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This sample marketing plan was created with Marketing Plan Pro software.

While Ideal's marketing budget is not huge, they recognize that in order to generate business they must spend money on marketing.

Ideal will have four different marketing activities.

  • The first will be advertising; ads will be placed in both the Yellow Pages as well as the regional industry trade journal.
  • A second marketing effort will be networking, leveraging all of Sarah's industry contacts.
  • The third activity is participation in the regional trade show.
  • The last source of marketing is a direct mail campaign for local perspective customers.

Mission

Ideal Business Support's mission is to provide the customer with the finest business support services. We exist to attract and maintain customers. When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.

Marketing Objectives

  • Increase repeat customers.
  • Decrease customer acquisition costs.
  • Generate brand equity, quantified by an increase in unsolicited service requests.

Financial Objectives

  • Profitability by the end of year one.
  • Steady, sustainable growth.
  • Decrease training costs by 2% a quarter.

Target Markets

The insurance market that is in need of support services can be broken down into two segments

  • Exclusive Agents: These are agents for only one type of insurance, such as State Farm. The agent will sell all the different types of coverage that State Farm offers, but only State Farm insurance. While the selection here is limited, the advantage of the exclusive agent is that they usually have a very strong relationship with that company which is good if there is ever any claim issues.
  • Insurance Brokers: These agents do not have an exclusive contract with any one insurance company. They can offer insurance from multiple companies. The advantage of this set up is that they can offer a wider range of service offerings than an agent who only sells one brand of insurance.

Positioning

Ideal will position itself as the most experienced insurance service support company in the Layton area. This positioning will be achieved by leveraging its competitive edge.

Ideal's competitive edge is a specific, deep industry knowledge of insurance. While having this specific knowledge will preclude a lot of the market, it makes a small part of the market quite attractive.

This deep industry knowledge is based on Sarah's five years spent as an independent insurance agent. Sarah will gather all of this intellectual capital and process it into a training program so it becomes organizational knowledge.

This approach is somewhat backwards relative to the norm for the support service industry. Generally, the background of the company owner is from the support staff industry. They then apply the support staff proficiencies to the industry of their different customers. Sarah believes that the intricacies of the insurance industry are far more complex then that of the support agency. Her rationale is that she can pick up the few things she does not know about support much quicker than having to learn about the underlying industry that is served.

Sarah's industry access is valuable for networking as well. Having spent time in the industry, Sarah developed many strong relationships with agents. Having established these relationships creates a trust bond that is significant for attempting to transform the professional insurance relationship to a support service based relationship.

Strategies

The single objective is to position Ideal as the most efficient support service available, commanding a majority of market share within six years. The marketing strategy will seek to first to create customer awareness regarding the services offered, then develop the customer base, and work finally toward building customer loyalty and referrals.

The message that Ideal seeks to communicate is that it has unprecedented industry knowledge. Ideal will employ several methods to communicate this. The first method will be an advertising campaign.  The campaign will utilize different sources, both the Yellow Pages as well as an industry journal. The second method of communication will be networking, based on Sarah's industry relationships. The third method will be participation within the regional tradeshow that attracts most of the local agents and brokers.  The last method of communication is a direct mail campaign, targeting local insurance agents and brokers. The mail campaign will provide all of the prospective customers with information regarding Ideal's service offerings.

Marketing Mix

Ideal's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.

  • Pricing: The pricing scheme will be competitive relative to other support service providers.
  • Distribution: The services will be offered at the customer's place of operation or at Ideal's office, whichever the customer prefers.
  • Advertising and Promotion: A multi-tiered marketing campaign will be used to generate visibility and equity.
  • Customer Service: Companies such as Siemens and L.L. Bean will be benchmarked for their customer service, and managers will be held responsible for the achievement of these ambitious goals.

Marketing Research

The main source of marketing research was generated from a series of focus groups that Sarah engineered and facilitated. The participants were networking contacts from Sarah's insurance industry experience. Each focus group had five to seven participants and was video taped in order to record the entire event. The focus groups had a structured format where all participants were asked specific questions, as well as an unstructured section where there was a free-flow discussion.

The groups provided Ideal with a wealth of information from prospective customers. Some of the information confirmed already held assumptions, other information was things that Ideal was unaware of but very useful. Overall, the focus groups were incredibly useful. Ideal plans to have another focus group within 18 months.

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