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The marketing plan consists of the description of current situation on the fitness market, competition level, formation of SWOT-analysis, recommended strategy for Bodybuilding.com, map of competitors and marketing mix details.
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The marketing plan is an important part of the business plan, as it describes as distribution is conducted, the price is set and products and services are promoted. For creating marketing plan Bodybuilding.com, the world’s major online fitness site, was chosen in order to increase its profit by 15%. It has wide range of products, including protein powders, fat burners, vitamins, creatine, pre-workouts, healthy food, different accessories, etc., and services, including programs, exercises, muscle groups, cardio, gyms, even personal trainers, etc. With 1.7 million daily visitors Bodybuilding.com is the chief sports nutrition e-retailer. Locating its business in Idaho, the company received many benefits, from the biggest part of male customers, which lives in this American state, to the greatest place for living and business.
Bodybuilding.com started its activity in 1997 as an online storefront by Ryan DeLuca, who was 19 years old layperson bodybuilder. In 1999 DeLuca bought currently well-known domain. In July 2006, Milestone Partners purchased a majority stake of Bodybuilding.com given the fact of its quick expansion. The amount of acquisition wasn’t disclosed. In addition, 2006 was the year of DeLuca’s recognition in the fifth position by Inc. Magazine on its list “30 Under 30: America’s Coolest Entrepreneurs”. Liberty Media Corporation paid more than $100 million for company’s controlling stake in January 2008. However, DeLuca remained company’s CEO.
Company’s mission is to satisfy its customers with the best assistance in fitness, health and appearance objectives, while delivering them appropriate information, inspiration and supplementation. Employing more than 750 people, Bodybuilding.com provides its customers with high-skilled and open-minded support. The most part of staff consists of UX/UI designers, systems engineers, IT support, database administrators, software developers, mobile app developers, etc. as the company is the leading in fitness e-commerce.
It carries out extensive advertising campaigns, which aim to attract new customers and to maximize attendance. To achieve this goal, the following types of advertising are used, namely advertising in social networks, television and in leading publications.
Bodybuilding.com protein powder is an extremely popular among its customers.Protein shake is the most important component of the sportsmen diet. It is not only a source of protein and complex carbohydrates needed for an effective workout, but also indispensable for the growth and strengthening of muscles, helps recovery after exercise and can reduce the loss of muscle mass while burning fat.
Current Marketing Situation
In the USA and Canada there are more than 56 million people or 10.2% of the population involved in fitness (50.2 million of them are in the USA), making the North American market the largest in the world. The market in monetary terms occupies one third of world. The number of fitness clubs in the United States (30,500) is almost equal to the number of clubs across Europe (46,000), with more than 14% of the US population involved in fitness, which is also a world record.
Company’s product (Protein powder) is aimed at customers, who aged 18-45 and it is interested for those clients, who maintain health life or actively do sports, including various fitness centers. Since products and services provided by the company are very diverse, they attract people, who prefer an active and comfortable pastime. However, the main purpose of protein powder is considered to still help athletes in maintaining a certain level of physical development. Thus, Bodybuilding.com presents its customers different types of protein powders for different purposes, for example, for maximum effectiveness (Pro JYM), muscle growth (Syntha-6 or Combat Powder), building muscle (ISO-100 or Whey-HD), etc.
Overall macro-environment in the USA is stable with 0.8% of inflation rate, which had a weak impact on the fitness market through a low general rise in prices, 5.6% of unemployment rate, which is a source of the customers’ inability to purchase goods due to the lack of income, high level of population growth, 40% of target audience and 5% GDP growth.
Therefore, dominating in the sports nutrition market Bodybuilding.com sells protein powder of high quality, whichhelps to normalize the digestive and metabolic processes. Its pricing policy is very reasonable depending on the bottle volume starting from $6.99. Consumption of protein powder helps athletes maintain a proper fit. Even doctors and nutritionists have long made food protein in the list of products that have curative properties.
Bodybuilding.com operates in the monopolistic competition market. The main characteristics of the market are large number of competitors and the balance of their forces; differentiation of goods and services (from the point of view of the buyer products have distinctive qualities that are perceived by the entire market). It means that Bodybuilding.com should have unique features in order to remain competitive.Product differentiation creates the possibility of a limited effect on market prices, as many consumers remain committed to a particular brand and the company, even with a price increase. However, this impact will be relatively small because of the similarity of goods of competing firms. Bodybuilding.com offers lowest prices, fastest shipping, 24/7 live support and a variety of high quality products and services.
The entry of new players only stimulates the demand for fitness products and services in general, and as a result increases the profitability of operators: appearing in the region, national chains begin to advertise their products and services. And thus, attract customers not only in their own areas, but also in other fitness centers.
Bodybuilding.com main competitors are GNC Live Well, Vitacost.com, the VitaminShoppe and A1 Supplements.com. Defined competitors are also quite trendy in the market. In order to attract customers they apply advertising in social networks as well. For example, A1 Supplements.com operates in the market since 1999, GNC Live Well – since 1997, the VitaminShoppe – 1977 and Vitacost.com – 1994.
GNC Live Well is an American commercial company located in Pittsburg andconcentrated its activity on the retail sale of health and nutrition related goods, namely vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, sports nutrition, diet, and energy products.Vitacost.com, Inc. is another American e-commerce organization located in Florida and specializes on selling vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition and organic health and grocery products. In 2006 it was inducted into “Inc. 500 Lifetime Hall of Fame” as one of the US’s 500 fastest-growing privately held businesses for five consecutive years (2001–2005).Vitamin Shoppe, Inc. is a multi-channel specialty retailer of vitamins, minerals, herbs, specialty supplements, sports nutrition and other health and wellness products (VMS). A1Supplements.com is also an American nutritional supplement distributor and online wholesaler of sports nutrition and nutritional supplements.
However, the first position belongs to Bodybuilding.com. All competitors can provide with discounts if the customer is a member of some program. Despite the variety of protein powder customers prefer to select Bodybuilding.com product due to its positive reputation.
Bodybuilding.com has more opportunities, than threats operating in the American market, especially concerning fitness market growth, e-commerce and social networking expansion. The USA has very stable economic and political condition, leading lots of international organizations. Nevertheless, the USA has the highest nominal corporate tax rate among OECD-states. In consideration of the local feature the weighted average nominal income tax rate is 39.2%, which incontrovertibly distresses the investment attractiveness and effectiveness of its economy.
Marketing Research Proposal
There are some areas of market research, but each has its effective option. For instance, when promoting popular products, the market of which is already full, the company must have accurate information about the dynamics of this market, its capacity, needs and preferences of consumers. And the proposal should be not only qualitative, but also differ from competitors.
It is necessary to conduct market research in the event of sudden decrease in sales for some strange reason. In this case, after analysis and market research, the head will see the causes of what is happening and be able to change the marketing policy. For companies, which are going to expand and seek new ways of promotion, research is essential. Just marketing analysis can determine exactly which partners should be dealt with and which channel is most appropriate.
For Bodybuilding.com the valuable information includes segmentation of markets, where it operates (or intends to act), which must be made so that the segments in different markets were characterized in the same general reaction to advertising, sales promotion and other marketing activities. When selecting marketing tools of impact on the potential buyer it is necessary to be aware that the price as a factor in drawing attention to the product is put by the importance now into the 3rd-4th place among other factors. The appropriate strategy based on the marketing mix investigation should be selected. Therefore, the following questions should be considered:
Who are the potential customers of protein powder?
What are the unique features of protein powder form Bodybuilding.com?
What preferences do the potential customers have?
How the company is going to attract customers?
What is the role of competitors?
What are the prospects in the fitness market for protein powder?
How the company will monitor marketing plan’s effectiveness?
Which part of the strategy is the most important?
The company can use qualitative and quantitative methods for collecting data, namely observations, experiments and expert interviews related to qualitative methods, and surveys, home-tests and retail-audit related to quantitative methods. All methods can be applied by company’s staff and will cost them only salaries or professional agency can be hired.
After the research conducted, supply and demand, as well as product’s and competitor’s strengths and weaknesses are known and all the nuances are taken into account, a unique selling proposition can be created. Improving both the product itself and its positioning, in advertising the emphasis is placed on the points that are interesting to the buyer. As a result, the potential buyer simply cannot refuse such an offer.
As one of the company’s popular products is protein powder, which role in human’s organism is crucial, two smaller segments that Bodybuilding.com could target to make better use of product are Aged Women and Sporty Women. Modern women in graphics-intensive find time not only to work, care for children, and romantic moments with beloved, but also visiting gym. Therefore, there is increasingly a need of an additive such as a protein for women. In fact, proteins particularly for women are no different from men’s proteins, but it is better to understand the best way to take protein for women and what types to prefer.
Proteins for women, who engaged in power sports, are needed for rapid disaster recovery of muscles, wound of micro damage muscle fibers. Scientists have proved that soy is the best protein for women, because it lowers cholesterol, improves kidney, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and cancer. Sporty Women are mostly aged between 15 and 32 with middle income and social class. The structure of their psychological indicators includes significantly anxiety, aggression, extroversion and need for achievement. They prefer active life.
Especially useful the reception of protein supplements for older women (Aged Women) during menopause, since the protein stimulates the production of the estrogen hormone, which development in the body is suspended. The basic functions that protein consisting of amino acids performs are tissue regeneration, stimulation of digestion and assimilation of food, transport nutrients to organs, increasing protective reactions, and normalization of hormonal levels. Therefore, proteins for women are even more important than for men, especially if a woman puts permanent body strength training. Aged Women are between 45 and 55 years. Geographically both segments of women can buy protein in 159 countries, where Bodybuilding.com ships its products.
About company’s product both segments can find information on the Internet (website and social networks), magazines (TRAIN, Flex, etc.) and TV (iSpot.tv, Justin.tv, etc.). However, both segments of women prefer to read not only special magazines or watch special TV shows, as ordinary women they like Cosmopolitan or Glamour, where Bodybuilding.com can put its advertisings.
It will be good to use an associative positioning method, when the company associates the goods to a particular person, place, thing, or situation properly. Associative method is often referred to as emotional or image positioning of the product. This way of product positioning is effective, when the product of the company does not have a clear distinction from other products on the market and is fairly standardized. Associative method helps the consumer to better remember the product, to give the desired product image by creating a bright image and to emphasize one or more characteristics. Thus, the product should be positioned as vital necessity at reasonable price. A woman should consume at least 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. A woman, who is involved in sports, should increase the amount of protein consumed up to 4 grams per day per kilogram of body weight. Protein for women is benefit and requirement. Some celebrity can be involved in the advertising campaign, who has achieved successful results in sports while consuming protein.
GNC Live Well, Vitacost.com,
VitaminShoppe and A1 Supplements.com
Low Saltiness High Saltiness
All competitors together with Bodybuilding.com can be found in the same quadrant as they sell similar product. Whey protein, for example, (derived from whey) is often sold as a nutritional supplement, salty and much crisped. However, both Sporty and Aged Women prefer to consume less salty product as they believe that control of salt use is necessary for all, without exception. Excess of sodium and chloride delay the body fluid. It accumulates between cells and increases the amount of the liquid portion of blood. This causes the increase in blood pressure and the occurrence of edema.
In order to move Bodybuilding.com closer to those segments, the company should try to search for other types of protein and producers, who will cooperate with it. Also, the company should provide women with recipes of sweet cocktails, which will help to avoid salty flavor.
The modern athlete cannot do without training and special diet. It is important to keep muscles not only externally (i.e. via the gym), but also internally. Products of such brands as Ironmaxx, Ultimate Nutrition, Optimum Nutrition, Muscle Pharm, Muscle Tech, Universal, Bsn and Dymatize Nutrition boast a high quality performance, and hence its effectiveness. High-quality protein is a crumbly fine powder of dense homogeneous consistency and the same color (from white to light cream). Flavor characteristics of the powder depend on the protein origin (whey, casein, soy, egg) and palatability of fillers. The most popular type of protein powder is Whey. Labels of products are pasted exactly. The product is packed in a plastic jar with glued labels – information data (text and graphics) that are applied directly to the packaging.
As the tendency of having sports increases as well as women prefer to look good and be healthy, protein powder is at maturity stage of product life cycle. The quality of product is high, as it is already modified to meet the requirements of the market and the target segment of consumers. This product is introduced to the market by a large number of modifications, so the store has to offer for sale a variety of the product options.
At the stage of maturity market saturation is reached, the goods from the category of new products go into the standard category. The number of customers making purchases of this product for the first time is significantly reduced, and the bulk of the buyers acquire goods repeatedly many times. In addition, buyers have a choice between the many brands that offer this product for sale. At this stage, the role of price competition increases, since the goods are offered for sale in many shops, and competing with each other, they are willing to reduce the price to attract customers to their stores. The number of brands offering similar products continues to grow in the market and feature of this stage is that competitors offer not only a copy of the goods, but also of its original design.
In order to accelerate the adoption process, so consumers won’t wait to buy, Bodybuilding.com should:
Improve trade diversification through product differentiation;
Encourage existing customers to a systematic and more frequent acquisition of goods;
Conduct competitive advertising campaigns; and
Provide with the gradual decline in the price level.
The main objectives of the pricing policy of the company in the selected market are to ensure a sustainable planned profit and sustainable competitiveness of its products. However, these tasks can vary depending on the goals facing the company at a particular time and in a particular market.
In the markets of non-homogeneous, differentiated products, where Bodybuilding.com operates, the company has more leeway as to how to react to price changes made by its competitors. The main point here is consumer preferences. Since customer attitude to this product is dependent on several factors such as the quality and reliability of the proposed product, service level, the level of post-sales service, its duration and availability, as well as personal considerations and affection. These circumstances to some extent reduce the importance of the price for the buyer, which gives the company, which will decide on the definition, taking into account the actions of competitors, relative freedom. Bodybuilding.com offers lowest prices. Its pricing policy is very reasonable depending on the bottle volume starting from $6.99. However, it should be more precise through the policy of raising the prices of goods with unique characteristics and declining for other products. Offered goods and services are different from existing in the market for quality, delivery time to customers, post-sales service, etc. The process of determining a price premium begins with a comparison of these characteristics with the best and worst in the industry, taking into account the views of consumers. According to comparative results the product price of better quality is determined. And the extra cost may reach 15-20%. Many companies try to reduce costs by increasing the soundness of its products. This makes it possible to sell products with unique characteristics for medium or low prices, which, of course, increases its competitiveness.
Using the policy of raising the prices of goods with unique characteristics and aiming at customers, who aged 18-45 and are interested in health life or actively do sports, including various fitness centers, Bodybuilding.com products and services attract people, who prefer an active and comfortable pastime. However, the main purpose of protein powder is considered to still help athletes in maintaining a certain level of physical development. Therefore, people will pay attention to unique products in order to give the body new life or just improve it.
Place / Distribution Strategy
Marketing distribution channel is the way, approach of the organizational and economic bringing goods from the manufacturer to the end user. They can be direct or indirect. Bodybuilding.com uses direct distribution channel, since it does not use resellers. Although the channel of direct marketing is the simplest, it is not necessarily cheap. In the case of a sufficiently diverse range of products, a large number of markets, and geographical factors, economic expediency dictates the use of more complex types of distribution channels. In direct marketing there are three stages of planning:
1. Raising (new clients).
2. Working with databases (storage and use of customer information databases).
3. Saving customers.
With fastest shipping Bodybuilding.com distributed its products in 159 countries. It has one store in Boise, Idaho, where local customers can come and buy the desired products.
The company’s North Las Vegas warehouse, opened in October 2013, is one of six distribution centers for Boise, Idaho-based Company, promoted as the world’s major online nutrition location. Bodybuilding.com, which distributes to 12,000 wellbeing, health and nutrition goods from 400 brands at the North Las Vegas unit, chose the place to serve a huge market in the West, including Nevada, California and Arizona. It has five distribution facilities in the United States, together with its latest center in New Berlin, Wis., exterior Milwaukee to provide its products on the Midwest markets such as Chicago and Milwaukee. Additional distribution facilities are situated in Tallahassee, Fla.; Harrisburg, Penn., and Boise. There’s also a distribution facility in the Netherlands to provide the European market with all necessary goods. The company’s parent company, Liberty Media Corp., is located in Denver, which purchased a controlling stake in the company in 2007. Bodybuilding.com’s CEO informed that he still keeps a marginal share of the company, which he established with his wife and brother out of a Boise, Idaho, garage.
As for other customers, it is necessary to order via the website. The website provides an access for existing and new consumers, who can log in or register and start buying. After filling the basket with necessary goods, the customer chooses the method of payment and shipping. Within the USA it is possible to take the product in the store or from warehouses as well as order the delivery. For consumers in the U.S. military, the company ships to all APO, FPO, and DPO addresses regardless of country. The company provides with the ability to pay for goods via Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB, Bodybuilding.com gift certificates, PayPal, bank wire transfer, money order (domestic customers only), and Western Union. International customers will be delivered with goods according to the list of existing state particular stores.
One of the most important promotion strategies is advertising campaign. The main function of advertising in marketing is to inform the consumer about the quality of goods and activities of manufacturers. The effectiveness of the impact on consumers is determined by the assessment contained in the advertisement of promoted goods and arguments in their favor. If the consumer does not detect such an assessment and reasoning, the advertising effectiveness is significantly reduced. Promotional offer must be radically different from all competitors’ offerings. Its uniqueness may be due to the uniqueness of a product or target market, or of advertising appeal. Without the uniqueness of the offer the company should not rely on the uniqueness of demand.
As the company with its protein powder is going to target Aged Women and Sporty Women, the advertising campaign should include the explanation of protein usefulness. Especially Aged Women need protein powder during menopause, since the protein stimulates the production of the estrogen hormone, which development in the body is suspended. In general both women categories should be informed about the basic functions that protein consisting of amino acids performs are tissue regeneration, stimulation of digestion and assimilation of food, transport nutrients to organs, increasing protective reactions, and normalization of hormonal levels. Therefore, proteins for women are even more important than for men, especially if a woman puts permanent body strength training.
The company could place the following ad in the local newspaper:
It is the call for being beautiful despite the different situations in our lives. Women cannot forget about their destination to bring beauty in the world and give other lives. It can be placed in sport and beauty magazines, like Glamour or FLEX, Muscle & Fitness, etc.
The other promotion could be to write an article in sport or beauty magazines. It should include the identification of the main components of Whey Gold Standard protein, namely:
Micro-filtered whey protein isolate is ideal for those athletes who need a quick delivery of amino acids in the body.
Ultrafiltered whey protein concentrate. Due to the presence of alpha-lactalbumin it prevents cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases;
Lactase. It is designed to cleave lactose, which is relatively common cause of gastro-intestinal disorders. If the body lacks lactase, it can cause lactose intolerance.
Hydrolyzed whey peptides designed for enzymatic cleavage of proteins that are subjected to pretreatment. Due to this they are absorbed by the body almost instantaneously, giving it all the necessary building blocks.
Amidogens are proprietary compounds, which are intended to nitrogen retention and muscle cells to increase amino acid levels in blood plasma.
The most important thing is to provide with the instructions of consuming the protein Gold Standard. As it is known, in many ways the effectiveness of sports nutrition depends on its correct use. This product is a source of protein (24 grams of whey protein per serving).
So for the desired preservation of muscle mass it will be sufficient to take the drug twice a day.
For the first time in 30 – 60 minutes before the workout, and the second – immediately after its completion.
Calculation – 0.8 – 1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Typically, such doses are recommended only to maintain muscle mass. If the primary goal is to build it, then you need to increase your intake of protein for at least 2 grams per day per kilogram of body weight, or take 2 – 4 servings of Gold Standard 100% Whey. The first portion is recommended to drink immediately after waking before breakfast. Proper dosing is effective and will be beneficial to health.
Methods of preparation are:
Need to mix one scoop dimensional protein (about 30 grams) and 200 – 250 milligrams of water or skim milk.
Sports Nutrition Gold Standard 100% blended quite easily and has a pleasant taste.
Bodybuilding.com is the leading portal in the US about bodybuilding, fitness and shaping. On the bodybuilding.com users can find different articles to promote and maintain health, advice on training and sports nutrition. Bodybuilding.com Company has existed for almost20 years and currently is attended by a huge number of portal users from around the world. As in the USA and Canada there are more than 56 million people or 10.2% of the population involved in fitness (50.2 million of them are in the USA), making the North American market the largest in the world,the market in monetary terms occupies one third of world. The number of fitness clubs in the United States (30,500) is almost equal to the number of clubs across Europe (46,000), with more than 14% of the US population involved in fitness, which is also a world record. Therefore, the company has different client segments, however, in order to provide them with the protein powder, it aimed its customers demographically (for 18-45 aged people), behaviorally (for people who prefer active and comfortable pastime) and geographically (it ships products in 159 countries).
The marketing plan takes into account factors of market entertainment services. In developing the plan the description and analysis of both internal and external environments of the company were taken into account. Also a SWOT-analysis, which examines the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the company, was elaborated. Then the purpose of marketing, strategic and tactical plans was formed. In developing marketing strategies the results of SWOT-analysis were incorporated with the aim of turning weaknesses into strengths, maintaining the existing strengths and opportunities for development. The choice of marketing strategy is a key element throughout – from the business idea until the product on the market and after-sales service.Marketing plan ends on marketing mix for protein powder. The monitoring activity of the plan implementation should include:
Constant inspection of promotional campaign efficiency by the Marketing Manager at least once per quarter;
Control of budgetary expenditures by CFO or another responsible manager once per month;
Evaluation of personnel proficiency by HR-manager once per quarter;
Technical support provided by IT department every day.
As protein powder is very popular product, Bodybuilding.com was recommended to choose the price strategy of raising the prices of goods with unique characteristics. The company has different distribution centers and payment methods for customers’ conveniences. As the company with its protein powder is going to target Aged Women and Sporty Women, the advertising campaign should include the explanation of protein usefulness.
Thus, the marketing plan includes a large number of responses to questions that begin with the word “how”. The actions of competitors in various areas of policy with respect to similar products need to find “white spots” and build the marketing strategy so that at any time to know how to react on any strategic direction of marketing: pricing, sales promotion, advertising campaigns, organizing after-sales service, etc. In this case, in each case, the actions of competitors and changes in market conditions should be found “antidote”, which is prepared in advance in a variety of marketing techniques. Therefore, based on the founded results and given recommendations, the marketing plan can be considered acceptable.
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Value Based Sales Forecast
Gross Profit Margin is the gross margin percentage G is the profit P divided by the selling price or revenue R.
G = P / R = (R – C) / R = ($8,516 - $5,419) / $8,516 = 0.3637 or 36.37%.
The normal value is determined by the industry and other features of the organization operation. For the same cost-effectiveness, for organizations with a long production cycle, gross profit margin will be higher and for “high-speed” activities –lower. For Bodybuilding.com the value should be lower, because its production lifecycle is moderate.