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HONEY MARKETING PLAN

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HONEY MARKETING PLAN

  1. 1. Blue Ridge Honey Company Marketing Plan Created by: Lauren Sellers, Julie Woodward, Justin Gahring, Cori Kempshall, and Megan Mclendon December 2015 Mary Norman
  2. 2. 2 1 Executive Summary BlueRidge Honey Company is afamily business located in northern Georgia dedicated to producingsustainable, high quality honey that is pure, natural, and non-pasteurized from our localhives. Weare a privately owned company that is inspected and approved througha third party Food Safety and Quality Auditconducted by NSF Cook & Thurber. Wesell our honey through farmer’s markets, online, wholesalers and retailers. Alongwith honey, the BlueRidge Honey Company providesbeeswax and offerspollination services. Weare differentiated through our locally uniquetypesof honey, our Bee School, and selling our bees posthoney season to grovesto help pollinate their crops. With these differentiated pointswe intend to expand our business further with our currentcustomersas well as developinguntapped segments. Weaim to increase our brand awarenessby increasing our social media presence. Our company aims to expand our distribution network to include moreorganic and local stores. This will help usreach our goal to increase our businessto businesssales. In the followingdocument, wewill discussin depth the surroundingindustry of the BlueRidgeHoney Company and how our productsdifferentiateusin the competitive honey and sweetenersindustries.
  3. 3. 3 2 Table of Contents 1 Title Page 2 Executive Summary 4 Goals and Objectives 5 SWOT Analysis 6 Situational Analysis 11 Marketing Strategies 14 Implementation 15 Calendar for Marketing Efforts 16 Budget
  4. 4. 4 3 Goals  Expand our distribution network of honey to new retailers  Increase brand awareness of the Blue Ridge Honey Company  Improve internet marketing and social media sites  Increase sales online, in store, and through retailers 4 Objectives  Expand brand awareness through social media with videos, written updates, pictures, and online brochures  Increase our followers on various social media sites by 20% in the first year  Expand our distribution network to include organic specialty stores such as a few Whole foods stores in the Southeastern region  Improve in-store sales by 25% by utilizing localized ads to elicit foot traffic to the store and promoting direct online sales  Increase business to business sales to include more local stores in the southeast and increase shelf space within the established stores
  5. 5. 5 5 SWOT Analysis Strengths  Reasonably priced  Bob was voted the 2003 Georgia State Beekeeper of the Year by the Georgia State Beekeepers Association  Selection of products other than honey include bees wax and candles  Wide selection of honey from a variety of seven plants and flowers  Unique product selection  Bee Keeping has positive environmental benefits  Well established relationships with retailers Weaknesses  Threatened bee source  Colony Collapse Disorder  Limited diferentiation for the honey itself  Lack of customer awareness about product benefits Opportunities  Expansion outside Southeatstern Region  Expand distribution of honey to include new retailers such as Whole Foods and other organic supply stores locally  Expand product line  Increase awareness for local honey  Increase amount of behives in their production facility  Offer sending bees by the truckload to groves for pollination purposes  Connect with local crafters in the areas  Bee School expansion to further promote brand  Education concerning how vital bees are to the ecosystem and food supply Threats  Many widely known competitors  Substitute sweetneners  Cheaper production in China  Land restrictions  Limited differentiation in the honey itself  Cost of producting wax is high
  6. 6. 6 6 Situational Analysis Macro-Level External Environment  Political, Legal, and Ethical Environment o The honey industry has undergone recent political, legal and ethical dilemmas because of the drastic decline in the honeybee population. Many officials believe the decrease in the population is because of insecticide use. Because of the severity of this situation, the EU is regulating the amount and type of insecticides used near where the bees live and pollenate. Scientists call the regulation of insecticides a precautionary principle because if not handled promptly and properly the results for the bee population could be drastic. This challenges the ethical context of beekeeping and the harvesting of honey. The Blue Ridge Honey Company is doing everything to maintain a healthy bee population while producing the best quality product possible.  Sociocultural/Demographic Environment o The honey industry is struggling to expand because of the recent decrease in bee populations. This decline will lead to a decrease in supply and an increase in prices for the final consumer. This increase in price will affect those who purchase honey as a luxury and not a necessity. The Blue Ridge Honey Company provides raw honey as opposed to processes honey. Our products are appealing to the upper class, educated individuals who most likely purchase honey on a regular basis for health benefits or for typical consumption. Our company distributes to the southeastern United States and will appeal to similar people in the individual market areas.  Technological Environment o There are multiple emerging technologies on the horizon for the bee keeping industry. The Smart Beehive Management System monitors hives to allow them to take timely precautions in preventing the most common threats to their colonies. It records the readings on the Cloud and will contact you if a problem arises. The technology decreases the bee mortality rate, boosts the revenues of beekeepers, cuts their supplies and labor costs, and improves the efficiency of their operations. Opportunities in technology such as this could not only prove lucrative, but also perpetuate the sustainability of bees for future generations.
  7. 7. 7  Economic Environment o The honeybee population in the US provides not only profits from the selling of honey, but helps increase the profitability of the entire agricultural sector. Their pollination abilities help to increase farm income by about $8-14 billion annually. However, in the honey industry alone, sales have been trending downward as honey production decreases. The decrease in honey supply has lead to a drastic increase in honey prices over the past several years. In 2006 the cost of honey per pound averaged about $2.90. In 2015 the price per pound is about $5.00. This near doubling in price has impacted consumers on the wholesale and private label markets.  Natural/SustainableEnvironment o Honey production increased by 19% from 2013 to 2014 and the average colony produced 15% more honey during those same years. Other agricultural industries depend on the bee industry for natural pollination services. The honeybee is vital to crops across the globe for pollinating. If the bee population decreases, pollination will decrease, which will eventually lead to a decline in crops and an increase in crop prices for the final consumer. Bee colonies are capable of sustaining themselves as long as they are given access to the proper environment. Because of their positive relationship with local surroundings, bee keeping and honey production is a very sustainable industry. o Over the years we have been involved in the pollination of alfalfa, almonds, cranberries, cucumbers, apples, crimson clover, Dutch white clover, sweet clover, squash, pumpkins, pears, cherries, strawberries, sunflowers, radish seed, cabbage seed, watermelons, cantaloupe, plums and more which exemplifies our involvement in other agricultural industries in the U.S. Industry or Competitive Environment  Competition o Blue Ridge Honey Company has a vast amount of competitors. These competitors come in the form of retailers, honey makers, wax makers, beekeepers, etc. One of these companies, Really Raw Honey, is based out of Baltimore, Maryland. They specialize in selling raw honey but they also sell pollen and a book titled Bee Lessons. They differentiate themselves by focusing on selling raw honey. None of the honey they produce is ever processed; it comes straight from the hive. Really Raw Honey is packed on- site at the beekeepers homes and farms. When purchasing online, customers have to keep in mind that they won’t ship in weather above 88 degrees
  8. 8. 8 Fahrenheit to preserve the integrity of their honey. Customers can also purchase a 12 pack of Really Raw Honey from Walmart’s website. o Savannah Bee Company, based in Savannah, GA, not only offers raw honey, but also artisanal honey and what they call everyday honey. They also sell a wide range of other products as well including honey straws, 100% pure beeswax candles, honey roasted coffee, and all sorts of other gifts and merchandise. They also carry a wide variety of beauty products including: beeswax hand cream, beeswax heel balm, beeswax lip-gloss, and honey body wash. Among their products they also offer an online Bee Education tutorial, to help educate in the wonder of bees. In the North Georgia area there are several locations where you can find their honey: Out of the Blue; From Me 2 U; The Red Door; Whitmire, Carol; Rucker Horse & Pet; and Posh on Main. Customers can also purchase directly from their website. o Blue Ridge Honey Company also receives competition from every Walmart location as well as Walmart’s website. In Walmart locations consumers can find a selection of what the Savannah Bee Company calls “everyday” honey. If a consumer is looking for a wider range of honey, all they have to do is go to the webpage and there are several different offerings of natural and raw honey. Unfortunately for Walmart many of those options can only be purchased as a 12-pack container of honey. o Not only does Blue Ridge Honey Company compete with other honey growers and retailers but also with other beekeepers such as the Bushy Mountain Bee Farm in North Carolina.  Industry o The industry as a whole is experiencing a shortage of bees, leading to a shortage of honey. Really Raw Honey had to increase their prices due to shortages of honey, increased beekeeper wages, and increases in packing and shipping costs. o According to beekeepers across the country, bees began acting strangely since 2006. These odd behaviors include: not laying eggs, going queenless, or inexplicably trying to make multiple queens. In that same year a beekeeper in New York, Jim Doan, discovered that of the 5,600 hives he kept, all but 600 of them were empty. By 2007 beekeepers across the world were finding that their bees had not just died but vanished, which would be later known as Colony Collapse Disorder.
  9. 9. 9  Buyers o Real world business negotiations have been changing rapidly with the advent of the computer and online Internet bidding processes. Traditionally, bulk industrial honey contracts may have been negotiated between buyers and suppliers over a month-long period; today they may be resolved in a 30- minute period. With a new type of buyer in both retail packed and industrial markets the game has a new set of rules.  Suppliers o Honey producers, packers and marketers negotiate with buyers for sales and with suppliers for equipment and input purchases. Honey buyers and industry suppliers have bargaining power that can affect honey industry profits. This bargaining power may include: o Negotiating honey prices down or delaying payments, o Having packers or producers maintain honey inventories at their own expense, o Increasing the quality standards for honey without increasing prices (e.g., demanding implementation of food safety systems like HAACP that may be costly to implement or specifying reductions in permissible maximum residue levels), and o Increasing the price of input supplies (or reducing the quality of supplies). Internal Environment  Firm Structure and Systems o Blue Ridge Honey Company is a family business, owned and operated by Bob and Suzette Binnie, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northeast Georgia. o Bob began commercial beekeeping in 1981 in Oregon and has been involved in commercial beekeeping in seven states. He handles all beekeeping and sales while Suzette manages the office, website, and shipping department.  Firm Culture o We are small and family owned company. We value employee input and encourage feedback. Every employee is competent and is able to play multiple roles in the company.  Firm Leadership o Bob Binnie is the owner and is very involved in all of the bee and honey processes. He is a hands-on leader, role model, and is able to handle the demanding schedule of maintaining multiple hives and has a strong
  10. 10. 10 understanding of the big picture for the company. With his wife and her team handling the logistics, he can focus on the bees and honey production itself.  Firm Resources o Blue Ridge Honey Company maintains a retail building in Lakemont, Georgia along with beehives in Georgia and North Carolina. Our “Honey House” is a large warehouse that also contains our extractor, cappings spinner, sump tank, and other processing and bottling products where we bottle the honey ourselves. We own many Bee hives, and other tools necessary to cultivate the hives. We also sell their products to retailers across Georgia and the Carolinas. Our marketing resources include a social media presence on Facebook as well as participating in honey competitions and multiple festivals across the southern states.
  11. 11. 11 7 Marketing Strategies Marketing Mix Product  Honey o Honey is the Blue Ridge Honey Company’s largest tangible asset. Our honey is produced locally and comes in over eight varieties, sometimes more depending on the seasons in which the bees are producing. The honey is then bottled and sold in the standard bear size, 16 ounce bottles, and 32 ounce bottles. They can be sold individually or by the crate.  Beeswax/Pollen o Beeswax can be used in making candles and beauty products. Blue Ridge offers the wax in 1 ounce and 1 pound bars. Bees also collect pollen, which is a great source of protein and other nutrients. The pollen can be consumed by adding it to. This is offered a 7-ounce jar.  Bee Starter Kit o The starter kit includes a queen bee, a hive, and the bees for the colony. These sets are also known as nucleuses or “NUCS” for short. This encourages local hobbyist to care for their own bees and produce their own honey.  Bee School o An intangible asset, people can learn how to handle and care for bees. They offer classes on their bee farm on how to care for the bees and bottle/store honey and honey products. Price  Blue Ridge Honey Company price our honey competitively to encourage buyers to compare their honey to other generic and name brand honeys. The unit price of honey has risen steadily over the past decade. In January 2006, honey was averaging $3.88 per pound. By mid-2011 the price was averaging at $5.04 and is now in November 2015 at $6.92.  Bob and Suzette Binnie, the founders of Blue Ridge Honey Company, started bee keeping back in 1981. Because they have been in business for over 30 years, they have the knowledge of the industry that allows them to optimize their honey processing and keep their prices low.  Honey o Honey Bear: $4.75 o 16 oz. Jar: $6.50 o 32 oz. Jar: $12.50 o Gallon Jug: $54.00 o 60 lb. Container: $235.00
  12. 12. 12  Beeswax o 1 oz. Bar: $2.00 o 1 lb. Bar: $12.50  Bee Pollen o 7 oz. Jar: $9.75  Bees and Starter Kits o Bee kits deposit $25 o Nuclear home kit deposit $35 o NUCS range from $144.00-$155.00 o Packaged Bees $99.00 Distribution  We have well established relationships with retailers such as Kroger, Walmart, Quality Foods, Piggly Wiggly, and other smaller retailers in Northern Georgia, and limitedly in Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. We privately distribute through local farmer’s markets in various locations in the southeast. We also offer shipping of our products via online to anywhere in the US and some locations abroad. Promotion  We will pursue Smart ads online, Facebook promotions, newspaper print ads, brochures, and an email newsletter to promote our products and services. See Implementation section for further details. Market Segmentation  The market for honey, honey related products, and education on beekeeping can be attractive to multiple segments of people. Often the consumers of our retail honey products are middle class females with a family. The consumers of our products presented at farmer’s markets are young, health conscious people who are seeking raw honey without additives. Target Marketing  Our target market is specifically people in the southeastern United States who are locally minded and are pursuing some form of health benefits from the food they consume. Our product is desired by all ages of people. Because our products are locally created, our product can generate relief for allergy sufferers of any age, gender, or race who consume our products in the southeastern region. Positioning  Our raw honey is collected straight from the extractor; it is entirely unheated, unpasteurized, unprocessed honey. This process of collecting honey makes our honey healthier than other “commercial” honey with unhealthy additives. Therefore, we position ourselves as a healthy, natural sweetener option for young health conscious adults and for the aging population who seek the health benefits of raw honey.
  13. 13. 13 Marketing Strategies  Market Penetration Strategy o This strategy focuses on investing in existing customers to gain additional usage of existing products. We will increase promotions for our existing products through social media and other ads as well as emphasize more heavily on our newer offerings of classes and NUCS. We will increase our supply to existing retailers in order to increase our shelf space to gain additional market share.  Market Development Strategy o This strategy will allow for expansion of the firm’s product line into untapped markets. We will attempt to secure a contract with at least five Whole Foods stores in Georgia in the first year to enter into the organic food stores market. We will also engage with additional stores such as Kroger to sell our products to more of their locations. Social Media  We could boost our customer reach by expanding their social media presence. By implementing this plan we could involve ourselves in the lives of younger consumers who are beginning to become more aware of their health and the importance of consuming and using organic products.  A major platform we use is our Facebook profile. This has spread word of our company and our products to places no one thought possible and has increased the number of consumers purchasing on the online storefront. Another social medium that would build relationships is Instagram. Younger generations are very involved with documenting their day to day lives and posting the pictures on Instagram. Our Company can demonstrate business, bee keeping, honey, and other products using the picture sharing database. With over 300 million users, this tool is a concept that can build relationships with consumers and instill value in the products by demonstrating the process of making the honey and other miscellaneous products.  Therefore, with the 1.19 billion active users on Facebook combined with the 300 million Instagram users, our online reach is nearly limitless. The digital age of business is here and if companies do not adapt they will surely get left behind. Our company is doing everything possible to expand knowledge of the social media world, which at the same time is contributing to market expansion.  If these social media marketing techniques prevails as expected, a Twitter account can be formed allowing for direct access and communication with customers all over the world.
  14. 14. 14 8 Implementation  Smart Advertisements: We will create online advertisements that will run from the months of January-March and July-September.  Local Newspapers: We will procure ad space to feature an ad with a picture, our company name, website information, and concise list of products. We may include a calendar of which farmers markets we will be in attendance.  Newsletter: These documents will include a calendar of farmers markets we will attend, class schedules, and where we will send bees to help pollenate groves for companies. These can include a brief history, tutorials, recipes with our honey, updates on any new products, new systems or procedures in honey production, etc.  Brochure: These will include where our products are available for purchase. Brochures will also advertise our bee classes, bee starter kits (NUCS), and include many pictures. There will be a calendar of which farmers markets we will attend. The brochures will be available in hotels, travel guides, welcome centers, etc. o Online version of our Brochure will be available on our website and Facebook page.  Free samples: We will offer free honey sticks of our most popular honeys which will be provided at farmers markets and will be complementary in any shipments of our products purchased online.  Promotional Videos: These videos will include different aspects of the production process, tutorial videos, educational videos on the benefits of honey and an inside view on how our bees create the honey.  Facebook: We will post which farmers markets we will be attending and we will pay $5 to appear on the pages of people who have liked our page which will allow their friends to see our posts. We will feature videos on our page. o We will feature a Recipe of the Month on Facebook using our honey and other products.  Classes: We will host classes on how to care for bees for aspiring beekeepers as well as how to extract honey from the hives they have purchased from our supply. We will host other classes to teach them how to make homemade candles with our wax.  SEO Campaign: This will run throughout the year to maintain a prevalent online presence on search engines.
  15. 15. 15 9 Calendar for Marketing Efforts Annual Marketing Plan Calendar Blue Ridge Honey Company JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC Advertising Online ads Smart Ads Smart Ads Mobile text ads Yellow pages Print ads Local Newspaper Ads Direct Marketing Email newsletters opt in for emails Inform about the Bee School Direct mail Mobile QR codes Collateral Brochure Create Brocure Reprint with updated Info Reprint Reprint- Holiday brochure Sell sheets Promotional items Free samples Video/multimedia Advertise School Video About bees Video about process holiday video Public Relations Press releases as needed about Colony Collapse Disorder around the globe or other news Editorials Social Media Facebook Use $5 promotion updates weekly LinkedIn Twitter Google+ Instagram Establish an account Post pictures in tandem with Facebook Website Content/landing page SEO campaign Mobile website 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter
  16. 16. 16 10 Budget Annual Advertising Budget Type of Advertising Cost Per Year Total Per Year Online Ads (Pay-per-click) $4,500 2 $9,000 Print Ads $200 9 $1,800 Email Newsletter $4,000 1 $4,000 Brochure $2,000 4 $8,000 Video/Multimedia $25,000 1 $25,000 Press Releases $6,000 2 $12,000 Facebook $5 12 $60 Instagram $0 - $0 Website Content Optimization $0 - $0 Total Annual Budget $59,860  Newspaper print ad price is based on local newspaper rates in Georgia  Brochure pricing is based on Kinkos.com offerings  Video and multimedia production is based on a local, professional production company  Facebook promotional prices are based on their available website information  All other prices are based on supplemented documents  Future annual advertising budget can be adjusted based on viewed results and sales

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