Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Summarizing the Flavors

Executive Summary

          Sugar Berry is a unique self-serve frozen yogurt parlor offering 12 flavors of yogurt along with 40 topping options.  By allowing each customer to make they’re own customized sundae, our focus is to give an individualized experience each time you visit.  Ann Nguyen, owner of Sugar Berry, wanted to bring something special to the community to bring families together.
                 Located on the high traffic street of Grand River in Lansing, Michigan, Sugar Berry is a prime location to attract many customers.  The store is in short distance of many Lansing public schools, as well as Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, and Cooley Law School.  Their centrality is hopeful to attract many students and families.  Their 1,863 foot space is decorated in bright energetic colors and modern furniture.  The couches, bar stool seating, and multiple tables coupled with free WiFi is great for studying or relaxing while enjoying frozen yogurt.  We took advantage of the product and location to create a marketing plan full of suggestions for further success.  

Assorted Flavors at Sugar Berry

Frozen Yogurt Review

Current Situation and Performance Review
Sugar Berry is following the trend of self serve frozen yogurt shops reflecting society’s health craze.  Frozen yogurt is a much healthier alternative to ice cream, and also provides the additional benefits of improving digestive health and lowering cholesterol and the risk of cancer.  Each visit to Sugar Berry is unique once you mix and match your flavor of frozen yogurt with the variety of fruit and candy toppings.  The price of your frozen treat is determined by weight; 45 cents an ounce.  
         Advertisements have been limited since Sugar Berry opened.  In the effort to save money on the new business, they have been relying on word of mouth as their main form of marketing.  Although word of mouth has been fairly successful in bringing new customers in, reaching out to consumers in any way will bring even more traffic into the store.  There is currently not a website for Sugar Berry, however there is a Facebook page that is updated regularly with updates on the new flavors of frozen yogurt in the store.  They have gotten a little bit of local press coverage from a Lansing newspaper and the MSU State News, as well as a short radio commercial.  
         Sugar Berry took the location of what used to be a Starbucks, therefore they are left with a drive-through window.  The window is currently vacant, however Ann has brainstormed about opening it up this Summer.  Customers wouldn’t be able to have as unique of an experience as coming inside to make their frozen yogurt sundaes, however they would have several flavor and topping choices for a quick on-the-go treat.

Link to Facebook Page


  • Health Trend/Benefits
  • Unique Product
  • Central Location
  • Environment and Decoration of Store
  • Low Frozen Yogurt Competition
  • Located at Difficult Intersection
  • Many Substitutes 
  • Awareness
  • No Website
  • Small Marketing Budget
  • Drive Through Window
  • Blank Slate for Marketing
  • Markets Haven't Been Penetrated
  • New Competition
  • Current Ice Cream Store Competition
  • Weather 
  • Health/Frozen Yogurt Trend Being Short Lived

Key Problems with the Freeze

Key Issues

One of the major concerns with Sugar Berry is their location. The store is situated on East Grand River between Saginaw Highway and Highway 127. This location allows it to be frequented by Michigan State University’s students and by the local neighboring community. However, because its middle range between the two target markets, it makes it hard for the store to penetrate each market. Also, its position on East Grand River makes it hard to reach when traveling west on Grand River. The store is located right past where Grand River and Saginaw Highway merge, making it difficult to cross five lanes of merging traffic to reach the plaza where Sugar Berry is located. Patrons traveling on West Grand River may also find it difficult to reach the store as well, due to the one way road.  If a customer is craving frozen yogurt, they must make the conscience decision to visit Sugar Berry due to its difficulty to get to on a road that most people may not drive by on a daily basis. This makes the store lose out on drive-bys who may see the store and just decide to pop in for a special treat.  In addition to the trouble of getting into the Sugar Berry driveway, the sign on the storefront is rather small and hard to read.  Each letter of the Sugar Berry name is a different color, so it is attention grabbing but hard to read.  Many of the businesses on the road have a sign next to the street in addition to the sign on their store fronts, however Sugar Berry's is only on the front of their store.  
Sugar Berry opened last November and is still looking to gain awareness in the surrounding communities. Being a new business, they need to get their name out to the public and encourage patronage.  So far Sugar Berry has struggled to do so. Most students at Michigan State University have never heard of the store and Sugar Berry is also striving to break into the local neighborhoods still. They have a great product to offer that is unique from other local ice cream shops, but getting people into the store to try it is the biggest challenge to overcome. Many of Sugar Berry’s customers bring repeat business to the store, but getting them in there for the first time is the toughest part. Sugar Berry can bring awareness to their store through social media, the internet, flyers, and advertisements.
                 In today’s society, practically every business has a website where consumers can seek out additional information. Sugar Berry has yet to implement a website for their store. This is a major problem, because they could use it to advertise their store and its social media sites, the flavors they’re currently serving, provide basic store information, nutritional information, etc. People rarely use the yellow pages anymore and turn to the internet for finding out information. By Sugar Berry not having a website, they are losing out on a chance to communicate to their customers. The website doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, but just a place where consumers can log onto see information about the store.  They do have a Facebook page, however it does not show up when you search "Sugar Berry East Lansing" on google.  Many adults and parents do not have a Facebook page, which makes it hard to penetrate that part of our target market.
Flyers/ Brochures:
                 Sugar Berry has not done enough flyering in the local community or created brochures to advertise their products. This is a relatively cheap way to advertise and spread awareness of the store. Flyers could be passed out at local sporting events, schools, neighborhood homes, or around Michigan State’s campus. Brochures could also be prepared to display the great nutritional properties of the frozen yogurt and fruits offered by Sugar Berry. Inside the store, Sugar Berry has great signage and information about their products, but creating smaller versions of these signs to pass out to consumers is important to spreading the word about the store and getting people to stop in and try their products.

Putting the Toppings On

    Our number one objective is to promote awareness of the Sugar Berry name throughout the greater Lansing area.  Our target market within this category are Cooley, LCC, and MSU college students, East Lansing/Lansing public grade school students, and permanent residents.  Being that Sugar Berry is a new business with virtually no advertising, any and all ways of alerting the market of the store is essential.  Even though students make up a large part of the Lansing community, we feel that permanent residents and family are our prime target because they will be the permanent repeat business. 
    Our second objective is to promote customer loyalty.  Once customers are aware of Sugar Berry, making sure they return is the prime focus.  It's much more valuable for a business to have loyal customers than it is to spend time constantly creating new clientele.   Additionally, Sugar Berry is a disposable novelty product store, therefore we want it to be in the back of consumers' heads as an option when they choose to seek dessert.  
    Thirdly, we want to promote the benefits and features of Sugar Berry.  This objective goes hand in hand with awareness.  Wi-Fi and comfortable seating and tables are already a great feature that should be leveraged to bring in students and business people.  The health benefits of frozen yogurt that we already mentioned should also be a benefit mentioned to entice customers to come to Sugar Berry rather than a typical ice cream store.  Lastly, the fun and unique experience of picking out your customized sundae is the main appeal that will attract our market. 


The Plan for a Tasty Treat

Marketing Strategy
   With Sugar Berry being a new business and the only one of it's kind in the East Lansing area, the promotional opportunities are endless.  We have a blank slate and small budget to hit our target market with our objectives of awareness and loyalty.  As we brainstormed the countless strategies to advertise the Sugar Berry name, we had to stick with those that were at low or no cost, and that would be easy for a busy new business owner to implement.
   The most important first step we suggest is creating an online presence, specifically with a website, findable on search engines and online tools such as Yelp and Urban Spoon.   Consumers do not use phone books anymore to find businesses.  If it is not online and locatable within 2 minutes, it will be forgotten.  The Facebook page that Ann has set up is a great start, however a large part of the target market (local adults and families) do not have or know how to use Facebook.  A website is an absolute necessity to keep up with today's society.  It would include the flavors that are currently being offered, pricing, pictures of the store, location and hours.  Sugar Berry's ambiance is so appealing, that if customers could know about it before they physically visit the store, it might be even more incentive to visit.  The website could also feature specials and coupons to add an extra motive to visit.  Currently when you type in "Sugar Berry East Lansing" into Google, the location pops up along with one Yelp review.  It is not clear what exactly the store offers or even their hours.  Furthermore, when you type in "Frozen Yogurt East Lansing," assuming that a consumer wouldn't have awareness of Sugar Berry, nothing pops up to advertise the store.  We need to penetrate the Internet market and get out there into the cyper world.
   Next, we want to create awareness by creating a coupon that gets put in multiple print ads such as the MSU coupon book, the Lansing State Journal and flyers passed to public schools around the area.  The coupon doesn't need to be a significant bargain, just something that gives customers a little more incentive to visit the store and creates awareness.  Since the MSU coupon book is free to all students, most people are more than willing to look through them and use them.
   Even though the location is one of Sugar Berry's downfalls, we think that we could also leverage the high traffic in a positive way and end up benefiting.  The parlor is located next to a hotel, across the street from a very high traffic gas station and shopping plaza, and in close proximity to a bowling alley and highway.  Sugar Berry could partner up with several of these businesses and do promotional offers that benefit both companies.  For example, we could partner with AT&T right next door, and offer a discounted frozen yogurt for buying a new phone.  We also think the currently vacant drive through window is a great opportunity to create more drive-by traffic.  Even though you would miss out on part of the experience of visiting Sugar Berry, drive through guests could have several on-the-go frozen yogurt and topping flavors.  In addition, being a frozen yogurt parlor, Sugar Berry naturally attracts the most guests in the warm weather months.  We could make the experience more enjoyable by creating outdoor seating in the front of the store to take advantage of warm weather.  
  Lastly, to meet our objective of creating store loyalty, we need to offer some kind of incentive to keep customers coming back.  Providing consistent and supreme customer service is a great start (which they already do), but we thought that creating a customer loyalty card would be the next step.  The loyalty card would have Sugar Berry's name and website address on it, and offer a deal like "buy 10 frozen yogurt sundaes, get your 11th free."  People will see the loyalty card in their wallet which will remind them to visit Sugar Berry when they're craving a treat.  In addition, it will motivate customers to visit Sugar Berry over an ice cream competitor. 

Making the Sundae

Action Plan
        In order for our marketing strategy to be implemented smoothly and in a timely manner we decided that the first order of business would be to buy the domain name to the website and begin creating the site. The website would take a bit of creativity and effort but the results would outweigh the costs because numerous people, from locals to even traveling visitors, would have an inside look as to what Sugar Berry is all about and what it offers.  Secondly, we would want to get the store ready for an increase of business to create an ultimate experience.  This would include setting up the drive through window and outdoor seating, as well as creating loyalty cards.  Next we would aim to create the wide awareness by contacting those in charge of the MSU coupon books, ads in local newspapers, and designing flyers to be passed to the local public schools. 

The Cost Behind the Treat

Projected Financials

Although Sugar Berry is a fairly new company with limited capital, we feel that our suggestions are relatively inexpensive and are necessary for the company to spread the word of what Sugar Berry has to offer the Greater Lansing Area.   The use of Facebook and other social media are fantastic marketing tools, and free vehicles of communication between businesses and consumers.  As mentioned above, the shop uses its FB fan page as a way to advertise its new flavors and special deals to its customers.  As a complement to the Facebook page we feel that a store website is absolutely crucial to extend to those Internet users who aren’t users of FB and other social media sites.   The only expense attached to operating the site is an annual fee of $30 for the domain name.
                 Flyers and brochures are both a useful and cost effective means of creating awareness, and are a great promotional tool to communicate special deals and discounts to new and loyal customers.  The local Fed-ex store of off Michigan Avenue and Harrison has very reasonable rates for printing flyers in bulk.  By spending $35 every month, Sugar Berry has the potential to introduce it self to 300-500 potential customers per month.  Flyers would be very effective in the summer months as people flock to ice cream parlor for a refreshing treat.
                 The only other aspects of our proposed marketing plan that would require funding are the print advertisements in the State News, the LSJ, the Campus Special coupon book, and radio advertisements.  Print advertisements in newspapers can be rather expensive, so perhaps this part of our plan can only be implemented when the company becomes established and has the money to do so.  In order to get the best results and ROI from the ads, we feel that  running the ads solely during the spring and summer would yield the biggest response since this is the ideal time for frozen treats.
     The great thing about being in the capital of Michigan and near several college campuses is that there are so many venues to reach out to numerous people for such a low cost.  Most businesses are more than happy to team up and get the word out about what both companies have to offer.  There are also many events that Sugar Berry could eventually sponsor or be a part of, such as Sparty's Spring Party and Relay for Life.