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Export Marketing Plan Term Paper


Executive Summary

RicksReefs is company which markets different reefs, hard and soft corals, zoanthids, critters, and macro algae to the US customers. the company does not pursue any other lines of business yet strives to spread its services to other countries exporting the sea life abroad. Currently, the company is interested in exporting is products to Columbia and this business plan will show the ways how it can be exported to these countries.

Situational Analysis (Position the company)

The RicksReefs company is tiny, it employs only 10 people in Florida mainly on a part time basis doing some menial job with corrals. It is a business which grew out of a hobby of growing corrals, algae and other endangered aquatic species which with the help of the internet can be sold outside the hometown via some major packaging services. The company is not truly market-oriented yet rather represents the hobby of its founder.

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Since the industry is very fragmented there are no corporate competitors to RicksReefs, yet there are numerous hobbyists who take great interest in growing corrals, critters, algae and zoanthids. These other companies are not in true competition simply because they engage in voluntary exchange of experience and corral samples. They do not truly compete with each other yet rather actively participate and enjoy their activities. Typically these companies can also be found online or in yellow pages in areas where corrals grow. They are never large, they are not represented on stock exchanges and are typically organized as sole proprietorships.

What is the business

RicksReefs’s business is sale and exchange of different aquatic species such as hard and soft corrals, zoanthids, critters and macro algae. Currently there is no available information on the supply and the demand of these kinds of products since the market is hobby-oriented and not advertised in mass media. Basically, one grows corrals and sells them over the internet or via a phone order. The corrals and other species get packed and shipped while the buyer pays with the credit card or with the check. One can also visit RicksReefs in Florida and buy the products in cash.

Brief industry history

Reef industry is a rather small and novel industry simply because it does target on hobbyists who take great interest in corals and sea life.

The internet helped the company to establish global presence and the postal and package delivery industry allows RicksReefs to cover numerous countries around the world.

The industry started as people took interest in sea life and wanted to bring a part of it to their homes.

Company over the last 5 years

Over the past 5 years RicksReefs has been among the fastest growing companies dealing with corals, zoanthids, critters and macro algae

Position the external environment

In order to properly assess the external environment of RicksReefs, let refer to the PESTEL analysis as shown below in the essay:

Political Economic
  1. RicksReefs provides the customers with the different aquatic species to satisfy human needs for a hobby.
  2. RicksReefs provides jobs to people and thus should get political support on a local basis.
  3. RicksReefs at the same time challenges the interests of major nature preservation societies (Rogers, 45).
  1. RicksReefs contributes to the US GDP by yielding global revenue.
  2. RicksReefs provides an opportunity for unprivileged groups of people to have an inexpensive hobby.
Social Technological
  1. RicksReefs creates more social satisfaction by providing cheap aquatic products.
  2. RicksReefs facilitates communication between people who take interest in corrals and other sea life and thus social interaction among people.
  3. RicksReefs provides for more opportunities and competition and thus is justified in its existence
  1. RicksReefs does not utilize any other sophisticated technology in its operations except for the internet and the tools that contribute for normal growth and development of the species in home conditions.
Legal Ethical
  1. RicksReefs legally does not break any laws.
  2. RicksReefs can legally ship different corrals, zoanthids, critters or macro algae.
  1. Ethically RicksReefs is good because of the jobs it provides to its 10 people personnel.
  2. RicksReefs increases the economic growth of the USA.
  3. RicksReefs is good because it spreads the US species abroad.

Geographically RicksReefs is headquartered in Florida, yet has global presence in terms of its clientele because of the internet. The majority of its clients still are Americans yet the company wants to establish foreign presence in Columbia.

When thinking of the marketing strategy of RicksReefs, we have to understand that when constructing it we need to bear in mind that the main purpose of it is to promote one’s business on a large scale.

Marketing goals and objectives.

  • The Marketing goals of RicksReefs should be the following:
  • Increase the population awareness of the existing products and the way a new hobby can be created.
  • Increase the number of participants and customers who would take interest in RicksReefs’ products and form communities and interest groups which in turn would regularly purchase something from RicksReefs.
  • Create the market for aquatic life in the USA and get the most market share possible.
    Get as much revenue as possible, the thing that any business would want.
    Penetrate different Latin American markets starting with Columbia and become the largest player on the market.

Marketing Strategies and Tactics

In order to properly understand the marketing strategies of RicksReefs, we have to analyze the 4Ps+1 of marketing as shown below:

Product. RicksReefs provides different natural products to the global clients starting with soft and hard corrals and ending up with macro algae, critters and zoanthids. RicksReefs not only sends chosen products but also ads value by explaining in a detail what use these products can bring to people and how much satisfaction and new hobby can provide to the customer. The product does not require any sophisticated handling or instructions. It is nature friendly and biodegradable.

Price. RicksReefs offers different pricings for different products. Typically they start at $12/piece and go up to several hundreds depending on the uniqueness of the product. The price for foreign clients should be increased by the amount of shipping and handling. Typically the global shipping price ranges $10 to $30 per product. The product gets weighted before being shipped and its weight and size certainly determines the price. Typically the costs of shipping to the same continent yet different countries do not change by more than 20% from country to country.

Place. The place is the cyber-world, or the internet. In order to participate in RicksReefs activities one does not have to go anywhere and can get everything from the home computer with just a few clicks of the mouse. For foreign clients as those from Columbia RicksReefs needs to provide several different means of payment such as via credit cards, by checks or wire transfers of funds. It is of importance to note that Columbia might have different regulations for the foreign trade in which RicksReefs engages so it is necessary to know the laws in advance. Currently the company exports to different foreign countries when the demand pulls, i.e. when customers find RicksReefs online and place an order. RicksReefs does not take active steps to market its products abroad. The distribution channels should be typical for small companies, i.e. packages delivered by mail with the help of major package delivery companies or local post office services.

Promotion. RicksReefs does not utilize much promotion past the existing internet advertising and advertising in local newspapers. Since the company is small it is prohibitively costly to pay much to advertise services and products.

People. RicksReefs provides a 24/7 customer support team that would be willing to answer the questions in an online mode and recommend the new users what products to buy and what services RicksReefs company provides. RicksReefs should hire people in the host country to serve as sales representatives. These people will answer questions in the native tongue of the host country and will keep RicksReefs informed of the upcoming demands and changes.

Strategy Implementation

RicksReefs needs to implement its strategy by extensive online promotion targeting citizens of Columbia who take great interest in marine life and the products that RicksReefs markets. These in the future will constitute the largest market of RicksReefs.

RicksReefs needs to set up an online payment account and a registration form on the website to streamline its foreign operations. The form should allow users and potential customers to do the following (Nickell, 30):

  1. input their names and addresses.
  2. select the product to buy.
  3. choose payment options and pay for products.
  4. check the status of the order online.

The overall payment and registration form can be created within a week’s term by web programmers.

Difficulties or unexpected events.

While up till present there had been no law suits regarding the sale of aquatic animals and related products, RicksReefs needs to be aware of different laws and regulations that govern the sale, and distribution of wildlife. One needs not only to study the US laws but also the laws of the host country to where RicksReefs plans to market its products.

The competition in the market that RicksReefs serves can be very easily developed simply because there are no high entry barriers and just about any one can start a corral and wildlife farm in Florida or other southern states in the US.

Profit or Loss of Marketing Strategy.

RicksReefs needs to hire some representatives in Columbia before actually launching an advertising campaign in that country (Anderson, 140). The company needs to find online people who would be willing to represent RicksReefs in their homeland and instruct them on how to handle their jobs. The people should be paid either a monthly salary (when RicksReefs manages to have high volume of sales) or on a per piece sold basis, a method useful only when it appears that RicksReefs will not sell many products in the first few years to Columbia.

Control of situation if a failure.

RicksReefs is a small business so it does not have high exposure to failure. The only negative thing that can happen in ecommerce is that someone steals a credit card to order products of RicksReefs. Since each individual product is rather inexpensive rare instance of online fraud will not cause much damage to RicksReefs.


RicksReefs will need to spend a lot in the first few years on the following things:

1. Ecommerce website development. The price of a complete ecommerce website ranges from $1000 to $5000. RicksReefs should expect to pay about $2000 on a well-designed ecommerce website that would feature a catalogue of products and various bells and whistles to speed up the communication process between RicksReefs and customers.

2. Online advertising. This typically ranges from $1000 to $5000 per month to give a website a decent online promotion to reach global clients (Zikmund, 311). Within the first year RicksReefs should expect to pay about $1500 per months on advertising.

3. Establishment of partnerships abroad in host countries. The salaries of people in Latin America are much lower than in the USA. One can hire a full time sales representative in Columbia for $300 a month.


In conclusion I would like to note that RicksReefs is a company that managed to properly understand the market needs for aquatic hobby products. The company already has a production facility and the website to feature its products. Some minor changes need to be made to assure that RicksReefs can easily sell online. The company should find representatives in the countries to where it plans to ship products and spend about $20,000 in the first year on advertising and promotion. Then, one will likely to receive numerous orders from different parts of the world with the production capacity being fully utilized by RicksReefs.


Rogers, Martha, The One to One B2B: Customer Relationship Management Strategies for the Real Economy, McGraw Hill, 2002.
Zikmund, William, Customer Relationship Management: Integrating Marketing Strategy and Information Technology , NY Random House, 2001.
Anderson, Kristin, Customer Relationship Management, McGraw Hill, 2001.
Nickell, Stephen, The Performance of Companies: The Relationship Between the External Environment, Management Strategies and Corporate Performance, Oxford University Press, 2001.

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