Barks and Recreation
Table of Contents
|I. Executive Summary||3|
|II. Situation Analysis||4|
|A. The Internal Environment||4|
|B. The Customer Environment||6|
|C. The External Environment Competition||9|
|III. SWOT Analysis||13|
|E. The SWOT Matrix||14|
|F. Developing Competitive Advantages||14|
|G. Developing a Strategic Focus||15|
|IV. Marketing Goals and Objectives||15|
|V. Marketing Strategy||15|
|A. Primary Target Market||15|
|C. Pricing Strategy||16|
|D. Distribution/Supply Chain Strategy||16|
|E. Integrates Marketing Communication Strategy||17|
|VI. Marketing Implementation||17|
|A. Structural Issues||17|
|VII. Evaluation and Control||17|
|A. Formal Controls||17|
|B. Informal Controls||18|
|C. Marketing Audits||18|
- Executive Summary
The marketing plan for Barks and Recreation involves four components and will be implemented in two to three steps. The marketing plan is to increase customers, knowledge of the facility, generate more profit and increase sales. The profit will then be used to raise wages, maintain the facility, and put away money for an additional building.
- Situation Analysis
- The Internal Environment
Review of marketing goals and objectives
Barks and Recreation is aiming to gain more customer volume during the summer months, in day care numbers as well as overnight boarding. The business has many regular customers who use Barks and Recreation for their dogs, cats and other creatures, but the business is aiming to gain more new customers through social media, posters, packaging plans, and new customer promotions.
The goals of Barks and Recreation is to maintain the mission to provide excellent care and safety for pets while their owners are away. The customer’s peace of mind and the pet’s happiness are the number one concern for the business.
Review of current marketing strategy and performance
Currently, the business has a Facebook page that is mainly used to post pictures and videos of the guests staying at the facility. Owners can look at the page and have peace of mind that their pets are having a great time while they are on vacation.
Pricing is mainly based on type of animal, breed, and size. This is a daily, for daycare, or nightly, for boarding guests, charge. For instance, a rabbit would be $15 per night, while a Great Dane would be $28 per night. Daytime prices are the same for all dogs at $23. There are also options for baths and other grooming so that pets are clean when they return home as well as a few toy selections that owners can choose for their pets.
At this point in time, an owner can choose one of three packages for their dog or cat. These packages include playtimes, treats, and cuddles. The packages vary in pricing depending on how many activities and treats the owner wants for their animal. Currently, the only promotion that is available is a discount for current customers for referring a new customer. New promotions need to be added for Barks and Recreation to have a better chance to bring in more new customers.
There have been several ideas to add to Barks and Recreation to aid in gaining more business. For instance, offering a discount on activity packages to new guests may increase the purchases. Offering discounts on Facebook for boarding or daycare may also help with bringing in new customers.
Currently, on average, 65% of customers purchase activities, and 80% of those customers purchase the activity packages that are offered. Roughly 70-80% of dog owners whose pets stay more than five days purchase a bath before the dog goes home. Barks and Recreation provides food for dog and cat owners who choose not to bring food with their animal. The food chosen is a moderate brand of pet food with high nutrients and protein for a healthy diet. During the summer months and holidays, Barks and Recreation has a high profitability since these are the times that most families go out of town and on vacations. The demand and performance of this type of market is gaining speed and demand. More and more people trust the care of their animals with trained facilities.
Review of current and anticipated organizational resources
At this point, Barks and Recreation is currently pulling a significant profit during the busy holiday times, though it is believed that more could be made with a promotional aspect or two. Hopefully, with the implementation of a marketing plan, Barks and Recreation can improve the profits even more to help with maintaining the beautiful buildings and giving the employees raises they deserve. At this point, Barks and Recreation has four buildings to utilize and would like to add an additional yard and building in the future to accommodate more guests.
Review of current and anticipated cultural and structural issues
The business is doing very well by itself, but could use a boost from the aid of marketing. Though many have heard of and utilize Barks and Recreation loyally, there are many in the area that have never even heard of the business. It will be a great benefit to get the name to more in the area and increase knowledge and use of the business. In general, the owners try to work closely with the employees to maintain a happy, friendly, and successful atmosphere. The owners do their best to listen to the troubles of the employees and have a family mentality. Employees generally enjoy the work since they are all animal lovers, though the chief complaint is the pay. The owners are doing their best to come up with a plan to change this. The marketing strategy will be the first step towards a solution.
- The Customer Environment
Who are the firm’s current and potential customers?
Most of the customers who use Barks and Recreation are animal lovers who want the best for their animals. They range from the rich to the poorer, and usually those who live within three hours of either of the facilities. These people value their animals and want them to be cared for in the best way. There are about ten people who use the daycare on a daily basis, more than three days per week and thirty who use daycare weekly, once per week. There are around four to five hundred who use Barks and Recreation at least once per year for boarding, and around 50-75% of those use boarding twice or more.
The most profit comes from daycare and large or giant breeds in boarding. Though there is a small amount of profit from smaller breeds, the bigger dogs bring in more money. Even more profit comes from those who use daycare services during the day. When our employees are taking a potential customer on a tour, it is very helpful to point out all of the great things that Barks and Recreation offer. For instance, the employees point out the indoor and outdoor runs, which are open during nice weather so the dogs may choose to be inside or outside, large play yards for relieving themselves or for playtime, long walking trails for hiking, a spacious grooming center, and a group of employees who care deeply about all of the animals. By taking the customers around and showing them all of the amenities, it has shown that customers are more likely to choose Barks and Recreation for their pets and are also more likely to purchase activity packages for their furry friends.
What do customers do with the firm’s products?
Customers need a facility to take care of their pets while they are out of town or unavailable to care for them. Barks and Recreation provides that for the pet owners. It offers peace of mind that their pets are being taken care of as though the owners were home with them. Pets are treated well, are able to go outside, exercise, and they can socialize with other dogs. Owners can call in to make reservations or stop by the facility. In the works is an online reservation system where current customers can send in a reservation form, this will be especially helpful around busy holiday times or during times when the facility is closed, like nights or Sundays.
Where do customers purchase the firm’s products?
Customers purchase boarding, bathing, toys, treats, and activity packages over the phone or at the facility. Soon, Barks and Recreation hopes to have a site up and running where owners can make reservations, choose activity packages, bathing options and other items online with a form. Once this is done, everything will be confirmed when the pet is dropped off. Owners have a choice of prepaying when they drop their pet off or when they pick their pet up. Hopefully, with the online form, it will also encourage pet owners to prepay, which will be great for the facility.
When do customers purchase the firm’s products?
At this point, Barks and Recreation has never put out a promotional event, so there s no way to gauge how it will affect business fluctuations. There has been a plan to promote the business with a 20% off boarding for new customers through Facebook and an ad at the local mall and newspaper as well as a Facebook coupon for a free standard groom, which is a $25 value. During the market of these two promotions, which will last approximately three months, Barks and Recreation will keep numbers on how many of each promotion is used as well as together. This will give the business a good idea on how helpful promotions can be and which ones are the right ones to use.
For Barks and Recreation, the summer months and holiday weekends are the biggest and busiest time. Most of the summer, especially weekends, and nearly all holiday times, the kennels are completely full with even the overflow kennels. All the cat cages are usually taken as well as the “bunny spots” for the furry rabbits that sometimes come.
Why (and how) do customers select the firm’s products?
The main advantages that Barks and Recreation has against the competition are the four large play yards, the acreage for long hikes, and the ability to care for dogs that get along with other dogs, dogs who don’t get along with other dogs, as well as dogs that are aggressive towards people.
Most kennels and pet care facilities have all of the dogs housed together, and most other kennels, the dogs cannot be aggressive towards people because those kennels do not have the accommodations that Barks and Recreation does.
Why do potential customers not purchase the firm’s products?
The main reason people may choose another facility over Barks and Recreation is pricing. Some of the competition’s nightly rates are cheaper than Barks and Recreation, but these are usually the places that only accommodate dogs who get along well with other dogs and humans. Some people prefer to have an in-home sitter so their pet can remain in the comfort of the home.
Those who hear of us often call in or stop by to see and hear about the facility. The employees are trained in how to tell customers about the facility and accommodations in a way that gets all the important information as well as the many perks of choosing a facility like Barks and Recreation over another facility. The people who speak with us over the phone are likely to call other facilities to get a feel of all their options, while those who see the facility first hand often choose to make a reservation before they leave.
- The External Environment Competition
Barks and Recreation’s biggest competition is Hound Hotel and PawsNightly. Hound Hotel is a facility very similar to Barks and Recreation, they have about the same numbers of kennels, are located in a more city-like location and have a larger marketing budget. PawsNightly is much smaller, but the cheap nightly rates, since the dogs do not have separate kennels, maintain a steady profit and keep them in competition. Hound Hotel has a disadvantage when it comes to the outdoor facilities, though. They do not have separate outdoor runs for each dog; therefore the dogs do not get as much outdoor time at this facility than they do at Barks and Recreation. PawsNightly has a relatively large outdoor play area, but this facility cannot accommodate dogs who do not get along with people or dogs who do not get along with other dogs. Neither facility has the accommodations for pets other than dogs.
Economic Growth and Stability
According to a Forbes article written in 2016 about the Omaha Metro area, the general economic condition is fair. There is a median household income of $60,566, a low unemployment rate of 3.2%, and the cost of living is 6.1% below the national average. This allows for families to have the extra money to provide additional care for their pets when they go on vacation.
The pet care industry is fairly new and growing. According to “Pet Care Industry Analysis 2017- Costs and Trends” (2017), “65% of households in the United States own at least one pet.” The chart below shows the growth of various pet markets between 2015 and 2016.
The only political aspects that many boarding facilities are dealing with is the stigma and BSL laws that are affecting dogs deemed as “pit bulls” or “bully breeds.” Many states have banned laws surrounding these breeds, while other states have restrictive laws requiring additional insurance and muzzling. Nebraska has restrictive laws surrounding the breed. Barks and Recreation has a separate insurance policy allowing the facility to care for these bully breeds. Barks and Recreation also has an additional insurance policy that allows the facility to care for police dogs. The Nebraska Humane Society’s websites mandates at least $100,000 in coverage.
Legal and Regulatory Issues
In addition to the laws surrounding the bully breeds, there are not many federal/state/or local laws that pertain to animal care facilities specifically. Regulations for building size, maintenance, and capacity are regulations that all buildings and businesses must follow.
With advances of social media, Barks and Recreation has been able to reach many current and potential clients with photos, information and videos. Customers with pets who are at the facility can go to the page and see pictures of their pet. Potential clients can gain access to information about the facility, pictures, and a messaging system that allows them to reach an employee about specific questions. They also have access to an address, phone number, website, and a map. Customers have absolutely loved the addition of social media. They enjoy being able to see their pet enjoying themselves while they are away from home.
Another technology that has been a bonus is the addition of security cameras. This helps to ensure employees are treating the animals correctly as well as allow the owner to watch over the animals during the night from their bedroom. In addition, it also deters any unwanted burglars from coming onto the premises.
In recent years, the idea of an “outside dog” has gone and has been replaced by something many call “humanization,” according to the Pet Care Analysis article. This has brought in more people treating pets more like people. Pet owners are looking for higher quality dog food, accessories, medical care, and pet care; this is affecting the pet care industry, and all pet industries, in a very positive manner. This brings more profit to Barks and Recreation since pet owners are looking for someone they can trust with their beloved animal.
This means that the facility has a responsibility to care for these animals with the utmost importance. The customers expect their pets to be treated like royalty, and that is what Barks and Recreation is attempting to do. The industry is expected to expand more through the next few years, and Barks and Recreation is expecting to expand right along with it, putting the care of the customers animals at the highest importance.
III. SWOT Analysis
Strength 1: Can house 100 dogs, 14 cats, and up to 7 “others” as needed at full capacity.
Strength 2: Can house dogs of all shapes and sizes, including bully breeds.
Strength 3: Can house dogs of all aggression types.
Weakness 1: Still working on an active marketing budget
Weakness 2: Turnover of employees seems to be steady
- Opportunities (external situations independent of the firm—not strategic options)
Opportunity 1: Market for pet care is expanding
Opportunity 2: Great reputation among current clients
- Threats (external situations independent of the firm)
Threat 1: Hound Hotel and PawsNightly
Threat 2: Surrounding area is being bought and may have noise complaints from future neighbors.
|E. The SWOTMatrix
|• Can house 100 dogs, 14 cats, and up to 7 “others” as needed at full capacity.||• Market for pet care is expanding|
|• Can house dogs of all shapes and sizes, including bully breeds.||• Great reputation among current clients|
|• Can house dogs of all aggression types, including police dogs|
|• Still working on an active marketing budget||• Hound Hotel and PawsNightly|
|• Turnover of employees seems to be steady||• Surrounding area is being bought and may have noise complaints from future neighbors.|
- Developing Competitive Advantages
The market for pet care is expanding, so Barks and Recreation can expand, too. Once enough of a profit is made, the business can go into planning a new building to house even more animals during the high demand seasons. Barks and Recreation has a great reputation among current clients and can use that for a little marketing and even to give back to the loyal customers. To do this, the business can run a standing promotion to give a monetary discount $25-$50 when current customers refer a new client to Barks and Recreation. This will give current clients an incentive to recommend the business to their friends and will help give back to the loyal customers.
Once a firm marketing budget is in place and a marketing plan has been formed, this could potentially bring a number of new clients to the facility and become one of the businesses best assets. As for the employee turnover, Barks and Recreation needs to work on employee pay, benefits, and payback to gain a strong and happy workforce to care for the facility.
- Developing a Strategic Focus
The focus for the marketing plan is to reach more potential customers to build on the base of loyal customers. Promotions, posters, and flyers will be a part of the plan. The business will try to reach as many people as possible in areas where there is the most pet ownership.
- Marketing Goals and Objectives
- Marketing Goal A:
Reach more people
(should be broad, motivational, and somewhat vague)
Objective A1: Gain at least ten new calls in the first two days
Objective A2: Gain at least 100 new customers in the first seven months
- Marketing Goal B:
Objective B1: Have people bring in a flyer for 20% off first time boarding
Objective B2: Have people mention a promotion code for a free standard bath
- Marketing Strategy
- Primary Target Market
Pet Owners. Those who want the best care for their pets. The ones who pamper, spoil and love their pets as though they are members of the family. They buy the best food, toys and treats. These pet owners will have extra income to spend, will want the very best for their animals and can be reached at pet stores, veterinary clinics, and shopping centres.
- Product Strategy
Barks and Recreation is the brand name. The brand of dog food used is ProPac, a high quality pet food that has all natural ingredients and little fillers. The logo is still in designing, but the colors chosen are yellow, red, and green. Also offered are the grooming supplies that are used on premises, a variety of toys and treats, as well as activity packages for the pets.
- Pricing Strategy
Barks and Recreation compares to Hound Hotel and PawsNightly on the basic structure. Hound Hotel charges a flat rate of $25 per night, regardless of the size. Hound Hotel does not offer daycare or activity packages for the dogs. PawsNightly charges a cheaper rate at only $18 per night per dog, but they can only house 50 dogs. Barks and Recreation charges $22 per small dog, $24 per medium dog, $26 per large dog and $28 per giant dog. Customers get a discount on each additional animal they bring, and Barks and Recreation offers a multitude of activities for the dogs to participate in.
- Distribution/Supply Chain Strategy
Barks and Recreation has a great supplier of dog food, cat food, cleaning supplies and grooming supplies. Food is delivered every three weeks. Cleaning supplies are delivered once per week and grooming supplies every two weeks. Getting these supplies from the manufacturers has cheapened the cost to the business and created a very good relationship between the manufacturers and the business.
- Integrated Marketing Communication (Promotion) Strategy
The IMC strategy Barks and Recreation has come up with for an initial three months has a few components. First, on social media, there will be a sponsored, paid for by the business, offer for a discount of 20% off first time boarding and a free standard bath. Second, fliers will be made up and handed out at the local malls and grocery stores for a discount on activity packages. A sign will also be purchased at the local mall. Finally, there will be a discount on boarding to current customers for any referral they send that stays with the business or gets grooming.
- Marketing Implementation
- Structural Issues
The Facebook offer and current customer discounts will be implemented first, as they are the cheaper options. After one month of these discounts being offered, the fliers and sign will be posted. The sign will stay up for approximately five months.
Employee motivation and turnover rate will need to be addressed as soon as possible. Pay rates may need to increase to entice employees to remain faithful employees to the business.
VII. Evaluation and Control
- Formal Controls
Barks and Recreation needs to be sure to gain feedback from new and existing customers. Perhaps after an animal has stayed, Barks and Recreation sends out a feedback email to the customer for them to fill out, so the business can gain insight into what the customers feel and want changed. The target for the marketing plan is to increase the number of daycare animals, increase boarding dog’s activity purchases to 80% and increase grooming purchases to 70%. The budget for a successful implementation will need to be around $400-$700.
Employees will need to be trained for an influx of customers as well as execution of giving tours. Employee salary will need to be raised, especially for the people who help manage the business while the owners are not at work. This will aid in the turnover rate and compensate them for additional work with new customers.
Keeping track of the new customer volume will be imperative to derive on whether the marketing plan is successful. Barks and Recreation will also utilize the help of the customer satisfaction and feedback emails to aid in future changes.
- Informal Controls
Without the employees being committed to the animals, Barks and Recreation is likely to fail. The small number of employees were hired based on their love for animals and commitment to their happiness, instead of previous experience. Though this lengthens the training process, it has helped in the long run, by helping Barks and Recreation avoid those who are abusive, frustrated or just in the job for the money. Though employees have voiced concerns where their hourly rates are concerned, and Barks and Recreation has taken this into account and is moving to rectify it.
- Marketing Audits
Marketing activities will be monitored based on the promotion codes and call influx. To gain promotional offers, customers must be able to present the flyer or the promotional code. These will be tallied to keep track of how many new customers come into the business. The owners will be responsible for determining the final count on the marketing promotions. If the marketing aspect does not do well in one aspect, the business can always reconvene to come up with a better plan, though Barks and Recreation is fairly certain this new plan will be a great step to an increase in customers.
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