Cowgirls Chocolates Case
Marilyn Lysohir, an internationally famous ceramic artist, started Cowgirl Chocolates to provide some funding support for a yearly published arts magazine, High Ground, that she and her husband, Ross Coates started in 1995. Her love of chocolates and hot and spicy foods spurred the idea of making hot and spicy chocolates to be sold in creative, artistic tins and packaging, which she labeled as Cowgirl Chocolates. Her small business, begun in 1997, had won a number of awards in fiery food competitions. While Cowgirl Chocolates had grown gradually over its four years in business, it still had only generated $30,000 in sales revenue in 2000, which was not enough to cover expenses. Marilyn had drained much of her personal savings to keep Cowgirl Chocolate in business. Her cash accounting approaches and record keeping were not very orthodox, although she seemed to have a good intelligence of her costs in production and raw materials and the packaging. Nevertheless, Marilyn had taken a “shotgun attitude” to most of her marketing efforts and had tried a number of activities to increase product demand. She allowed herself to make one “chancy” financial move each year in her pursuit of profitability and increased sales. She had just made her one risky move for year 2001 she had taken out a full-page ad in Chile Pepper magazine for $3,000.
1) The Knowledge of chocolate that Marilyn has her business attitude. 2) The product already won several awards, which in turn has generated some publicity about her products. 3) Cowgirl Chocolates has a Web site that can be used to gather customer information and to measure repeat purchase behavior. 4) As an artist, Marilyn has a very artistic mind in developing product packaging and logos and she has won several awards for her packaging and product. 5) She has the local support by carrying and displaying her products, also Marilyn secured the support of Seattle chocolates to produce her product in small sets.
1) Marilyn is not sure which specific market she is competing in (hot and spicy food market, the chocolate candy market, or the novelty gift market). 2) Not well defined customers for the product, and he lack of customer knowledge for Marilyn. 3) The perception of the product that she is offering is confusing to the consumer. 4) High retail price for the size of the product and the quantity. 5) No secured distributer, and No promotional plan for the product.
The strengths of the business are Marilyn’s creative, artistic talents, her strong entrepreneurial spirit, and her willingness to take risks. Nonetheless, her individual strengths alone cannot overcome her company’s weaknesses in financing and marketing. Her business needs a clear plan for the marketing aspect and control her expenditures and have a system in place to keep track of her business accounting details. Her main task in hand should consist of finding a distributor to place her product on the shelves. As for her second focus point, she should stop the financial risks that she is used to take like her ads and the international distribution. Marilyn needs to adopt a marketing plan in place across her 3 P’s (product, price, and promotion) with the addition of distribution decision. Core Benefits of the product
The core benefits as the case provided them would be: unique taste, different experience, possibly some health benefits from chocolate and hot and spicy foods based on recent medical studies, locally produced product, reusable package (tin collectible); unique gift. The main benefits of the products for the business would be: The product has a unique taste (hot and spicy) with different flavors. Recent studies that indicate chocolate and species are good for health, so the both areas combined would attract a lot of knowledgeable consumers. Locally produced product in a small local community has its own unique touch, pride, and taste. Tangible Elements...
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