Marketing Plan: Saxonville Sausage Company 1. Business Overview With the history of 70 years, Saxonville, the privately held family business is one company of revenues of approximately $1. 5 billions in 2005, the main products are the variety of predominately fresh pork sausage consisted of branded products: bratwurst, breakfast sausage and an Italian sausage named Vivio, which occupied 70%, 20%, 5% of Saxonville’s revenues respectively. Store brand products accounted for the rest of 5% revenue.
This marketing plan has been explicitly designed to launch a national Italian sausage brand that Saxonville needed to bring to market in order to achieve it profit objectives for the next fiscal year. 2. Market Overview The heart of Saxonville’s business, bratwurst and breakfast products were sold throughout the United States via both national and regional brokers and distributors, the products had very little distribution in stores in the Northeastern markets.
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Meanwhile, both the bratwurst and breakfast categories across all sausage producers has been flat (0% volume increase) nationwide since 2004, and with little or no growth expected in the short term. However, the Italian sausage was the one category showing growth across producers in the retail sausage market, having an annual increasing rate of 9% in 2004 and 15% in 2005. Some specific indexes and parameters of Saxonville are described as below: ? Stagnant growth rates for Saxonville’s bratwurst. Underperformance incurred for Saxonville’s breakfast sausage and resulted in a double-digit revenue decline. ?Ranked sixth out of eight national breakfast sausage market. ?Vivio brand had matched that level of category growth, however, Vivio was available in only 16% of the nation’s large supermarkets. Saxonville needs a well-thought-out positioning marketing plan to move from also-ran position in Italian sausage to national category leader and match up core values in the “hearts and minds” of consumers with the attributes of a product portfolios to meet their specific needs. 2. 1. Product information
In the breakfast category, Saxonvill did not spend enough to compete with the big players. Besides, fewer people are serving sausage for breakfast, which is eaten more at special occasions, typically on weekends. The potential of bratwurst product had big concerns???they are mainly prepared at outdoor barbeques, and there’s only so much outdoor grilling. In contrast, people eat inside more often. About Vivio, the product was great and was priced comparably to other regional Italian sausage, and was penetrated to market with required trade support such as offering some in-store sampling.
Saxonville company was known through thus trade activities and had established relationships to allow the introduction of bratwurst to the eastern United States. 2. 2. Consumer Information Typically, it will follow a four-step process to position consumer segmentation. First is a round of qualitative research with target consumers to understand their behaviors and needs. The second step is a sequential round of consumer sessions, where we’ll use the language we have heard to develop and then gain reactions to different positioning ideas.
The third round is to refine all the new learning into actual concepts and have consumers prioritize and improve them. The fourth step is to put concepts through monadic testing and look at the purchase intent scores the testing generates. Consumer profile: ?Female heads-of-household aged 20-50 years ?Current consumers who view Italian sausage as a “meal-maker”, an ‘ingredient’ food in sauces, soups, and casseroles ? Heavy users used Italian sausage more than three time a month ? Values creating wholesome meals with fresh ingredients ?Desires to please entire family with single dish Hopes for quick meal preparation without sacrificing nutritional quality ?Envisions family dinner facilitating feelings of togetherness Potential behavior considerations: ?Vivio loyalists ?Competitive-brand Italian sausage loyalists ?Uses/does not use private label and store brands (degree of price sensitivity) ? Uses/does not use Saxonville Brats ?Uses/does not use Saxonville Breakfast Sausage ?Frequency of every-day dinner preparation ?Use of other sausage products; bratwurst, breakfast, kielbasa, etc. Geographic considerations ?Currently in strong Italian sausage markets Strong Bratwurst markets where Saxonville is well developed ? Strong Saxonville markets were Italian sausage is distributed ? Strong Saxonville markets where Vivio is distributed 2. 3. Competitor Information ?Current producers of nationally distributed sausage distribute frozen product ? Current producers of fresh sausage products confined to geographic regions ? Local consumers prefer purchasing a product that is perceived to be “home grown” ? The top-scoring names amongst focus groups were “Italy’s Best”, “Primo”, and “Perfecto”. “Vivio” ranked seventh. 2. 4. Brand Positioning Information
Good positioning would tap into the consumers’ core life values and would “uplift” those core values, making them feel good about using Saxonville’s brand of Italian sausage. There are 4 distinct themes resonated as potential territories for positioning the brand generated from focus groups and Project Score: ? Family Connection: Discover a crowd-pleasing favorite that brings the family together. ?Clever Cooking: Simple add your own personal touch to create meals that make any day a little special ? Balance: Balance the demands of your everyday life without cutting corners. Labor of Love: Now you can make your “Labor of Love” efforts in the kitchen feel less like labor and more like love. In the qualitative research, “Family connection” and “Clever Cooking” received the highest total votes, with “Family connection” receiving the most first-place votes. Based on this result, “Family connection” positioning is closest to the target customer’s core values, but it would be easier to provide tactical support for the “Clever Cooking” positioning. 3. Objectives The Key objectives for Saxonville Sausage Company are: Launch a national Italian sausage product under the Vivio name or as a new brand. ?Achieve profit objectives for the next fiscal year 4. Strategy Saxonville Sausage Company can provide consumers different product portfolio in line with different segmentations. While the two main products have to face the flat volume increase with expected term, it’s necessary to bolster and develop another high potential Italian sausage brand to a national one. Through almost half year research analysis, the Project Score team has defined the core values of target consumers and identified the positioning for such brand already.
Part of the strategy is to provide the target consumers with a clear understanding of being able to blend their needs and preference in sausage products. This will be achieved by the development of strong tactics in different aspects. 4. 1. Branding ?Research shows that there is brand vagueness under the Saxonville flag, because the name Saxonville appears too German to produce a quality Italian sausage. The current packaging with “Vivio fresh Italian sausage” and an Italian flag in one corner creates some confusion for customers.
In order to demonstrate innovation and quality within Saxonville product, a new brand needs to be set up to help with the company’s positioning. However, such move will fail to make use of the existing family and quality branding Vivio enjoys. ?To come out of this dilemma, we may try to still market Vivio in its current 16% market and use another Brand in the coming 84% national market. People will remember the brand and will care less about the company who owns those brands. The name scores high in market research to determine the ideal Italian sausage name, and will alleviate any confusion with a product from a German-sounding company. . 2. Packing ?Evolve the current Styrofoam tray plastic wrap of Vivio brand packaging methodology to enable the product outstanding amongst other competitive brands ? Strong Italian colors/images to promote heritage 4. 3. Promotion ?Advertising -Increase the advertising effects in the 16% of national markets in which Vivio brand Italian sausage is sold with no comprehensive advertising. -Enhance the basic trade support and in-store sampling to raise the brand awareness and coupled with the family name, Saxonville, customers knew they could expect a quality product. Compete with nationally known and respected companies that currently produce a frozen product, but regional producers of fresh Italian sausage that have enjoyed relatively little competition within their geographical regions. -Television advertising will be a key component to the campaign to maximize our investment. We create a great TV commercial show around dinner time which features a whole family cooking and eating together. Making food becomes fun and there is very nice and cozy environment. Family members who are back from other places come directly to the sausage and it reminds them some delicious good cooked only by Mom.
Another TV commercial can show some young guys make a living by themselves who miss the good food at home go to the supermarket, only shop for the Vivio sausage, to reflect the good sense of home and family gatherings. -Print media will also be an important aspect of our advertising blend including supermarket direct mailer and manufacturer coupons. In those Good Food Magazine, we can pay somebody to write articles about new fashion of cooking salad, main meals with Vivio sausage, and also introducing different recipes using different types of Vivo sausages. ?Sales promotion: Likely the one area of our national advertising campaign is currently suitable for a national audience. We will continue to provide retailers with the same trade support through offers and incentives currently provided in the existing markets. We will also continue with the strategy of providing consumer deals every other month as we did in the initial markets. -Select the major marketplaces where Vivio had well awareness and availability such Boston, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and South Carolina to implement a large promotion campaign to build the new brand reputation. Since family connection ranks high among consumers’ core values, we will launch large promotion campaigns during family gathering occasions such as Thanksgivings day and Christmas ? Merchandising: -Reinforce the in-store marketing through the graphics, point-of-purchase materials, temporary display units in refrigerators and expanding the shelf of facings in supermarkets. 4. 4. Pricing ?Did not discount the product’s price ?Set price one parity with that of the top competitors 5. Tactics 5. 1. Research & Development ?Kid-friendly-shaped pre-cut sausage pieces; dinosaurs, goldfish ?
Different flavor varieties: spicy mustard, sweet “Oriental” style, gourmet cheese and smoked flavors, macaroni & cheese flavor, jalapeno pepper & cheese-infused “stuffed” varieties ? Insert fresh herbs that would be visible through the sausage casing but not impact the taste of the sausage ? Frozen sausage pellets, both raw and pre-cooked ?Different forms: uncooked pre-sliced “disks”, “mini-patties, mini-links, and precooked “meatballs”, “salami” slices and “disks” 5. 2. Graphics ?Label size and shape changes to maximize the product visibility window and provide in-case differentiation ?
Alternate label graphics using background photographs, fresh ingredients depictions, the Italian flag ? Faux labels used as tip-ins in magazines to reinforce the brand ? Labels with “back-placed” recipes ?Different label-copy stickers that “pop” 5. 3. Sales ?Larger package size with dinner-plate shaped trays ?Running more frequent BOGO’s (buy-one get-one promotions) ? Famous potential spokespeople like Rachael Ray ?Refrigerated display units placed in the produce and dry grocery sections ?Celebrity recipes ?Celebrity store appearance program with on-site sampling ?
Temporary merchandising display units that carry recipe cards, great cooking-with-sausage graphics, and can hold store merchandise, give with new account authorizations and/or increased facings ? Stadium deals, expanding the sales to stadium with our pre-cooked sausages with lower prices? 5. 4. Time Schedule Because the purpose behind the launch of a national Italian sausage brand is to achieve profit objectives for the next fiscal year, it is imperative that the national launch occur before the start of the peak demand season.
As such, we are proposing an aggressive timeline. ?We must begin the search for an advertising company to handle the multifaceted national campaign immediately. In order to maximize sales at the end of the fiscal year, it is important to have the national advertising support ready to launch concurrently with the product. We recommend spending no more than two months to select the agency that will handle the account; this will take us through the end of May. The agency will then only have four months to create a national campaign of both print and televised media. With six months until national product launch, we must also begin training our regional sales executives on basic product knowledge and sample cooking demonstrations. These too will need to coincide with the product launch in order to maximize sales in the final three months of the fiscal year. ?Three months prior to launch, we must hire an information systems contracting firm to begin development of the interactive media. One month prior to launch, the internet tools should be online and available for use. Current users of the other portfolio products can begin touring the additional information. One month prior to the national launch, regional sales managers will begin communicating with retailers the details of the new product, as well as channel promotions and shelving requirements. ?Two weeks prior to the launch, regional sales managers will begin educating retailers on the features and benefits of the Primo brand. Retailers are the first point of contact for the consumers; retailers also will only carry those products which generate a profit. These factors create the need for retailers to be trained about how our product is differentiated from the ompetition. 5. 5. Financial Forecasts With national coverage from 16% to 100%, we expect the volume to increase at least five-fold. And with people’s quick pace of life, the growth of convenient food like sausage will continue to increase. So we forecast the total sales will be around USD 450million. 6. Summary It’s critical and important to adopt which of concept delivery between “Family Connection” positioning and ‘Clever Cooking” positioning. Based on the quantitative testing, the result revealed that both concepts were indeed viable.
Of the two, “Family Connection” had scored better in simulation phase. However, it’s implicit due to consumers’ familiarity with existing brands’ “authentic Italian heritage”, or was the positioning inherently more motivating or it was too generic, something any brand could do and claim as its own turf or the “Clever Cooking” idea is more distinctive and durable. The Project Score team should evaluate which available tactics would optimally support which positioning and select the best one through the above implementation tactics eventually.