.

Norah, T. (2000). The art of floral designs. New York: Thompson Learning Incorporation. Web.

Rob, H. &Kent, W. (2000).Understanding and developing a promotion budget. Tennessee: The University of Tennessee. Web.

Society of American Florist. (2009). Building buzz on flower power. Web.

The Centre for Native Floriculture. (2004). Building a marketing strategy. Sydney: The University of Queensland. Web.

Tutor2U.(2009). Pricing strategies: penetration pricing strategy. Web.

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