Truly Wholesome Foods, Inc. Marketing Plan I. Executive Summary Truly Wholesome Foods, Inc. is a small grocery store chain consisting of 54 stores located throughout Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Through various owners, branding, and locations, the company has been in business for nearly fifty years. Truly Wholesome maintains a target demographic of those looking for locally owned stores offering local and organic products in addition to the typical lines found at a grocery store. In addition, the company has an ever expanding Delicatessen department that is focused on providing hot and cold, ready-made foods for consumers.
However, due to the economic situation, ever increasing external forces, and rising food costs, the deli departments have seen significant decrease in traffic, resulting in lower sales and overall profitability. As a whole, the company has an excellent marketing campaign. However, less than 5% of company promotional materials are in some way targeted towards increasing sales for the deli. An intensive evaluation of the internal and external strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and threats serve as the groundwork for this marketing plan. Not only is the company as an entity discussed, but more specifically, the deli.
This plan focuses on opportunities to gain new customers, build stronger relationships with current customers, and the development of new food products, menus, or ideas focused on building and expanding the current deli business. Because Truly Wholesome offers a retail environment for its products and services, it is currently considered a business-to-consumer marketer. II. Environmental Analysis Originally founded as a small, local, family-owned grocery store, Truly Wholesome has evolved into a full-line retail grocer offering extensive selections in all departments.
The company was founded by Bill Winter in 1954 and was later passed down to his son, John Winter, in 1978. In 1985, the company was purchased by David Grisham, who owned several other grocery stores in the area. Over the years, the company has expanded through renovation of old locations, the acquisition of other grocery stores, and – in 2005 – built its first store from the ground-up. The current store types range from traditional supermarkets to Fresh Format stores. The company currently owns stores in four states and services more than 32 communities.
Currently, the company wishes to promote and drive sales in the Delicatessen department. A. The Marketing Environment 1. Competitive forces. The competition in the grocery industry is very intense, which results in already low margins on most items and negative margins on items used as loss-leaders. The industry average Net Profit after Taxes is 1. 09%. Currently, TWF is trending with that margin for 2013. In addition, direct competition is also from restaurants, which have an increasing amount of revenue annually. In addition, the margins at restaurants tend to be greater than grocers.
Also, the continuous opening of “big-box” stores such as Wal-Mart, Costco, and so forth, offer a serious threat to the sustainability of locally-owned supermarkets. Locally owned stores, such as TWF, must find ways to offer a competitive advantage to the consumer instead of purchasing from a larger retailer. 2. Economic forces. Overall, it has become quite common for grocers to reduce their allocation of marketing funds in an attempt to cut expenses during the current recession. A lot of these cuts have occurred in print or television advertising and less funds have been used to drive online and social-media advertising.
In addition, many local grocers are focusing on promotional advertising, sweepstakes, and so forth in an effort to create excitement about food shopping and gain new customers due to a creative and exciting experience. Additionally, the current recession has attributed to the ever decreasing purchase of hot-food. More Americans than ever are on government food assistance (Electronic Benefits Transfer / EBT) and many Deli items cannot be purchased with EBT. This must be taken into account when looking at falling sales in the deli and if they were equalized somewhere else. 3. Political forces.
Currently, there is a drive to maintain strong relationships with local political officials such as those serving on city council committees, planning and zoning, and so forth. This is because a main competitor, Wal-Mart, is opening “Neighborhood Markets” in many areas that were previously zoned as residential. It is therefore, in the best interests of local grocers, to maintain a strong relationship with the people who are in charge of deciding what may or may not be built in certain locations. 4. Legal and regulatory forces. There are always laws and regulations that directly affect the food industry in some way or another.
Focusing more so on the deli, there are local laws which must be followed in order to maintain safe food handling procedures and ensure the clean delivery of food to customers. However, these laws are there for the well-being of the consumer and do not impede the grocer or deli in one way or another. On the other hand, they sometimes help the departments by ensuring a clean and organized atmosphere. Costs associated with maintaining these standards are minimal and would most likely be used for similar purposes if these laws did not exist. 5. Technological forces.
Through the continual and rapid deployment of new technology, grocers must realize new and fresh ways to grab consumers attention. Technology has made it so the average attention span is much shorter than it was in days passed; and, because of this, grocers must deliver their information immediately. Grocers must devise ways to attack consumers with time-sensitive and relevant information to make them more excited, obtain what little focus they have, and sell a product. 6. Sociocultural forces. People are becoming more and more busy with their lives.
Grocers must find a way to offer a lot to these busy consumers in a time-conscious format. Consumers want to be in and out of the store in a short amount of time, be able to purchase what they need at good prices, and have a store layout that is easy to navigate. In addition, many families must purchase food on the go, or meals that are nearly ready-to-eat for when they arrive at home. With people working more due to technology, it makes it easy for one to forget how long it really takes to cook a meal at home. A lot of advertising is currently focused on making meals fast. Grocers must find a way to exploit this. B.
Target Market(s) TWF’s strategy has always been to offer superior customer service and a helpful, friendly atmosphere for one to shop. This mission is what has allowed TWF to stand tall when larger companies continually encroach in its areas. The target market is clear, but can also be differentiated. Naturally, the target is that of any consumer who wishes to purchase food. TWF must maintain this strategy in order to leverage maximum returns. But, because stores are located in different areas of cities, counties, and states, TWF must also differentiate its stores depending on the specific market in which the stores stands.
Because of this, there are many demographics for which each store must be tailored. For example, a store in a low-income area should focus more on value-branded items and items that can be purchased using financial assistance. On the other hand, stores located in more affluent areas generally target a different market with specialty foods, extensive “fresh” selections, and larger liquor departments. Of course, the Delicatessen departments are also varied depending on location. As stated previously, those using a government assistance program cannot purchase hot, ready-to-eat foods.
Therefore, delis in these areas must have a directive centralized on cold food. In addition to income based demographics, other considerations must be made such as ethnicity, locations based on convenience versus staples, and high-traffic versus low-traffic areas. has overcome most of these hurdles quite well, but must continue to develop areas such as the deli in order to leverage the difficulties that the economy is placing on hot and ready-to-eat food sales. C. Current Marketing Objectives and Performance III. SWOT Analysis A. Strengths 1.
Currently, TWF offers excellent customer service, a product mix that is custom tailored to each of its stores demographics, commitment to offering the best products in any category, and competitive pricing that is maintained throughout markets. 2. TWF offers an excellent promote from within policy which, in turn, creates very low employee turn-over especially at higher levels of management. The “employee-owned” status of the company and its retirement plan encourage employees at all levels to get involved with the stores as much as possible.
Having the company employee owned means that every person, from the top to the bottom, sees the benefits of every cost saving measure. 3. Over the years, TWF has built, nurtured, and maintained excellent relationships with its vendors. In addition, some vendors have been acquired by TWF in order to better service the company and its customers. These strong relationships results in better pricing which TWF can pass on to its customers, more timely delivery of product, and better communication when resolving issues. 4.
Providing excellent customer service, great pricing, and an overall excellent shopping experience results in excellent word-of-mouth advertising, a loyal customer base, and increasing numbers of repeat customers. In an average poll, 62% of customers said they shop exclusively at TWF for food products, and 91% said they would recommend TWF to a friend or family member. B. Weaknesses 1. Too many responsibilities are placed on the shoulders of too few individuals. For example, the VP of Operations is also responsible for Human Resources and Store Safety.
If this were broken down, it would allow specialists to excel in specific areas. 2. The deli maintains old, out of date and traditional deli foods. In order to stay competitive, the deli must offer more contemporary offerings that are healthy and sustainable. The market has shown significant shift towards these trends in recent time. 3. Although most of the stores in the larger cities have seen recent remodels, there were many things that have not been kept up to date. For example, the pricing of meats and cheeses fluctuate and this should be reflected at in-store pricing.
However, the pricing forms in the store are permanent and have not been updated, causing customer confusion and lack of consumer confidence. 4. TWF’s website is outdated and does not offer a consistent and current flow of information available to consumers. Although TWF has stated using email and social media more effectively, its website – which is the first place people generally search – needs a facelift. C. Opportunities 1. Every year, a greater number of people are using grocery stores to shop for meals that are either ready to eat or quick to finish.
This can be evidenced by the roll-out of new products nearly every week that include things that require less and less preparation at home. TWF has great room for improvement in this area and should exploit this market niche to g greater potential. 2. TWF must use its website to promote its products, sales, and other products and services. Currently, the website is not a strong point for the company and offers a great deal of opportunity. The website must be designed to offer an interactive approach for its customers and ensure there is correlation between it and the various routes of social media. . Although it has already started, TWF must expand and continue its current promotional activities instead of slowing or stopping them. Currently, TWF has deteriorated any promotional opportunities it could offer after about six-months of “push push push. ” These must continue, the programs must be revamped, and new and exciting offers must be sent to consumers in order to maintain interest. 4. The deli must be brought into 2013. As stated previously, the deli is using old style, old recipe foods that have lost their appeal and have become mundane.
The products offered here must be updated with a healthier mindset. Every other company is offering healthy deli options, TWF must as well. D. Threats 1. Competition. This is clearly the number one threat considering the recent encroachment of other major supermarkets as well as big-box stores such as Wal-Mart Neighboorhood Markets. E. Matching Strengths to Opportunities / Converting Weaknesses and Threats 1. TWF is able to use a massive “central kitchen” on order to prepare and ship “ready-to-eat” or prepare meals to all of its stores, ensuring consistency from one store to another. . Nothing beats customer service and that is where TWF will prevail against larger stores that are moving in. 3. TWF must empower its employees, all the way to the bottom of the chain of command, in order to succeed in all aspects of business. 4. Using the creative mindsets of its leaders, the delicatessen department must use this in order to generate new, exciting foods that will set TWF apart against the competition. IV. Marketing Objectives Truly Wholesome Foods is a supermarket that is dedicated to providing the best, freshest products to its customers at competitive prices.
This, in combination with its legacy of superior customer service, is what TWF must focus on in the years to come. In addition to revamping the deli department, TWF should maintain objectives regarding target margins, costs, advertising and marketing plans, and growth plans. Most of the growth should be focused in the deli department, as that is the one department that has fallen behind when compared to other departments such as produce, dairy, and frozen. To accomplish these objectives, TWF must first developing standards and benchmarks in order to compare itself and see how the progress is trending.
These objectives must be outlined in such a way that they receive constructive feedback from all levels of management and timely corrective action to any problem areas. The company should make contact with current customers in order to find out their likes and dislikes about shopping at TWF stores. This would allow TWF to better understand what brings their repeat customers back and may also open a window in order to see what could be improved in order to gain new customers. In addition, TWF should allocate a greater budget towards delicatessen.
Part of the problem is that many positive aspects of the deli departments are kept “secret” because nobody knows about them. This is not intentional, but it has been traditional to limit advertising for the deli. However, in order to educate the public on new menu items, services, and so forth, more advertising funds and space must be used in print, on television, and in social media. Using its existing knowledge, budgets, and facilities, the various deli departments and central kitchen must develop new and exciting products that will bring existing customers to the deli and will bring new customers in the front door.
V. Marketing Strategies A. Target Markets Target Market 1: Busy, on the go families that have the head of household working 40+ hours per week and have limited time to fully prepare a meal for his/her family at night. Example: More often than not in today’s world – in a two parent household – both parents work full time jobs. This places added stress on spending time with their family and cuts down on the amount of time they have to prepare dinner.
Having varied by day and weekly menus of food that is “ready opt go” or “heat & serve” would benefit this group tremendously. Target Market 2: Lower income families that rely on government assistance in order to provide for themselves and their families. Example: Those receiving government food assistance (EBT) are not allowed to purchase hot – or immediately consumable – food. An expanded delicatessen program would capitalize on these opportunities and offer these families excellent nutritional options by allowing them to purchase these meals using EBT.
Target Market 3: The over-working, career motivated, recent college graduate. Example: Many people who are recent graduates from college completely immerse themselves in their work in an attempt to get ahead faster. Many of them do not have time to fully prepare meals for themselves or their significant others for lunch or at night. An expanded delicatessen to-go section would allow these people to get those fully prepared meals in a hurry. Target Market 4: Those that wish to have a good, nutritious, and cost effective means of eating.
Example: Offering an expanded hot bar with trendier, nutritious foods will bring back the lunch crowd, especially young professionals that are looking for good food with a limited budget. B. Marketing Mix 1. Products. TWF offers a full line of grocery and household use items. In addition, TWF offers a full-line deli including a full service hot bar, specialty foods, cheeses, and ready-to-go meals. TWF offers the ability to maintain consistently high quality food and continually exceed customer expectations. 2. Price.
TWF must maintain competitive pricing within its various markets in order to gain new customers and maintain customer loyalty. The grocery business is very low margin, usually netting only 1-1. 5% net profit after taxes. This means that in many cases, TWF must offer staple products at a loss in order to hopefully gain sales on more profitable items. The key is naturally great volume, but TWF also strives to maintain excellent customer service and a wonderful shipping experience in combination with great everyday pricing. 3. Distribution.
Primarily, TWF employs direct marketing. Most sales are made through the customer visiting the store locations. However, TWF does offer catering services and delivery of groceries, floral products, and smaller food order on demand to customers’ homes and businesses. 4. Promotion. Most good advertisement is spread through word-of-mouth. In addition, many promotions are made in conjunction with local partners in order to educate the community of supporting local businesses and how this is important to a successful local economy.
Other modes of promotion, such as direct marketing, public relations campaigns, and sales are naturally used as well. VI. Marketing Implementation A. Marketing Organization B. Activities, Responsibility, and Timetables for Completion VII. Evaluation and Control A. Performance Standards and Financial Controls B. Monitoring Procedures To best analyze the effectiveness of this marketing plan, it is of course required to measure the results against the objectives. Various procedures must be developed in order to compare the results.