The Shipping Centre will undertake a few marketing initiatives to generate business for the company. The first pseudo marketing activity is the choice of location for the store front. The Centre has chosen a popular, busy, mall to locate the business in. Some of the marketing budget has been earmarked to cover the variance in lease payments relative to less expensive leases that they could have secured in a number of different places. The willingness to pay more for the lease was based on the assumption that by choosing this location, the store front will receive a lot of walk-by traffic by virtue of their location. Once people become aware of The Shipping Centre they will then incorporate visiting The Centre while they are at the mall for various other reasons.
Additionally, The Centre will be using Yellow Page advertisements for those people that use the Yellow Pages as a resource for finding service providers. The last source of marketing will be the use of weekly advertisements in the Levenson Journal, the local newspaper.
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The Shipping Centre's mission is to provide the customer with whatever type of shipping needs they may have. 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.
- Increase awareness about the company with the different mall patrons.
- Increase repeat customers by 4% per quarter.
- Decrease customer acquisition costs by 5% per half.
- Generate continuous, month to month growth.
- Reach profitability by the end of year two.
- Generate workflow efficiencies, decreasing the labor cost per transaction down.
The Shipping Centre is targeting these customers because they represent a growing portion of the population.
- Shipping customers: this segment of the population has grown steadily in the last few years mostly due to the Internet. When a customer purchases a product over the Internet and they need to return it for whatever reason, the easiest solution is to drop it off at a store like The Shipping Centre. Another growing segment is eBay sellers who are shipping out goods that they are selling. Shipping customers are also mail-order customers who have an item to return back to the catalog company. Lastly, there are regular people sending packages to whomever. They are typically enticed by a shipping option that is fast and convenient, two things that do not describe the Post Office or a regional UPS shipping center. Additionally, there are the customers who are in need of packaging for an item. To do it right, these things take time, especially for weird shaped or fragile items and time is a luxury that people are increasingly unwilling to devote toward packaging items up.
- P.O. Box customers: some consumers desire the option of a P.O. Box, eBay transactions have boosted the use of P.O. boxes recently, and The Shipping Centre will accommodate this group.
- Fax customers: this segment has a steady demand for fax transmittal services. Although many thought the use of email would reduce the number of transmittals done via the fax, this has not happened yet.
The Shipping Centre will position itself as the reasonably priced, convenient shipping service for the Levenson community. The desired positioning will be reached by leveraging its competitive edges. The Shipping Centre's competitive edge will be based on two factors, customer service and convenience.
- Customer service: The Shipping Centre will offer exemplary customer service that will stand out in the otherwise commodity-like delivery of services in this business space. The competitor's customer service is acceptable, but they do not go the extra mile for you. This will change with The Shipping Centre's customer service. After visiting The Shipping Centre you will leave with an overwhelming feeling of how superior customer service treatment should be. When you leave The Shipping Centre with that feeling, it will stick in your head and will be effective in differentiating The Shipping Centre from its competitors.
- Convenience: Most of the competition keep normal business hours. While this works from some people, our market research indicates that people are using these services because they work during the day and they are in need of a quick and easy solution. By offering extended business hours, The Shipping Centre becomes immediately more convenient by allowing working individuals to service their shipping needs, and etc., after their work hours.
The single objective of The Shipping Centre is to become the popular, shipping/ fax transmittal/P.O. Box service in the city. The Centre seeks to gain a majority share of the market within five years. The marketing strategy aims to first create customer awareness regarding the offered services, then develop the customer base, and finally work toward building customer loyalty.
The message that the company wishes to communicate is that it is a reasonably priced, convenient shipping service provider. This message will be communicated through various methods. The first method will be advertisements displayed in the Yellow Pages. The Centre will also use weekly advertisements placed in the local newspaper. Within these ads will be occasional coupons to encourage new customers to try the Centre.
The Centre's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.
- Pricing: The scheme will be to have prices that are more competitive than the competitors.
- Distribution: All services will be offered from the store front.
- Advertising and promotion: The marketing campaign will utilize several different strategies.
- Customer service: The business model is based on a customer-centric focus that is instilled in all of the employees.
During the development of the business and marketing plans, The Centre performed marketing research to validate its idea. This marketing research took two forms, questionnaires and a focus group.
- The questionnaires were given out to patrons of several different popular shopping areas and inquired into the different uses that people would have for a shipping service provider. The response rate for the questionnaires was 9%, a reasonable amount. The questionnaires were developed with the help of a statistic professor, ensuring their validity.
- The focus group was held to gain customer insight. The session was taped to allow the facilitators to capture the responses after the fact with no time constraints. The sessions had a set of already established questions, as well as a free flow discussion period.
Both sources of marketing research was helpful in providing valuable information regarding the idea of launching this new business.
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