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

Nine Lives advertising budget is limited, so the advertising program will be fairly straightforward.  Nine Lives will advertise in local outdoor magazines and journals, the local newspaper (Register Guard), and the student newspaper at the University of Oregon.  Additionally, Nine Lives will advertise in the outdoor industry journal in hopes of attracting new sources of inventory.

Mission

Nine Lives' mission is to provide the customer with quality outdoor clothing and gear at reasonable prices.  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

  • Maintain positive, steady growth each month.
  • Experience an increase in new customers who are turned into long-term customers.
  • Increased visibility evidenced by an increase of new customers and people bringing in used equipment for consignment.

Financial Objectives

  • A double digit growth rate for each future year.
  • Reduce the variable costs associated with the per transaction expenses.
  • Increase the profit margin.

Target Markets

Nine Lives will be focusing on three distinct groups of people that purchase outdoor clothing a gear:

  1. Outdoor participants with limited financial resources. This group of people has discretionary income and enjoy spending time participating in outdoor activities.  These customers however, must maximize their limited money to be able to participate in the wide range of outdoor activities.  For them, an outdoor consignment shop is ideal because the same amount of money allows them to have more or better equipment than they could get through traditional retail outlets.

  2. Gearheads. This group is people that collect outdoor gear.  This is not a "poser" group, they actually use the stuff, they just like to have the right piece of clothing or gear for each individual activity.  Offering better prices than regular retail outlets allows them to buy more stuff for the same amount of money.

  3. Bargain hunters. This group will buy things because it is a good deal, not because they really need the item.  While some of the used items will appeal to them, the manufacturers closeouts and seconds will really excite this group.

Nine Lives intends to target people that have a need for outdoor clothing and gear but do not have unlimited financial resources. Most outdoor enthusiasts do not have unlimited financial resources. People typically choose to live in Eugene for its quality of life and wonderful outdoor activities, and people are willing to make significantly less (relatively) than in Portland because quality of life is so important.

With a large population of outdoor enthusiasts, particularly those that sacrifice financial gains for quality of life, Nine Lives has a large population base to draw off of.  The University of Oregon is located in Eugene and has an active outdoor student body.  Additionally, the university has a large Outdoor Program which will be a large source of buyers and sellers.

Positioning

Nine Lives will position itself as a reasonably-priced outdoor gear and clothing retail store.  Eugene consumers have a demand for discounted outdoor equipment.

Nine Lives' positioning will leverage their competitive edge:

  • A selection of used clothing and gear not replicated in the city. Although there are many different outdoor retailers in Eugene, there are none that sell used merchandise.  Used merchandise can be up to 60% less expensive than the new counterpart, so there is definitely a draw to the product, particularly in a town where people enjoy their outdoor activities at the expense of making money.
  • Superior, personalized customer service. Although Nine Lives' product  is used clothing and gear, there is no reason to assume that the patrons of a used store deserve any less quality of customer service that you would expect from a top shelf retailer.  Even consignment shop retailers have expectations of high service. At Nine Lives the customer will be treated with very personalized service.   It is not unusual that consignment shops have regulars who frequent often. With this in mind, Nine Lives will have a database of customers and purchasing history so when they enter the store the sale person will have very personal information about the customer.

Strategies

The single objective is to position Nine Lives as the premier place to purchase reasonably priced clothing and gear for any outdoor adventure.  The marketing strategy will first seek to create customer awareness regarding the products offered, develop the customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.

The message that Nine Lives will seek to create is that Nine Lives offers the finest selection of reasonably-priced outdoor gear and equipment for enthusiasts.  This message will be communicated through advertising in a variety of sources.  The first source is the local outdoor magazine/journal.  The second source is the Register Guard.  The third is the U of O student newspaper.  The final source for advertisements is the outdoor industry journal for manufacturers and distributors.

Marketing Mix

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

  • Pricing: Nine Lives pricing will be based on a percentage system for the consignment items and standard keystoning for the new products.
  • Distribution: All sales will take place in the retail space.
  • Advertising and promotion: The bulk of the advertising will be with the local outdoor journal, The Register Guard, the U of O student newspaper, and the Outdoor Industry Journal.
  • Customer service: Obsessive customer service is the mantra.  Nine Lives' 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 fiercly 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.  These focus groups provided helpful insight into the decision making processes of outdoor enthusiasts.

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.  Nine Lives 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. 

The last source of market research is competitive analysis. Nine Lives will send people to local competitors to gain information about the service offerings.

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