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Sales and Marketing Strategy

Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network


Sales and marketing are critical to the success of Bella's Biscotti so she established a relationship with one of Metro City's leading advertising and communications agencies - Figgis Communications - to oversee her corporate identity and advertising campaigns. Figgis saw the growth potential in Bella's and was willing to work with the company on a per project basis until Bella's could afford to keep the firm on retainer.

In her business plan, Bella needed to describe the two series of ad and promotions Figgis had created for her, to targeting both fancy foods retailers and consumers.

Which of the following would you recommend that Bella use in her business plan to describe her advertising efforts?

Choice A:

Bella's will run several different ads promotions, all of which are being created by Figgis Communications. The first series of ads will be aimed at getting retailers to try our line of biscotti. The other ads will target consumers. We intend to support these efforts with press releases and other publicity tools.

Choice B:

Figgis Communications, one of Metro City's leading agencies, will create our ads and oversee our ad placement. For more information, you should speak with Casey Luke, our account executive, or Lina Schreck, the creative director. They will be happy to help you.

Choice C:

Figgis Communications, Bella's Biscotti's advertising agency, has developed a two-pronged advertising campaign to get product into the stores, and increase demand by consumers for that product.

The first ad campaign will be directed at owners and buyers at gourmet food stores. It will focus on the unique flavors of Bella's Biscotti, and encourage them to be "the first store in their neighborhood to carry the latest gourmet cookie alternative." The ads will include: details of our special promotional pricing; a mention of our consumer advertising and promotional campaign (see below); discussion of our co-op ad and retail support programs; and details of how they can get a "free sample" by calling our "800" phone number, mailing in a coupon, or using our special e-mail address. We intend to forward all responses and leads to our sales reps and distributors.

These ads will run in Metro City Markets - a bi-weekly trade newspaper aimed at supermarkets, gourmet markets, and other food sellers in the Metro City region. We also intend to purchase space in the "New Products" section of the newspaper. The ads are scheduled for the two issues prior to the MetroMart Fancy Foods Show, at which we will be exhibiting (see trade show section).

Because of the high cost of running advertisements in traditional "consumer" publications, Bella's intends to take a highly focused approach supplemented by several marketing "stunts." For example, in September, once retail distribution channels are in place, we plan to hold "Biscotti Day" to introduce Bella's. College students and actors will be hired to give away samples of Bella's Biscotti across Metro City. We will begin at Downtown Station, giving samples to commuters encouraging them to "try something new with their coffee." At lunch hour, our efforts will focus on the downtown business and shopping districts. At the end of the day, our give-aways will take place at bus and metro stops. Each give-away will include one small biscotti (either Macadamia Nut or Black Currant), a description of Bella's Biscotti, a coupon good for 50 cents off their next purchase, and a directory of retailers that carry the biscotti.

We will support "Biscotti Day" with a press conference introducing Bella's Biscotti. Because of the nature of the stunt, we anticipate extensive coverage in the local newspapers, on the four local television stations, and on the radio. The day before "Biscotti Day," we intend to place full page ads in the three Metro City daily newspapers, announcing that tomorrow is "Biscotti Day," and nothing else; not even a mention of Bella's. The day after "Biscotti Day," we will again buy full-page ads in the three Metro City dailies, as well as in the following week's Metro Magazine, explaining "How to make every day Biscotti Day with Bella's Biscotti." The ads will include a coupon good for 50 cents off a package of Bella's, as well as a directory of retailers carrying Bella's.

You Chose A

While this response describes some of the attributes of Bella's advertising and promotion campaign, it does not go into enough depth. It is important to list and discuss every marketing tool you plan to use. For each activity you propose, include what is to be done, how it will be done, and who will do it. Bella should include a description of the message of each of her ads. She also should describe her media schedule - when and where these ads will run. If you chose this response, you might want to use the Advertising & Promotion worksheet to help you keep track of your advertising and promotional efforts. Go to the toolbox to download the worksheet.

Back to Choices

You Chose B

This response does not describe Bella's advertising tactics at all. Instead of asking her reader to research her campaign themselves by contacting her agency, she should discuss the marketing tools she intends to use. Even if you've hired a professional agency to handle a part of your business, you will want to show potential investors that you have a clear idea of what methods your agency intends to use. As you write the section, be sure to list and discuss every marketing tool you plan to use. For each activity you propose, include what is to be done, how it will be done, and who will do it. If you chose this response, you should look at some of the examples in the sales and marketing Toolbox, and when you prepare your own business plan, use the Advertising & Promotion worksheet to help keep track of your advertising and promotional efforts.

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You Chose C

This is an excellent description of Bella's ad campaign. She has described what advertising vehicles her agency intends to use, how they will be used, and what results are to be expected. Notice how she describes how the ads will support her product's positioning, and how she also discusses where the ads will run. You might think that she's put in too much detail, however, the in-depth description of the "Biscotti Day" stunt is necessary. It shows that she and her ad agency are doing the most with their budgets to increase consumer awareness of Bella's Biscotti and drive consumers into the stores.

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