Ceres Gardening Case

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Ceres Gardening Company:
Funding Growth in Organic Products
Jonathan Wydown, CEO of the Ceres Gardening Company, scrutinized the figures presented by Annette O’Connell, vice-president of Marketing. It was December 2006, and the two were finalizing the firm’s marketing strategy and objectives for 2007. Having just received the latest industry report on growth and trends, they discussed the implications for Ceres (see Exhibit 1). O’Connell observed: This report confirms what we believed—growth in organic gardening products is strong, and the trends should support long-term growth. And our own growth is outpacing the industry, especially since we launched the GetCeres™ program. We are clearly doing something right, and we’ve got to remain aggressive.

Wydown nodded. It was true that Ceres had shown impressive growth, increasing revenues by over 70% in just five years while growing profits by over 25% (see Exhibits 2 and 3; also see Exhibit 4 for additional information on finances). He had set ambitious goals for the company, and now they had to focus on executing the 2007 plan. O’Connell’s proposed marketing initiatives for 2007 included expanding the GetCeres™ marketing program, adding new products to the organic seedlings line, and pursuing a pilot program with Menards, a major do-it-yourself home center. Wydown set the report aside and said to O’Connell:

Annette, I agree we should pursue growth, but let’s be sure to think through all the implications. Expanding GetCeres™ and the Menards pilot will require additional marketing spend, plus attracting and training good sales talent. Adding new SKUs1 to the seedlings line opens up opportunities, but we have to be certain the supply chain can deal with the added complexity. We also need to think about the financing needed to drive this growth.

History of Ceres Gardening Company
Jonathan Wydown founded Ceres Gardening Company in 1989 with a mission to promote sustainable organic gardens and landscapes. He had...
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