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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

Gaian's marketing strategy is based on several initiatives.  The first will be advertisements in the local Yellow Pages.  For unique items such as outdoor fabrics and notions, people refer to the Yellow Pages to find retail stores. 

To increase visibility to the local customers, strategic relationships will be formed with local outdoor stores and sewing shops.  These two venues are often asked for referrals from their customers.  By establishing strategic partnerships with these organizations, a lot of local customers will be pointed to Gaian to satiate their needs.

To increase visibility among Internet customers, Gaian will be submitting their website to all of the popular search engines.  Each submission to a search engine will be specifically tailored for each engine to ensure top listings from searches.

Mission

Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' mission is to provide the customer with whatever type of outdoor fabric and notions that he/she desires.  We exist to attract and maintain customers.  When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place.  Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers. 

Marketing Objectives

  • Build the customer database by 25% each year.
  • Increase the efficiency of the marketing campaign by 3% each quarter.
  • Generate a 15% increase in click-through traffic for the website.

Financial Objectives

  • A double digit growth rate for each future year.
  • Reduce fixed costs by 10% by year two.
  • Increase profit margins by two percentages each quarter.

Target Markets

Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions customers can be broken down into three groups:

  • Walk-in local customers: these customers live locally and have come into the shop to pick up the necessary products for a project.

  • Internet individual customers: these are individuals that are in need of supplies for projects.  This group of customers can be further broken down into orders from the USA and international orders.  International orders will be a decent percentage of the overall individual customers because American fabrics and notions are generally superior to European alternatives and the convenience of ordering Gaian Adventure's products is enhanced with Internet accessibility.

  • Internet based company orders: some orders will be from people within larger fabric manufacturers such as DuPont's Cordura department, GoreTex, and Malden Mills.  Although people (typically in the prototype divisions) work for the manufacturer of the fabrics, it is often difficult for them to get small amounts of the fabric for prototyping.  So oddly enough, some orders will be from GoreTex employees purchasing GoreTex from Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions.

Positioning

Gaian will position itself as the premier website of outdoor fabrics and notions in this country.  Consumers appreciate a wide selection of products from a single store.  Gaian Adventure Fabrics and Notions will leverage their competitive edge:

  • Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions' competitive edge will be their focus on e-commerce.  The brick and mortar side will be serviced by having the same product offerings that the website has, as well as having someone in the store to help out with any questions/needs that a customer may have.  This however, is just one small aspect of the overall business.  The foundation of the business is the e-commerce site.  This is the foundation because it is the most cost effective way of operating as a retailer, it serves the largest geographical region, and the site can be serviced from anywhere at any time of the day. 

  • Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions will focus on the website as they recognize this is where the highest margins are and the largest target market.  The website as the primary focus will allow Gaian Adventure Fabric and Notions to rapidly gain market share as they will redefine anything on their site to meet the need's of the customers.

Strategies

The single objective is to position Gaian as the premier location for outdoor fabrics and notions, commanding a majority of the market share within five years.  The marketing strategy will seek to first create customer awareness regarding the products offered, develop the customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty.

The message that Gaian seeks to communicate is that Gaian Adventure offers the finest selection and customer service for outdoor fabric and notions.  The message will be communicated in several ways.  The first is through Yellow Page advertisements.  Another way is through submissions for all of the popular Internet search engines. This will generate visibility for Gaian when people are looking for a outdoor store and use a search engine to find them.

Marketing Mix

Gaian's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.

  • Pricing: Gaian's pricing scheme will be based on achieving a specific margin for each product. 
  • Distribution: Gaian can ship all products to any national or international address.
  • Advertising and promotion: The most successful advertising will be with the Yellow Pages as well as submissions with search engines.  Additionally, strategic relationships with local service providers and retail stores will also be a significant source of referrals.
  • Customer service: Obsessive customer service is the mantra.  Gaian's philosophy is whatever needs to be done to make the customer happy must occur, even at the expense of short-term profits.  In the long term, this investment will pay off with a fiercely loyal customer base who is extremely vocal to their friends with referrals.

Marketing Research

During the initial phase of the marketing plan development, several focus groups were held to gain insight into a variety of prospective customers.  These focus groups provided helpful insight into the decision making processes.

An additional source of dynamic market research is a feedback mechanism based on a suggestion card system.  The suggestion card has several statements that customers are asked to rate in terms of a given scale.  There are also several open ended questions that allow the customer to freely offer constructive criticism or praise.  Gaian will work hard to implement reasonable suggestions in order to improve their service offerings as well as show their commitment to the customer that their suggestions are valued. 

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