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

The Executive Search & Rescue Placement Firm's marketing strategy will be based on advertising and networking.

The advertising will be done in the several local journals that cater to emerging businesses. The most prominent is the Business Journal of Minneapolis which Executive will often have a presence in. The advertisement will be geared toward bringing companies on as clients, however, this will only be a secondary goal of the advertising.

Dan will be relying on networking to set up companies as clients. As business continues, Executive's track record will get more solid and its results will speak for itself. This is the type of industry where associations count for a lot, and when Executive scores a few big clients, many others will come through the door because they are impressed with who our clients are.

The marketing strategy will develop interest in the firm, while the sales strategy will then turn the leads into customers. This will be done with superior service based on interpersonal communication skills. The sales leads will call/inquire for more information and it will be the Dan's responsibility to convince the lead that Executive would be a worthwhile investment of time, based on the firm's competitive advantages and track record.

Lastly, Executive will have a website that will be a fairly comprehensive collection of information about Executive and the services it provides.

Mission

The Executive Search & Rescue Placement Firm's mission is to service emerging companies with outstanding executives. 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

  • Maintain, positive, steady growth.
  • Increase the number of repeat customers or referrals by 7% a quarter.
  • Decrease customer acquisition costs by 8% a year.

Financial Objectives

  • Profitability by the end of year one.
  • Increase the number of account executives by at least one per year.
  • Decrease operating margins by 2% a year.

Target Markets

 Our customers can be divided into two different groups:

  1. High-tech Firms: The high-tech firm deals with some aspect of technology, like design or manufacturing. These firms currently make up over 80% of the top 20 fastest growing companies in Oregon.
  2. Non-high-tech Firms: While this category of emerging companies is far smaller then high-tech companies, it should not be neglected. There are plenty of fast growing companies in this segment and Executive will be able to serve them.

Executive is concentrating on emerging companies for the intuitive reason that emerging companies need executives more often than stagnant companies. As a company grows, there is an increased demand for leadership.

Within the emerging company label, there are predominantly high-technology companies. While this has been tempered somewhat by the recent economic slowdown, these companies are still growing at astronomical rates.

An example at just how fast some companies are growing is a company called eBay. eBay's CEO is Meg Whitman who used to be a executive at Hasboro Toys. After two years at eBay, Meg was worth more (from eBay stock) than the entire Hasboro family after over 30 years of business.

These companies are growing very fast and this is the perfect time and place for an executive search firm to fuel this growth.

Positioning

Executive will position itself as the premier executive placement agency for the high-tech sector of Minneapolis.

Rapidly growing companies will appreciate the fast, predictive service that Executive offers. Executive Search and Rescue will leverage its competitive edges to achieve the desired positioning.

Executive has a two pronged competitive advantage that will allow it to rapidly gain market share:

  1. Networking: Dan has been in high-tech sales in Minneapolis for the last 10 years. During this time Dan has made contacts in this intimate community. Additionally, Dan has been an active member in the Chamber of Commerce, the Minneapolis Venture group, the Minneapolis Angel Fund, and other organizations that are composed primarily of emerging companies. The activity in these organizations has allowed Dan to establish personal relationships with most of the emerging companies in the Minneapolis area.
  2. Sophisticated Screening/interviewing Systems: Dan will be implementing a structured behavioral interviewing system (SBI) to accurately screen candidates, it is statistically far more predictive than any other system.

    SBI is based on several elements:

    • Structured: The questions are designed in advance and every applicant receives the same questions to allow a relative comparison to be made.

    • Behavioral: The questions ask the applicants how they would act in a certain situation.

    • Theory (proven empirically): If you come up with analogous situations that the applicant is likely to encounter in the prospective position, then the answers that you receive are indicative of how they would behave.

    SBI is statistically more predictive than other interviewing methods if done correctly. One aspect of proper implementation/usage is the quality of the questions that are developed. Dan, having worked in the high-tech industry for 10 years, has the insight to know what is expected of an applicant applying for the stated position.

Strategy Pyramids

The single objective is to position Executive as the most respected executive placement agency.

The marketing strategy will first seek to create customer awareness regarding the services offered, then develop the customer base, and finally work toward building customer loyalty and referrals. 

The message that Executive seeks to communicate is that its advanced screening systems are more sophisticated and predictive than any internal HR department or outsourced competitor.

This message will be communicated through a variety of methods. The first method of communication is advertisements in the widely distributed Business Journal of Minneapolis. 

The second method of communication will be through purposeful networking activities leveraging Dan's personal and professional contacts that were developed through years within the industry.

Marketing Mix

Executive'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 executive placement services.
  • Distribution: The services are tailored to address the needs of Minneapolis.
  • Advertising and Promotion: ESR will rely on an advertising campaign and strategic networking to raise awareness and build brand equity.
  • Customer Service: Executive recognizes that the only way to grow a business is to ensure that customer's expectations are exceeded.

Marketing Research

The market research that was performed to support both the business plan as well as this marketing plan was based on interviews.  Dan conducted interviews that were structured (each interviewee was asked the same questions) and recorded for future analysis.

Dan interviewed 15 people, generally the the vice president of HR, although occasionally Dan interviewed the COO. 

The interviews provided Executive with valuable insight into the companies perceived future needs, the thought process that is undertaken when considering hiring issues, as well as determinating the value (quantified) associated with a predictive executive placement service.

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