Strategy and Implementation Summary
Gastronome Gander's Gatherings is a service company. Thus, we will differentiate ourselves with customer service. We will establish our event offerings as a clear and viable alternative for our target market, a clear difference from the scores of single dating services.
Build a relationship-oriented business
Build long-term relationships with customers. Gastronome Gander's Gatherings will become our member's choice for events in a relaxing atmosphere; a better way to meet other singles.
Focus on target markets
We need to focus our events and membership on specific population groups as the key market segment we should own. We do not want to compete for the dating/matchmaking crowd, but to offer an alternative to that scene; and as a supplement to those who use dating services.
5.1 Competitive Edge
Gastronome Gander's Gatherings' competitive edge lies with its differences from other single organizations. These differences added together make us unique and include:
- Upscale events related to food and wine (with a high degree of variety)
- No match-making or dating (no pressure on members)
- Extensive customer service (e-mail event directions, personal greetings at events, name tags, follow-up on all questions/problems)
5.2 Marketing Strategy
The main objective of our strategy is to position Gastronome Gander's Gatherings as the premier niche singles' social event provider serving the Gourmandeville, South Downes, and Washbourne markets. The marketing strategy will seek to create customer awareness regarding the services offered, develop the customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.
This objective will be communicated using several different methods. The first method will be through the use of Gastronome Gander's Gatherings' website. The website will be a rich source of information detailing our events offered, previous events held, links, etc. The second method of communication will be through networking with various media and business people. The networking activities will be important and fruitful as a significant amount of business gets conducted through these channels. By being active in networking we believe our membership will increase, our events will be better recognized, and our reputation as a superior provider of single social events will become known.
The last method of communication will be through written promotional material. Brochures, business cards, press releases, e-mails, and the like are an excellent venue for generating awareness of the company because most or all the material stays with individuals for a time (versus verbal material that is not physical). Moreover, much of this material can be passed on to other contacts (indirect referrals). Lastly, specific advertising will be used when possible; taking into consideration price, target audience that it will reach, and potential pay back.
5.3 Sales Strategy
Gastronome Gander's Gatherings' competitive edge is the relaxed atmosphere provided at events for singles to meet without the hassles of matchmaking. We believe the combination of worry-free events, a focus on food, wine, and fun, plus a relaxed environment will lead to interesting conversations and friendships.
For potential members Gastronome Gander's Gatherings will emphasize the relaxed atmosphere of our events. Our strategy will be to differentiate ourselves from other singles groups. Our website will have FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) for interested members. In addition, the website will indicate our niche in the market; that of meeting other singles without the pressure of matchmaking.
For people signing up as members, the website has an online membership form. The company is signed up with Merchant Services through our bank (Chase) and we accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, and Discover®.
To track members the company uses ACT!™ database that provides details on each member. This information is used for event ideas as well as seating arrangements at event dinners in order to put similar people together (based on parameters such as age, gender, and interests).
In order to acquire additional members, current members will be given incentives to bring in new people. Guest are encouraged through current members and if they join the current member gets additional months of membership. In addition, if we needed more male members, we would give additional incentives for men joining.
5.3.1 Sales Forecast
Memberships are expected to grow at a rate of 20 people per month. While we feel this number is conservative based on the Restaurant Raconteurs of Cookeston company, our population is smaller. In future years we anticipate an 80 percent renewal rate plus 25 new members per month. With expected marketing we believe these numbers will be easily attainable. The main driving forces for membership will be marketing, customer satisfaction, and networking.
Gross revenue is based on number of events per month. In the beginning and during the first year of holding events, we expect to do no more than four events per month. During the second and third years we expect to do five or six events per month. Again, these numbers are based on data from Cookeston company.
Profit from events is expected to be zero to a few hundred dollars per event in the beginning. With more events, more members, and better margins we expect profits to approach $500 to $1,000 per event (2005 - 2006). The main driving forces for profit are the number of events per month and event margins. As the company becomes better known in the business community and with greater member numbers, we expect our margins to increase.
Costs that are not directly related to events includes marketing, sales, office, and related items. Many of these are fixed costs. However, marketing costs are expected to level off in future years with networking and word-of-mouth becoming more prominent. The overall numbers for membership are in line with the total population in our area. We believe our events for singles and their presentation are unique to this area. With good networking and customer satisfaction plus adequate press coverage we expect to beat these forecasts.
However, other factors may turn membership downward, such as a weakening economy and/or job losses in our geographical area.
The programs will be revised each year. This year's plan includes only the programs to be implemented this year.