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    Executive Summary

    Company Profile

    Market Segmentation & Targeting

    Situation and Company Analysis

    Ethics and Social Responsibility

    Marketing Information and Research

    Customer Decision-Making Profile

    Positioning and Differentiation


    Marketing Mix (4Ps)

    Product Strategy

    Pricing Strategy

    Place: Distribution Strategy

    Promotion: Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy

    Budget and Controls

    Action Plan

    Executive Summary

    Company Description

    This marketing plan is designed to give us a blueprint for marketing our new retail store, The Boulder Stop.


    Our ambitions for this marketing plan include:

    • Using our existing Internet and direct-mail marketing expertise to build local promotions and marketing literature.
    • Devising lucrative promotions that will draw sponsorships from possible strategic partners. These promotions are key to our strategy of increasing our strategic alliances through cross-promotions.
    • Identifying our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
    • Identifying the local market forces, target markets, and promotional opportunities.

    We hope this marketing plan creates a long-term growth model for our retail success. The Boulder Stop has been successful at direct mail and Internet sales, and we hope to make a smooth transition into retail.

    Target Segment

    • Hard-core climbers: the “because it’s there” group, who climb as often as possible
    • Weekend warriors: those with serious interest but limited time to climb

    Competitive Advantage

    Our store location gives us a competitive advantage.  The Boulder Stop is walking distance from Smith Rock State Park, the birthplace of modern sport climbing.

    Positioning Statement

    For climbers who need a place to stop for gear and coffee near Smith Rock, The Boulder Stop offers high-quality climbing gear, gourmet espresso drinks, and a comfortable place to meet and talk. We will position The Boulder Stop as a community-involved organization that creates value for the community while minimizing environmental impact.

    Marketing Plan Objectives

    Our objective is to make The Boulder Stop the number-one destination for rock climbing equipment customers in Oregon and to achieve 30 percent of the region’s rock climbing gear market share.

    Company Profile

    • Company Name: The Boulder Stop
    • Industry: Rock-climbing equipment
    • Headquarters (city, state, country): Redmond, Oregon, U.S.A
    • Year founded: 1997
    • Number of employees: 4
    • Annual revenue (estimated): $150,000
    • Major products and/or services: rock-climbing gear and coffee/espresso drinks
    • Target customers: hard-core rock climbers and weekend warriors
    • Distribution channel(s): Wholesale marketers, including GearX, Liberty Mountain. Local coffee roaster, The Wandering Goat.
    • Key retail equipment competitors: REI, Redpoint Climbers Supply, Mountain Supply. We also face a variety of online competitors.
    • Link to Web site:

    Market Segmentation & Targeting

    Rock climbing is as much about storytelling and nostalgia as it is about routes and gear. The Boulder Stop provides a “campfire” social setting in a retail location.


    While all climbers and hikers are potential customers, we aim to serve the “hard-core” climbers and the weekend warriors.  These groups share a similar love of the sport, and are separated mainly by the time they have available to pursue it.  Both groups value high-end equipment and are willing to pay premium prices for the safety and convenience that high-end equipment provides.


    The proximity of several large cities in Western Oregon helps fuel our business, as does the status of Smith Rock as an international destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. Individuals from as far away as Japan, Europe, South America, and Australia travel to Smith Rock to recreate.


    Hard-core climbers, especially, but also weekend warriors are currently underserved in their technical equipment needs by local retailers. They rely on online purchases, which limits the ability they have to see and touch items to gauge their applicability for their needs. The Boulder Stop will combine the advantages of a physical retail location, employees with expertise, and a café location to share stories and plan future expeditions.

    Situation and Company Analysis

    Economic Environment

    In a 2010 state-generated report, consumer expenditures for espresso beverages and rock climbing equipment combined rose to $7,000,000 in Central Oregon. We expect sales to increase steadily as Oregon’s population grows and the rock climbing industry becomes increasingly popular.


    The Bend area is currently in an economic growth phase, with high consumer confidence and a high rate of job growth.


    We predict that the number of hard-core climbers will grow faster than the number of weekend warriors. Climbing is becoming more and more technical, an “insider’s sport,” and we believe this will fuel the growth of dedicated, highly sophisticated climbers. At the same time, amateur growth is leveling off.

    Technical Environment

    We see technological advances in climbing gear as a factor that will work in our favor. As climbing equipment grows more advanced—lighter, stronger, more durable—it will drive repeat customers to our store.

    Social media trends, particularly the increasing proliferation of GoPro video distribution as a way of connecting serious climbers, is something we’ll continue to monitor.  Workshop offerings for making and sharing climbing videos will be one way to wed online technology and our physical store.

    Industry Environment

    Rock Climbing

    The rock climbing industry is growing faster than ever. Although the gear is expensive, people buy it because it provides them with long-term fun. And safety.


    Coffee and Espresso

    High profit margins on coffee sales and low overhead costs lead to high profit margins in the espresso industry. Expansion of coffee and espresso retail outlets has increased exponentially in the last five years as large companies such as Starbucks[tm] have increased their reach to the East Coast in cities such as Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. Coffee shops that offer a social setting for interacting and connecting with other patrons­–the Starbucks model–can succeed in drawing loyal customers from the local community.

    Competitive Environment

    Our main physical competitors selling climbing gear are REI, Redpoint Climbers Supply, Mountain Supply and, to a lesser extent, area coffee shops and eateries such as Dutch Brothers Coffee, Starbucks and McDonald’s. Redpoint Climbers Supply is our most direct competitor, since it offers gear and beer, but their equipment selection is very limited, and the atmosphere is less friendly, less suited to weekend warrior types and their families.


    We also face online competitors for climbing gear. Our physical location will have the advantage of immediacy, add-on purchases, strong customer service, and an inviting locale.

    Political Environment

    The Boulder Stop may need to “prove itself” as a community member and show that it’s invested in thoughtful development and the preservation of Central Oregon’s natural beauty.


    Many locals in Redmond believe that growth, for the sake of growth, is a political disease. They are right. We must make sure our physical and sociological impact is kept to a minimum, and that locals maintain the quality way of life they deserve.

    SWOT Analysis

    Instruction: Complete the table below with descriptive responses and explanation as you answer the questions below.

    Strengths Weaknesses
    ·         Community commitment

    ·         Experience in the sport of rock climbing

    ·         Nationwide marketing experience


    Our most significant strength lies in our management team’s skills in both rock climbing and running a small business. After years of working the pro circuit, Bill Walsh has gained insight into the history, ethics, and progressive nature of traditional wall and sport climbing. Pan Silverton has worked a number of years with small business clients looking for direction and strategic cohesion. His insight has led to multi-million-dollar finance deals that helped put some small businesses on the map. The combination of experience and proven business acumen represent a strength for The Boulder Stop.


    The Boulder Stop has been successful at direct mail and online sales, and we have a strong reputation as a source of high-quality gear and excellent service. We expect that reputation and credibility to carry into our retail setting.

    ·         Limited cash

    ·         Limited experience dealing with contractors/builders

    ·         Little experience with local politics


    The Boulder Stop has access to a limited amount of cash. Initial financing will not be difficult due to solid credit and the low inventory depreciation rate, but ongoing financing will be more difficult to obtain.


    Nobody at the Boulder Stop has experience in negotiating with contractors. This is a liability due to the difficulty in managing and maintaining the timeliness and budget for a contractor. We will compensate for this weakness by retaining an expert contractual lawyer to negotiate our side of the construction contract.


    Eastern Oregon can be very “status quo” and any new player threatens the old order and puts the locals on the defensive. We will pull the community together through events hosted at our location. We’re also sponsoring the “Run For Their Lives” event which will raise money for children from broken and violent homes, donating medical care and clothing.


    As a reseller of name-brand products, we have very little control over how our customers view each individual product.

    Opportunities Threats
    ·         No well-focused, well-marketed competition

    ·         The cost of Internet and other direct marketing opportunities have decreased in recent years

    ·         Climbers and hikers are not as price-sensitive as other outdoor enthusiasts

    The market for rock climbing and hiking gear, good coffee, and ice cream in Redmond is far below saturation level. Our two local competitors do very little in the way of marketing. This gives us the opportunity to develop the market and brand ourselves as the market ‘original’.

    The cost of selling via e-commerce has decreased tremendously in recent years. Our inventory system allows for tracking products for online and physical sales, and we can develop streamlining practices between the two revenue streams, with the investment of Web- authoring tools and training.

    Weekend warriors and hard core climbers will pay virtually anything to get into the latest gear. The average climber carries around $1,200 of equipment. Since climbers place their lives on the line when they use their equipment, the majority of them buy only name-brand gear at a price premium. Climbers associate high price with premium quality.

    Rock climbing service companies offer us a unique opportunity. We can team up with these services to promote our events and store, and in return we will give them “shelf space.” This gives service companies cost-effective market exposure. We will partner with companies such as First Ascent LLC and other American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) accreditees.

    ·         Locals are very sensitive to land use

    ·         La Niña weather

    Locals are sensitive to the manner in which we develop our land for commercial use. The land is state owned. Oregon will lease one, 1/4 acre parcel to The Boulder Stop. Since it is public land, the public can revoke our lease without offering just cause.

    The last three years have been ‘La Nina’ years, pummeling Oregon with rain and cold weather. Last year, the rock climbing season began in May. When the season begins as late as May, it means we have two to three fewer months of revenue with which to pay for our leased land and equipment (fixed costs). Although we can hope for an Indian summer, this doesn’t happen very often in Oregon. By early October, the vacation season is over, kids are back in school, and there are few people around to buy our coffee and gear.

    Our local competition is not as fierce as our direct mail and Web competition. They currently do very little marketing and very few company-sponsored events. We won’t rule out the possibility that they may do so in the future as a response to our projected success in such marketing. The competition for coffee is an issue, yet we aren’t directly competing with the downtown Starbucks, since we don’t cater to the urban culture, but rather the natural explorers, those who would rather go to a state park than city shops.


    Mission, Objectives, and Goals

    Our mission is to provide an entertaining, fun, and knowledgeable atmosphere to climbers who experience nothing but a rock face and nutrition bars all day.



    1. To make The Boulder Stop the number-one destination for rock climbing equipment customers in Oregon, and to achieve the largest market share in the region for rock climbing gear.
    2. To be an active and vocal member of the community and to provide continual reinvestment through participation in community activities and financial contributions. We will sponsor two to three events during the year, including the Pacific Amateur (PA) Golf Classic, charity events, and celebrity-hosted competitions.
    3. To achieve 30% market share of area climbing equipment sales by August of 2014.
    4. To grow direct retail sales by a conservative minimum of 12% per year.
    5. To achieve sales of $190,000 in year one.

    Ethics and Social Responsibility

    Current Status

    The Boulder Stop’s plans to sponsor community benefit events and to establish a very eco-conscious business demonstrate our commitment to socially responsible business. Additionally, The Boulder Stop has implemented a plan to give each employee the option of participating in company-sponsored training courses, outside curricula, and community-volunteer opportunities that build on their interests and skill sets.



    Investigate eco-friendly disposable food containers and composting options for food/beverage waste.


    Initiate carpooling/ride-share bulletin board in the store to cut down on traffic to and from Smith Rock and other Central Oregon climbing destinations.

    Marketing Information and Research

    Research Question and Information Needed

    What are the market share figures for climbing equipment in our local market? Currently no ready resources are available.

    Research Recommendations

    State of Oregon provides yearly economic data by region, which can serve as basis for an estimate of market share goals for 2014.


    We can obtain feedback from in-store customer comment cards and the local Chamber of Commerce. We can also survey members of the local climbing community to learn more about how much they spend annually on climbing gear and where they buy gear.

    Customer Decision-Making Profile

    Identifying the Customer and Problem

    Buyer Persona: Geoff

    Geoff is a 27-year-old college graduate who works seasonal outdoors jobs. He has “rock on the brain,” and most of his free time is spent climbing or in technical preparation for his next climb. Most of his social life and online presence revolve around his passion for climbing. He is seen as a leader in his climbing community and offers informal mentoring to inexperienced but enthusiastic climbers.


    Geoff researches big purchases extensively, using online reviews and recommendations from friends in the community. He is also susceptible to impulse buys when he sees an item that he feels will make his next climb safer or allow him to push his technique further.


    The Boulder Stop will allow Geoff a “home base” to relax, connect with climbing buddies, and become more knowledgeable about the available equipment.

    Factors Influencing Customer Decisions


    Geography: 90% U.S. customers
    9% European customers
    1% Other countries
    Age: 15–45
    Sex: 62% male
    38% female


    Males buy gear through catalogs and the Web more often than women. This skews the direct sales toward male customers. In-store customers tend to be younger than catalog shoppers, and a larger percentage of them are locals or native to the United States. Purchasing decisions are strongly influenced by peer and community recommendations, as well as online and expert reviews. Proximity is also a big factor: if a new piece of gear is available here and now to use on the next climb, it is very attractive as an impulse buy.

    Reaching the Customer

    • We will build strategic partnerships with climbing service companies. We will benefit from the association of trust these companies already enjoy with their clients.


    • We will differentiate The Boulder Stop from competitors through aggressive advertising and promotional campaigns that demonstrate our community support and commitment. Redmond is a unique community with a fiercely loyal local population, and we want to show that we put the best interest of the community first.


    • We will build retail store awareness through our direct mail and Web campaigns, leading to greater word-of-mouth marketing. Since Smith Rock is a draw for tourists and climbers world-wide, we want to make a visit to our retail store a vital part of the Smith Rock experience.

    Positioning and Differentiation

    Competitive Advantages

    Our store and location give us a competitive advantage. The Boulder Stop is located within 1/4 mile of Smith Rock itself and within walking distance of the park.

    Market Niche and Positioning Strategy

    There are two important underlying needs, and the combination of gear and coffee serves both. The Boulder Stop’s function is similar to that of the ski lodge at the bottom of the slopes: selling important gear while providing a place for snacks, beverages, and talk. We are the rock climber’s version of the ski lodge.


    1. There is a real need for a highly professional provider of climbing gear near the Smith Rock location. People forget to pack exactly what they need, and things break.
    2. There is a practical need for coffee, a meeting place, and conversation. This is part of the activity focus of the location.
    3. There is a need for “one-stop” shopping. Climbers and recreationalists don’t want to have to buy their gear at one store, and drive miles to enjoy good coffee and conversation at another. The Boulder Stop fulfills this need.


    Positioning Statement

    “To hard-core rock climbers and weekend warriors, The Boulder Stop is the only place in Central Oregon to buy high-quality climbing gear and enjoy a great cup of coffee in a fun, relaxing environment with like-minded adventurers.”

    Repositioning Considerations

    No. The Boulder Stop retail location is a new position.


    Brand Description

    The Boulder Stop is extending off its existing direct-mail and online brand, which is that of a convenient and experienced high-quality climbing gear provider. Our retail location will embrace the physical location as a community gathering place and one-stop-shop on the way to Smith Rock.

    Brand Promise

    The Boulder Stop delivers gear you can trust and coffee you can enjoy.

    Brand Voice and Personality

    • The Boulder Stop is: Focused, Knowledgeable and Fun
    • The Boulder Stop is never: Slack

    Brand Positioning and Strategy

    Since the physical location of The Boulder Stop is so unique, we should take care to incorporate the environmental concerns and community needs around us. This will lead to an established sense of trust in Redmond and the greater community of climbers worldwide.

    Marketing Mix (Four Ps)

    Product Strategy

    As a reseller of name-brand products, we have very little control over how our customers view each individual product. We do, however, have control over the customer environment and the manner in which we display our products. From a standard retail standpoint, product marketing appears to be very simple – display the products in an aesthetically pleasing manner, and they will come. It is more complicated for us. We have identified two types of customers, and each has its own buying pattern.

    The hard-core climbers need a great selection of gear, and will be disappointed if they aren’t offered a “bargain bin” of last year’s model gear. We will host climber discussion groups, with free coffee on Friday and Saturday nights after 7:00 p.m. This will give hard-core climbers an opportunity to exchange stories and relax in our café. They will be our most consistent customer base throughout the season.

    The weekend warriors will also be drawn to the quality and selection of gear, and will also partake of the bargain bin, though less than the hard-core climbers. The warriors will find comfort in the café area, and bring family members who will sip drinks while the warriors shop. They are more likely to shop on weekends and at the start of the season, and we will adjust our staffing accordingly.

    Service is important to our mix. We have an obligation to provide quality products and cheerful service, fast and efficiently. Our service goals are simple and easy to maintain.

    We will only accept returns or exchanges with a receipt and within 30 days of purchase, to enforce our seriousness as a business. We will take seriously every issue of product quality, to show the value we place on consumer trust.

    Pricing Strategy

    We are a store that is positioned for impulse buying; therefore it is important that we maintain a flexible pricing strategy.

    • Our pricing strategy will be based on competitive parity guidelines. We will not exceed competitors’ prices by more than 10%.
    • Price says a lot about a product. The products that are innovative and not available elsewhere in the region will be marked up to meet the demand curve. We are not afraid of premium pricing a premium product.
    • Espresso beverages will be priced a little below the industry average. Although we will still make money off the beverages, we consider this a “Loss Leader” strategy whereby word-of-mouth advertising brings customers in for the drinks, simply to make them aware of our additional products and services.

    Place: Distribution Strategy

    Our new retail distribution strategy will be similar to our existing online sales distribution strategy: work with established wholesale vendors who are reputable and reliable.


    In order to promote the community-friendly atmosphere in our store, we will partner with a local coffee roaster, The Whole Goat, for our café needs. Espresso beans will be delivered twice-weekly, to ensure freshness.


    We will also create partnerships with local, reputable rock climbing service companies to host events, promote each others’ products and services, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

    Promotion: Integrated Marketing Communications Strategy

    Goal: To increase sales to weekend warriors by 15% as a result of community relationships.

    Call to action: Attend the “Llama Run” community event at our store.



    Bring community members with an interest in outdoor events and charity sponsorship to our location, and catch interest with the unique “Llama Run” event.



    Key Message: The Boulder Stop promotes community engagement and a spirit of adventure.

    Proof Point: The annual Llama Run event takes people outside of their comfort zones and raises money for the St. Charles Medical Center.

    Call to Action: Attend the “Llama Run” community event at our store.


    IMC Tools:


    Web Site: information about the event will be placed prominently on the store’s home page


    Email marketing: send event information, including pictures of llamas mid-race, to customer base


    Advertising: banner sign advertising the event outside the store location


    Community involvement: local vendors are invited to set up booths at the event


    Social Media: build awareness and post updates about the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


    Contest: owners of the top 3 winning llamas will receive cash prizes.  A drawing during the event will award store gift certificates to attendees.


    Public Relations: outreach to local media outlets and community information boards to publicize the Llama Run. Proceeds of the event will be donated to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend, OR. The hospital will have community outreach staff at the event to answer health-related questions.


    Sales Alignment: the Llama Run event will support the sales funnel in several ways:

    • Generating new leads among the local community, as new people visit our location for the first time
    • Building relationships with the community and discovering needs, as we establish deeper roots with committed climbers and learn what we can do to better meet their needs
    • Presenting a solution, as climbing enthusiasts visit our store, they will find an attractive space for great gear, good coffee and a place to meet and share with other like-minded adventurers. They will recognize this is the place for them.


    Awareness: it brings locals to the store who may not have visited since its opening.


    Measurement (KPIs—Key Performance Indicators)

    • Number of attendees
    • Number of net new customers
    • Dollar amount raised for charity
    • Increase in store traffic sales attributed to the event: day of and in weeks following the event
    • Social media followers and shares—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

    Budget and Controls

    Item Purpose Cost Estimate
    Item #1: Staffing Event set-up, coordination, management, and break-down $2000
    Item #2: Sound Equipment For announcing events of the day and the Llama Race in action $750
    Item #3: Food Giveaways Samples of café products and light refreshments provided during event $1000
    Item #4: Temporary Fencing and Troughs Keep the animals and public safe during the event $750
    Item #5: Fliers and Swag Print items relevant to the event; giveaway of small carabiners marked with The Boulder Stop logo $300
    Item #6: Event Planning Provide relief from other job duties while 2 members of staff plan and make arrangements ahead of event and publicize it on social media $1000


    Estimated campaign impact:

    The Llama Run event will bring community recognition to The Boulder Stop and establish its validity as a retailer and social gathering location. It will attract new business. It will attract followers to social media streams, for building a future customer base.


    Contingency plans and risk management:


    Risks to marketing plan overall:

    Our biggest potential problems, the ones that will limit our ability to create programs, are financial. Our budget relies on sales figures that are reliable and well-researched, but are also affected by such things as weather and political difficulties. Our first plan is a “scale-down” plan; that is, we will eliminate the Llama Run, and other planned sponsorships and wait out the year, relying on website and direct sales to cover our cost of doing business. The direct business alone will not support our financial commitments, but with excellent credit, inventory as collateral, and basic Smith Rock foot traffic, we will survive without popular marketing programs.


    If we lose a part-time employee, there will be plenty to find elsewhere. If we lose Pan Silverton, his skills will be difficult to replace, but we will have plenty of quality applicants living in the Bend/Redmond area. Will also have the option of hiring away competitors’ employees, as they are poorly paid and are given very little company ownership.


    Our climbing gear supply chain will survive as long as there are many competitors making climbing gear and powerful international service companies to deliver the gear. We will never have difficulty finding coffee, because this IS the Pacific Northwest and fresh-roasted coffee/espresso beans are available in abundance.


    Risks to specific Llama Run event:

    The biggest risk is that of inclement weather.  While Oregonians are used to rain, poor weather will decrease attendance and planned outdoor components considerably.  We would still be able to hold the llama race itself, but otherwise have contingencies in place to move other major components indoors.  With enough notice, we can use the warehouse storage space to move vendors, and host all food events in the café.  We could move all tables out, and rely on a standing-room only approach.  We will have a couple of indoor activities for children to use if needed.

    Action Plan

    Timing Activity Type Brief Description Audience
    Date 7/1 Strategy Session Designate key figures in event planning and outline major tasks Internal
    Date 7/5 Order Materials Price carabiner giveaways, trophies for events, and food supplies.  Place orders. Vendors
    Date 7/5 Contact community partners Align event planning with St. Charles Medical Center and Chamber of Commerce.  Extend invitations to local llama owners. Community Partners
    Date 7/10 Reserve event necessities Order appropriate animal fencing and supplies and arrange delivery/pickup on event day. Order sound system equipment for event day. Vendors
    Date 7/10 Update website Change home page of website to feature Llama Run event details.  Add links to St. Charles, Chamber of Commerce, and other community partners. Include call for llama contestants. Customers
    Date 7/10 Press Release Identify key event details for local news outlets.  Include call for llama contestants. Media outlets
    Date 7/10 Social Media Updates Post event details on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  (This activity will continue twice-weekly until event.) Social media followers
    Date 7/20 Finalize community participants Coordinate with all vendors and other community groups who wish to set up tables at the event. Community partners
    Date 7/31 Take delivery of event items Prepare event site the day before.  Establish parking and animal-only areas. Internal
    Launch Date 8/1 Llama Race Day Community and Customers
    Date 8/3 Event follow-up Overview of event attendance; input received from attendees and vendors; social media responses Internal
    Date 8/7 Next steps Establish best practices for future on-site events and off-site event sponsorships. Internal




    Flinders Business School Marketing Plan Template. Authored by David Medlow-Smith. Located at: License: CC BY-SA.



    SWOT and Integrated Marketing Communications Templates. Authored by Melissa Barker. License: CC BY: Attribution.


    Revision and adaptation. Authored by Lumen Learning. License: CC BY-SA.


    “Sample Marketing Plan: The Boulder Stop Sports Marketing Event” was adapted from “Sports Equipment Marketing Plan: The Boulder Stop.” Used by permission, Palo Alto Software.

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