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

AMT will change its focus to differentiate itself from box pushers and improve the business by satisfying the real need of the small business and high-end home office for reliable information technology including hardware, software, and all related services.

Mission

AMT is built on the assumption that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice, accounting, graphic arts, and other bodies of knowledge, in that it is not inherently a do-it-yourself prospect. Smart business people who aren't computer hobbyists need to find quality vendors of reliable hardware, software, service, and support. They need to use these quality vendors as they use their other professional service suppliers, as trusted allies.

AMT is such a vendor. It serves its clients as a trusted ally, providing them with the loyalty of a business partner and the economics of an outside vendor. We make sure that our clients have what they need to run their businesses as well as possible, with maximum efficiency and reliability. Many of our information applications are mission critical, so we give our clients the assurance that we will be there when they need us.

Marketing Objectives

We need to focus our offerings on small business as the key market segment we should own. This means the 5 to 20-unit system, tied together in a local area network, in a company with 5 to 50 employees. Our values - training, installation, service, support, knowledge - are more clearly differentiated in this segment.

As a corollary, the high end of the home office market is also appropriate. We do not want to compete for the buyers who go to the chain stores or mail order, but we definitely want to be able to sell individual systems to the smart HO buyers who want a reliable full-service vendor.

Financial Objectives

  1. Increase sales by 20%.
  2. Increase gross margin to more than 25%.
  3. Increase our non-hardware sales to 65% of the total.

Target Markets

We cannot survive just waiting for the customer to come to us. Instead, we must get better at attracting the specific market segments whose needs match what we have to offer. Focusing on targeted segments is the key to our future.

Therefore, we need to finely craft our marketing message and our product offerings. We need to develop our message, communicate it, and make good on it.

Positioning

For local businesses who need reliable systems and can't afford their own full-time support employees, AMT is their strategic computer and networking ally. Unlike the major retail stores that sell low-cost PCs as appliances in boxes, AMT is an ally to our clients' businesses, and offers them a full range of services from installation to maintenance, support, and training.

Strategies

We must differentiate ourselves from the box pushers. We need to establish our business as a clear and viable alternative for our target market, to the price-only kind of buying. We do this by promoting our value added resources.

We've developed two strategy pyramids, each based on one main fundamental strategy. The first strategy is about focusing on service and support, and the second strategy is about focusing on customer relationships instead of products. Each is charted in greater detail below.

We've also split both our sales forecast and our expense budget into divisions based on the pyramid tactics. Sales by Tactic is broken down in detail in Topic 4.2.2. You can see that the bulk of our sales doesn't track directly into specific marketing tactics, despite the pyramid.

Expenses, however, do break down easily into tactics and the programs associated with the tactics. That detail is shown in Topic 4.3.2.

Marketing Mix

A core element of our marketing strategy is a change in the marketing mix. In terms of promotion, we need to sell our company as a differentiated strategic ally, not just our products. In price, we need to remain higher than the competition and we need to be able to defend that. Our product marketing has to recognize more that our service and our relationship is the key to our future product marketing. We sell a relationship more than products.

Product Marketing

AMT provides both computer products and services which make them useful to small businesses. We are especially focused on providing network systems and services to small and medium businesses. The systems include both PC-based LAN systems and minicomputer server-based systems. Our services include design and installation of network systems, training, and support.

In personal computers, we support three main lines:

The Super Home is our smallest and least expensive line, initially positioned by its manufacturer as a home computer. We use it mainly as a cheap workstation for small business installations. Its specifications include ...[additional specifics omitted].

The Power User is our main up-scale line. It is our most important system for high-end home and small business main workstations, because of .... Its key strengths are .... Its specifications include ....[additional specifics omitted].

The Business Special is an intermediate system, used to fill the gap in the positioning. Its specifications include ... [additional specifics omitted].

In peripherals, accessories and other hardware, we carry a complete line of necessary items from cables to forms to mousepads ... [additional specifics omitted].

In service and support, we offer a range of walk-in or depot service, maintenance contracts, and on-site guarantees. We have not had much success selling service contracts. Our networking capabilities ...[additional specifics omitted].

In software, we sell a complete line of ... [additional specifics omitted].

In training, we offer ... [additional specifics omitted].

Price

We must charge appropriately for the high-end, high-quality service and support that we provide our customers. Our revenue structure has to match our cost structure, so the salaries we pay to assure good service and support can be balanced by the revenue we charge.

We cannot build the service and support revenue into the price of products. The market can't bear the higher prices and the buyer feels ill-used when they see the same product priced lower at the chains. Despite the logic behind this, the market doesn't support this concept.

Therefore, we must make sure that we deliver and charge for service and support. Training, service, installation, networking support-all of this must be readily available and priced to sell and deliver revenue.

Promotion

One of the best places to reach the target SB is the local newspaper. Unfortunately, that medium is saturated with pure-price-only messages, and we'll have to make sure that our message is excellently stated.

Radio is potentially a good opportunity. Our SB target buyers listen to local news, talk shows, and sports. Sponsoring a technology discussion/call-in talk show is a possibility.

Seminars are a good marketing opportunity with SBs. Employees are often happy to leave their normal routines for a day to learn something new.

Service

Our strategy hinges on providing excellent service and support. This is critical. We are marketing our service and support; therefore, we must be prepared to deliver.

  1. Training: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]
  2. Upgrade offers: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]
  3. Our own internal training: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]
  4. Installation services: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]
  5. Custom software services: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]
  6. Network configuration services: [Details are essential in a marketing plan. Proprietary information has been removed from this sample plan.]

Channels of Distribution

Our strategy gives us room to promote more of our value-added sales through our existing channels, and to develop more channel points for both:

  1. Our sales agents: At present, the agents account for roughly 10% of our sales. We can increase this amount by offering them more attention. The agents are generally as hard-pressed as we are to maintain their business through the increasing price pressure, and together we can offer a better way to compete. They can help us focus on real value, and we can help them do the same.
  2. VARs: We should be able to add two more VARs to the two we already have. The potential customers in outlying areas also need the kinds of values we offer, and through the VARs we can give them a much better option than mail order or Internet delivery.

Channel Analysis

Create or edit this table

Channel Analysis
      
Channel LocationMaintenanceValueGrowthReadiness
Sales RepsEast CoastHighHigh+Open
VARsWest CostLowHigh+Closed
Other00000

Marketing Research

Research is an integral step in developing any marketing plan. We definitely need to know more about our customers. In the past we've been too distant, and perhaps too quick, to just guess about our customers, rather than conducting real research. For this plan we need to develop two new lines of market research:

  1. Primary research on our own customer base. This doesn't have to be elaborate, but we do need to know more about our existing customers. Random telephone calls, through-the-mail surveys, and website surveys may be appropriate. What do our customers think about us? How do they grade our services?
  2. Secondary research on the Internet and in published magazines, etc. We think it's time to establish a process for going through published research to find out what's available about buying patterns and demographics, business needs, etc., for our main target users. We think there is a lot of information already available on these types, and much of it is readily available for the price of a little bit of research.

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