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Principles of Marketing

Closing Company Case

Principles of MarketingClosing Company Case


In 2018, husband and wife duo Zach and Riley McDonald began getting a flood of requests to help with events. Each of them individually had significant talents. They were great foodies, and they understood good food both in taste and in presentation. Their combined skill for aesthetics in design, display, color, and texture was remarkable. And they were both gifted at bringing everything together and staging it all like a flawlessly produced Broadway show.

When the idea to create a business doing event planning started to become a reality, both were employed full-time while also tending to their young family. To say their plates were full was an understatement. However, after helping with a few events, the duo realized they had a passion for event planning, and they both really enjoyed working with people, helping others to bring their dreams to reality.

A fancy round table is shown in a banquet room; other similar tables are visible in the background. The table is covered in a table cloth and is set with formal dishes and silverware. Cloth napkins are folded so they stand straight up at the center of the table. A round bouquet of flowers is at the center of the table in a tall narrow vase.
Figure 9.16 Ramblewood’s unique value proposition is that it is a one-stop shop for the various components involved in hosting an event, like a wedding. (credit: “Taipei Sheraton Taipei Sheraton” by spongebabyalwaysfull/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Zach and Riley were both very involved in their community, and they were often guests at events around town. They noticed a lack of coordination between all the moving event components—planning, floral design, event rentals, decor, and catering. Was there a marketplace need to coordinate an event from beginning to end?

After putting together a few events for friends and acquaintances, they received rave reviews. Requests started pouring in for their services. With a keen eye for every detail and methodical oversight for all facets of an event, the Ramblewood team had a unique niche in its market. And with a robust start, Ramblewood came to life.

Ramblewood had a compelling value proposition in that it was a one-stop-shop for all event components. It was not uncommon for an event host to research, interview, and coordinate with musicians, furniture and linen rentals, caterers, florists, bakers, digital designers, and printers. Ramblewood would do it all and coordinate it seamlessly to take some of the stress off the work of an event.

While weddings might be the primary event market, Ramblewood had a strong following with corporations, family reunions, baby showers, bridal showers, and birthday parties. No event was too big or small for Ramblewood. If clients wanted to host an event to flawlessly match a vision, Ramblewood could make it a reality.

With over a decade of art and design experience, Zach and Riley were able to sit down with their clients and hear about their dreams and visions to bring them to reality. The team had a special skill for looking at creative ways to stretch the budgets and create focal points that would make an experience unforgettable.

As the business was getting off the ground, Zach and Riley wondered how to scale and still create the unique experience expected by every event. However, they were worried that quick growth might damage their unique brand. The two wanted to maintain the integrity of the brand. Every event deserved to have the same attention to detail and beauty they had built in to their very first event.

Zach and Riley quickly realized that every event they managed was in fact their “calling card.” Guests who attended Ramblewood events talked about the experience. Guests discussed the beauty of the flowers, the exceptional food, the layout and decor, and most importantly, how well the event flowed. Each event had elements that created “oohs” and “ahs” that prompted the question, Who created this event? Marketing through word of mouth and social media seemed to be creating the growth engine Zach and Riley were seeking.

The essence of the Ramblewood brand was to create the vision and develop a magical experience for every guest in attendance. “From small intimate home parties or dinners, to large upscale corporate events, we love them all. We love hearing what the event is about and who it is for and then custom building your event into a true lasting experience”18 was Ramblewood’s mission.

After four years of unforgettable events, the duo chose to extend their brand with an upscale gourmet grocery market to deliver event elements in one location. Market customers could stop in and take a little bit of Ramblewood home. Ramblewood created RMarket—a place for a few magical moments available for everyone, including napkins, flowers, food, decor, and dishes.

The small company Zach and Riley launched was growing rapidly, and its brand was associated with the best events in the South. Growth was coming with the addition of its gourmet food market, and the two were looking for the next steps for their business. 19

To learn more about Ramblewood, visit its website.

Case Questions

1 .
Ramblewood provides many benefits to its customers. What are the four levels of product provided by Ramblewood?
2 .
Products are tangible items offered for exchange between a buyer and seller. Services are intangible solutions that are also an exchange between buyer and seller. Ramblewood provides event planning. As part of its “offering,” it also supplies flowers, decor, and food. Where does the Ramblewood offering fall on the product–service continuum?
3 .
Ramblewood was able to capitalize on positive word of mouth to build its business at the introduction stage. As it entered the growth phase, it incorporated some marketing strategies used by many companies. What did Ramblewood do to fuel growth?
4 .
Brands are built in the hearts and minds of the customers. Successful brands engage customers on a personal level, connecting to their emotions and needs. Name some of the strategies Ramblewood uses to create its brand.
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