Plan For Improved Marketing: Tables

Table 1. Internal and external information gathered in the situation analysis

Business related (Internal) Information:

(1) Financial resources and capabilities:

  • Gross profits and net earnings after taxes
  • Financial ratios – return on investment, breakeven analysis, leverage ratio, current ratio, age of accounts receivable, inventory turnover, working capital turnover, and profit margins.
  • Cash flow analysis (actual and/or projected)
  • Record keeping system
  • Borrowing capabilities

(2) Operating facilities:

  • Production capacity – based on land, labor, and equipment availabilities (wholesale nurseries only)
  • Production scheduling of cultural practices (wholesale nurseries)
  • Inventory levels by variety, grade, size, and loss rates (may affect markets targeted in the short run)
  • Manpower requirements
  • Equipment requirements

(3) Competitive strengths and weaknesses:

  • Competitive status of company’s products (name recognition, quality perception, etc.)
  • Sales force capabilities
  • Market share projections (as compared to competitors)
  • Competitiveness of prices – volume discounts
  • Advertising and promotion capabilities
  • Depth of product mix
  • Distribution methods and channels
  • Service capabilities

Market Related (External) Information:

(1) Environmental constraints:

  • Costs and availabilities of materials (chemicals, soil media, etc.)
  • Costs and availabilities of energy (fuel, electricity, etc.)
  • Economic conditions – housing starts, inflation, recession, interest rates, unemployment rates, capital availability.
  • Technology advancements
  • Political environment – environmental quality, pesticide issues, etc.

(2) Market conditions:

  • Market size – population, family size, number of households, rate of growth in an area, geographic concentrations.
  • Market segments (alternative outlets) differentiated by age, sex, income level, education, occupation.
  • Buyer purchasing habits – time, place, credit or cash, frequency.
  • Buyers use habits – when, where, for what purpose.

(3) Analysis of competitors:

  • Number of competitors in the market area
  • Market shares (industry surveys)
  • Strengths and weaknesses in terms of prices (last 3-5 years), product mix, quality, promotion, advertising, cost structure, transportation costs.

Sources of Information:

  • State or national trade associations (TAN, American Association of Nurserymen, etc.)
  • Landscape contractors or architects (can indicate plants they are currently using or plan to use and those which are difficult to obtain)
  • County Extension Agents and Horticultural Specialists – Extension Service
  • Texas Departments of Agriculture (Texas Grown program)
  • Trade publications (American Nurseryman, Nursery Business – Retailer, Nursery Business -Grower, Nursery Manager)
  • Trade shows (SNA, TANMISSLARK, Penn Allied, etc.) I
  • ndustry surveys (TAN, AAN, etc.)
  • Census data (excellent source of demographic information)

Table 2. Examples of specific marketing objectives


  • Increase overall return on investment by __% for the next fiscal year.
  • Increase specific product sales by __% for the next fiscal year.
  • Increase market share by __% in “X” market by December 31, 1990.
  • Increase sales volume by __% in selected regions/territories by specific dates.
  • Prices should yield a minimum unit contribution to profit of __%.
  • Increase manpower training by __% by a specific date.
  • Achieve advertising/promotion goals in specific markets for the year.
  • Introduce __ new products to fill out product mix by specific dates.

Table 3. Tactical product mix decisions.

Product Related Decisions

  • Determining the most effective product mix (species, cultivars, sizes, etc.) to serve each market segment (should be based on costs and buyer demand).
  • Branding the products in the product line, if possible (plant patents, etc.)
  • Using attractive and efficient containers that hold up during storage.
  • Provide attractive and informative labels for plant materials.
  • Provide guarantees for each product in the product line. Modifying the existing product mix as the need arises.
  • Planning and introducing new products (cultivars, sizes, etc,) when possible.
  • Provide information on the care of the plants after they are sold.
  • Service considerations – delivery, credit, convenient business hours.

Promotional Related Decisions

  • Select and prioritize target groups and geographical marketing areas.
  • Determine whether advertising is required for the target markets selected. If so:
    • Determine advertising appeals and specific messages to use in those campaigns.
    • Select appropriate advertising media such as radio, television, newspaper, road signs or direct mail.
    • Determine the size of the ads to be used.
    • Determine the duration of the advertising campaign.
    • Determine the frequency of advertising.
    • Determine how advertising effectiveness is to be measured.
  • Select appropriate sales promotional media such as point-of-purchase materials, samples, demonstrations, or trade shows.
  • Develop a logo that is colorful and prominent.
  • Public relations events – donate to charities, community meeting place, sponsor festivals, etc.

Pricing Related Decisions

  • Determine base prices for each product in each market served
  • Determine the appropriate types and sizes of volume discounts used, if any.
  • Determine the use of psychological pricing tactics such as prestige pricing, promotional pricing, etc.
  • Determine credit policies.
  • Allow consumers to buy the quality of plants they can afford.

Distribution Related Decisions

  • Provide protective packaging for goods in transient and storage.
  • Determine the modes of transportation to be used.
  • Determine inventory requirements and maintain these requirements.
  • Provide frequent small shipments, even on weekends, if necessary.

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