Marlin Catering

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Sample Marketing Plan

Marketing Management

A Customer-Oriented Approach

Kenneth E. Clow and Donald Baack

Executive Summary

The working purpose and overall goal of the marketing project is to: (1) analyze Marlin Catering’s current situation; (2) determine strategies for reaching potential clientele; and (3) develop marketing tactics and an implementation plan.

The marketing project opens with an analysis of the company's current situation, including a review of its internal and external environment, which yields information regard current company strengths and weakness along with the opportunities and threats present. Marlin Catering's primary strengths are in the areas of its staff and expertise. Its weaknesses include consumer perceptions that firm only sells Mexican food, even for catered events and the company is not well known in the area. The opportunities present include a growing marketplace. The primary threat is a large number of competing firms in the area.

The marketing goal for Marlin Catering is to become a viable company in the catering business in the Fayetteville area serving both individuals and businesses with high quality food and service. The marketing strategy will begin with offering high quality food and high quality, on-time service. The distribution strategy will be to sell via direct sales and to expand via word of mouth endorsements. In the future, indirect marketing through florists and banquet halls may be pursued.

The primary emphasis will be on advertising and promotion. Marlin Catering should begin a targeted advertising campaign and develop a colorful brochure that illustrates the company's services. Personal selling and a presence trade shows should be used to enhance the image. It will be important to reach the three distinctive markets that Marlin seeks to serve. Implementation and control measures are outlined in the conclusion of this report.

Current Situation

Jose Hernandez and Clay Shields own Marlin Catering. They combine their experience, management expertise, and financial resources to conduct business. Jose Hernandez is also the co-owner/business manager of Marlin Catering Party Planning and Marlin Café. Clay Shields serves as the silent partner and is not involved in the daily managerial activities of the business. The Marlin Catering business was established in January 2008.

The owners of Marlin Catering would like to eventually concentrate on the café and catering business and discontinue the party planning business. Jose and Clay are in the process of relocating the café to another facility while expanding the services of the catering business. This leaves the current café as the only location to be used for the catering business.

Presently, Marlin Catering carries out every aspect of the catering process. After the initial meeting with the client, Jose Hernandez prepares a menu selection including prices. The next meeting involves the contract signing and down payment. During the catering event, Marlin Catering provides the food along with servers, linens, and china. They set up the food display and clean up the venue at the conclusion of the event.

Internal Environment

An analysis of the current situation for Marlin Catering includes examining the company’s internal environment, external environment, competition, and customers. The mission statement was the first component examined in the internal environment. The current statement reads, “Marlin Catering is dedicated to providing service for their customer base in the local catering market in the Fayetteville, Arkansas area. Marlin Catering is committed to providing high quality and reliable services to existing and potential customers.”

Though Marlin Catering is a new business with little name recognition in the catering market, the opportunity for exposure and interest is increasing....
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