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

Kaolin Calefactors is a start-up company located in Eugene, Ore.  Marketing will be a critical component of the business to ensure success and profitability. The basic market need is a creative, unique, ceramic dish maker.

Market Summary

Kaolin Calefactors possesses good information about the market and knows a great deal about the common attributes of the most prized and loyal customers. Kaolin Calefactors will leverage this information to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how Kaolin can better communicate with them. 

Market Analysis

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Market Analysis
  20012002200320042005 
Potential CustomersGrowth     CAGR
Gift purchasers8%21,45523,17125,02527,02729,1898.00%
End consumers9%19,88621,67623,62725,75328,0719.00%
Other0%000000.00%
Total8.48%41,34144,84748,65252,78057,2608.48%

Market Demographics

The profile for Kaolin's typical customer consists of the following geographic, demographic, and behavior factors:

Geographics

  • The immediate geographic area is the city of Eugene with a population of 130,000.
  • A 50 mile geographic area is in need of our services.  This is for the local customers, the website will allow Kaolin Calefactors to reach anyone within the United States with Internet access.
  • The total target is estimated at 41,341.

Demographics

  • Female.
  • Married.
  • Ages 28-55.
  • An income over $40,000.
  • Have at least a college degree.

Behavior Factors

  • Appreciates and collects arts and crafts.
  • Is willing to pay extra for things that are aesthetically appealing.
  • Have an artistic flair, or wish they did.
  • Values handmade items relative to mass produced goods.

Market Needs

Kaolin Calefactors is providing its customers with a wide selection of handmade ceramic dishware.  Kaolin seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to their customers: 

  • Selection. A wide range of choices for styles and finishes of ceramic dishware.
  • Accessibility. The patron can have the finished products shipped to them anywhere in the United States.
  • Customer service. Kaolin's customer-centric business model ensures complete customer satisfaction.
  • Competitive pricing. Kaolin's prices are competitive relative to other handmade ceramic dishware.

The market trend for dishware is an increased demand for creative and artistic designs as well as custom design work.  This trend can be explained in part by the fact that during the mid-nineties, the market was flooded with mass production artsy dishware.  The market was soon overwhelmed with tons of similar dishware that tries to appear artsy, but because of the large scale of production, was just garish designs. 

After the market was flooded with so many similar, common designs, demand was generated for custom artists to produce dishware and other ceramics that had unique artful designs and were not mass produced.

Market Growth

In 1999, the ceramic dishware market in the USA reached $765 million dollars in revenue.  The mass market is forecasted to grow at an unexciting 4%, however, because of a recent increase in demand, the custom handmade niche is forecasted to grow at 7.5% for the next several years.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing Kaolin Calefactors.

Strengths

  • Strong relationships with raw material vendors.
  • A partially taught, primarily instinctual, eye for art and up and coming styles.
  • An efficient style for construction of ceramic pieces, decreasing the labor costs per piece.
  • High customer loyalty and referral rate.

Weaknesses

  • Kaolin Calefactors lacks brand equity.
  • A limited marketing budget to develop brand awareness.
  • The struggle to grow the business while at the same time attending to all of the day-to-day activities.

Opportunities

  • Participating in a market niche that is growing at a faster rate than the larger general ceramics market.
  • Increased sales opportunities from mail-order customers who use the website to gain information and see examples of Sue's artistic ability.
  • The ability to increase the profit margin as variable costs are decreased due to operating efficiencies.

Threats

  • Competition from a large reseller of dishware who might steal some of Sue's designs and have them produced offshore.
  • Quality control problems with the raw materials that could render an entire batch of products ruined.
  • The continued decrease in the cost of dishwashers (the decrease in cost can generally be correlated by harsher handling of the dishware to be cleaned by the dishwasher) making it conceivable that handmade dishware will have to be washed by hand.

Competition

The competition consists of different sources.

  • Commercial dishware manufacturers. This competitor mass manufactures a wide range of dishware. These companies appeal to someone that is looking for general dishware. These competitors serve people that are more interested in function instead of aesthetics.

  • Assorted craftspeople. This group of competitors is serving the segment of people that are purchasing ceramics as gifts.

  • Other potters. This group is the most direct competitor in terms of business activities, but not necessarily the most vigorous. The reason they are not the most vigorous competitors is because most potters that sell their products make cups and vases. Therefore, while they are direct competitors, not many are making competing dishware.

Product Offering

Kaolin Calefactors makes production and custom dishware. KC manufactures a line of 12 production styles of dishware, as well as offers the option of custom designs. The custom designs can be either based on a design KC has done in the past that is displayed in a portfolio or can be a creation of the customer.

Please note that the use of the term production is not the traditional usage. While Sue does have production designs, all this means is that she makes them for inventory regardless if there is an order for them. Production in this case does not take on the typical association of "mass production."

The pieces of dishware that are offered are serving platters, dinner plates, bowls, coffee cups, and saucers. Other pieces can be created at the request of the customer. The dishware comes in several different shapes and glazing options. Kaolin Calefactors products are expensive. KC is not trying to compete on price, KC will be making high-quality pieces that are all handmade. Some of the more elaborate designs adds significant amounts of time of construction as well as adds to the price. The price/positioning strategy will be the upper end of the market.

Keys to Success

  • Unique, cutting-edge designs.
  • Outstanding customer service.
  • Professionalism.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Having fun while working hard.

Critical Issues

Kaolin Calefactors is still in the speculative stages as a start up company.  Its critical issues are to continue to take a modest fiscal approach; expand at a reasonable rate, not for the sake of expansion in itself, but because it is economically wise to; and continue to build brand awareness and develop the customer base.

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