The Boulder Stop
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The Boulder Stop is an equipment store specializing in rock climbing gear and coffee/espresso drinks. Our mission is to provide an entertaining, fun, and knowledgeable atmosphere to climbers who experience nothing but a rock face and nutrition bars all day. Rock climbing is as much about storytelling and nostalgia as it is about routes and gear. The Boulder Stop adds value by creating a 'campfire' social setting in a retail location.
We take care of our employees; that is, we pay them well and give them a share of profits. We respect all customers who respect our store and people, and show respectful diligence toward those who choose not show our people respect.
We work as a team, not as a socialist Mecca. Our people are paid according to their skills and abilities. In addition, each employee will have the option of company-sponsored training courses and outside curricula that build on their skill sets.
Our customers are our most important asset, and we rely on them for feedback. We do not, however, send out unsolicited surveys to unsuspecting customers. We will accept in-store suggestions and test them for results.
We have a plan and our goals are clear: To create a fun, entertaining, and respectful retail environment that generates sales of espresso and climbing gear.
Our financial objectives are as follows:
We will focus on the highly discriminating, hard-core climber segment first, because these are the opinion leaders. Both the weekend warrior and the curious will follow the hard-core climbers. If we can attract and keep the hard-core climbers, then they will become part of the attraction for the others. To attract them, we will carry all the best high-tech gear, know the jargon, use the latest technology, and become a "Futurist" product and services company.
We want to clearly differentiate the weekend warriors from the hard-core climbers. Less competitive, or at least at a different competitive level, these climbers are usually at Smith for fun. They respect the hard-core climbers and want to be like them, but don't want to be classified as having "rock on the brain." Approximately 20-30% of these climbers will respond to family events by bringing their families; the other 70-80% climb with friends and occasionally try to outdo each other. This market is highly susceptible to getting stuck in a coffee shop with friends, they will talk about their latest romance, conflict with other friends, the future, or the fine espresso at The Boulder Stop. We will market the weekend warriors with a combination of amateur climbing events and other sponsored activities.
For climbers who need a place to stop for gear and coffee near Smith Rock, The Boulder Stop offers high quality climbing gear, gourmet espresso drinks, and a comfortable place to meet and talk. We will position The Boulder Stop as a community-involved organization that creates value for the community while minimizing environmental impact.
Our main marketing strategy is to focus on the overall experience needed by each customer. Some of our customers will seek a friendly gathering place to discuss climbs and prospects. Others want to shop in a semi-sterile retail environment. Still others don't want to linger at all, but wish to get their 'treat' and enjoy the outdoor weather. Therefore, our strategy is to fulfill these various customer needs while minimizing possible friction between these customers. That is our focus.
Our marketing mix relies heavily on our promotions. Our unique promotions set us apart from our local competitors, which sponsor few promotions. From the Perry Claw Rock Festival to The Llama races, The Boulder Stop will seek to create high-impact local events that create consumer recall and increase foot traffic.
Our prices are competitive, but we do not compete on price. We will not match prices; we will simply perform monthly competitive shopping trips to gauge the average prices for goods.
Our store and location give us a competitive advantage. The Boulder Stop is located within 1/4 mile of Smith Rock itself, and within walking distance of the park.
Our opportunities for differentiating on service are limited. Our part-time staff are experienced rock climbers, and are very knowledgeable about gear and the sport itself. Beyond this expertise, there's no reason for us to create special services when we can co-market climbing schools and services through store flyers and posters.
As a reseller of name-brand products, we have very little control over how our customers view each individual product. We do, however, have control over the customer environment and the manner in which we display our products. From a standard retail standpoint, product marketing appears to be very simple - display the products in an aesthetically pleasing manner, and they will come. It is much more complicated for us. We have identified three types of customers, and each group has it's own buying pattern.
The hard-core climbers need a great selection of gear, and will be disappointed if they aren't offered a 'bargain bin' of last years' model gear. The hard-core gear shoppers will be separated from the curious by a low glass partition. This partition will serve both to absorb the noise of shoppers and eaters, and to separate and maintain the climbers' social order. We will host climber discussion groups, with free coffee on Friday. and Sat. nights after 7:00 p.m. This will give hard-core climbers an opportunity to exchange stories and relax in our cafe, away from their nemesis: 'yuppie tourists'.
The weekend warriors won't feel excluded from the gear, and will also partake of the bargain bin. The warriors will find comfort in the cafe area, where they can talk about their pursuits rather than challenge them on the rock face. These people are not in great shape, and are likely to flock to the store as early as 3:00 p.m. for ice cream and cookies. We'll have extra staff on hand during these times.
The curious are difficult to gauge. They will flow in and out all day, and are likely to peruse our magazine rack for hours (we've allowed for the magazine write-offs). This customer base is our most lucrative, and is most likely to buy an iced espresso and/or ice cream before or after their short day hikes. Since espresso is a cash cow for us, we'll offer them a solid selection of beverages so nobody's disappointed.
We are a store that is positioned for impulse buying; therefore, it is important that we maintain a flexible pricing strategy.
The Boulder Stop will implement a strong sales promotion strategy. Advertising will be secondary.
Service is important to our mix. We have an obligation to provide quality products and cheerful service, fast and efficiently. Our service goals are simple and easy to maintain.
We will make plain our policy that we do not accept returns or exchanges without receipt and proof of product failure. We are in this to make money, as a business, and cannot afford to give our value to free riders or people with 'buyer's remorse', who choose not to take responsibility for their purchase(s).
We will obtain market research through in-store customer comment cards and the local Chamber of Commerce.
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