The market segments will be targeted in a number of different ways. It must be noted that a graphics firm generates visibility and sales not through advertising, but through networking and client referrals. The marketing strategy will therefore consist of the following methods:
- Networking: The networking will be based on leveraging Kiev's personal and professional relationships that he has developed after spending years in the industry. Ways of networking include sending out notecards to all acquaintances announcing the opening of The Metolius Agency, and periodically meeting with people to catch up. This also means finding out who this person knows within some of the target companies that Metolius will likely try to turn into customers.
- Client Referral: A lot of business is derived through referrals. Some of the referrals will come through the Chamber of Commerce, some of the referrals will come from customers. Recognizing that referrals will be a good source of new customers, Kiev will be in constant contact with the Chamber. Kiev will investigate the possibility of doing a small project pro bono for the Chamber. This will be done to let the Chamber view an example of The Metolius Agency's work. It will also provide a reason for the Chamber to recommend The Metolius Agency. Kiev will work very hard to satisfy all of his customers. By making sure that he exceeds their expectations, he will increase the likelihood that he will receive referrals from satisfied customers.
- Targeted Customer Acquisition: This is the research and strategic formulation to attract a chosen company to become a customer. Kiev will put together a list of 20-30 companies that would be excellent customers. Once these companies have been identified, Kiev will devise a strategy to target these companies as customers by initially determining what value Metolius can offer the company. Once this has been established, Kiev will figure out who of his acquaintances might now someone from the targeted company and try to arrange some sort of meeting. Eventually, the goal is to be able to meet with the decision maker of the company and present them with a portfolio of Kiev's past work as well as the proposed value Kiev can offer this company.
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The Metolius Agency's mission is to provide the customer with creative and practical graphic design work and visual communication 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.
- Increase visibility, evidenced by an increase in unsolicited requests for service.
- After year one, generate at least 30% of new business each quarter from referrals.
- Continually strengthen Metolius' brand equity, evidenced by informal polling during networking activities.
- Maintain positive, steady, growth each month.
- Reach profitability by the end of year one.
- Continue to decrease the variable costs associated with serving a project.
The Metolius Agency has two distinct customer groups which they will concentrate on:
- Small-size companies: typically five to 15 employees.
- Medium-size companies: 15-40 employees.
These companies started with a great idea that they have parlayed into an established company. They are now ready to step up to the plate and seriously compete in their market place. These companies, whether small- or medium-size companies, started with a valuable concept and have leveraged their original grassroots visual communication elements a bit too long to be competitive now. More than likely, they had Aunt Betty design the original logo and branding material. Now that they have matured into a larger company, it is not really appropriate or competitive to be relying on the original grassroots corporate identity. These companies are in need of the same level of quality as their competitors and are in need of a professional firm to take them to that next level.
The Metolius Agency will position itself as a focused, innovative graphic design and visual communication firm targeting established companies that are ready to advance to the next level of business. Metolius will achieve this positioning by leveraging their competitive edges:
- The Metolius Agency's competitive edge is based on Kiev's diverse background of business and creativity. Typically, most creative agencies are staffed by right brain creative types. These people are extremely aesthetically orientated. While this is certainly an asset in the field of graphic design, it can be limiting because the primary audience of their work are not right brainers. It might not "hit home" with non-creative types which make up a large portion in the business world.
- Kiev's background is based in both aesthetic and practical business. While Kiev always had a creative streak that he would use, his education was business orientated. This was quite useful because it provided Kiev with a unique insight to business, marketing metrics, and the importance of Return on Investment in regards to marketing. This competitive edge allows The Metolius Agency to offer similar creative services other firms can offer, but also provide a unique business perspective that should be required by all creative firms because of the true value it adds.
The single objective is to position The Metolius Agency as a creative, unconventional, and innovative graphic design and visual communication firm in the Concord, NH area. The marketing strategy will be used to first develop customer awareness of Metolius regarding services offered, then develop a strong customer base, and finally work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.
The positioning will be accomplished through multiple strategies:
- Networking: Leveraging relationships to build new relationships within Concord's relatively intimate community.
- Targeted Customer Acquisition: The first step of this process is to target who the ideal customer is, determine how Metolius can offer them value, and then network with the decision maker at that company.
- Website: Inclusion of the Internet address in all materials that The Metolius Agency releases, as well as submissions to popular websites. Submissions to search engines is an art in itself as different search engines work in different ways, so a customized submission is most effective. Kiev is outsourcing the website design and search engine placement to the specialists at 1st-At-The-Top.com Internet & E-commerce Consulting Services, www.1st-At-The-Top.com.
The Metolius Agency's marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.
- Pricing: Metolius' pricing scheme will be based on a per project fee that will be calculated by forecasting the number of hours required to complete the project as well as any additional resources needed.
- Distribution: Metolius' services will be distributed either from the centrally located office or through transfer of the work product via the Internet.
- Advertising and Promotion: The most successful activities will be a comprehensive networking campaign, as well as a targeted customer acquisition system.
- Customer Service: Obsessive customer service is the mantra. No expenses will be spared to achieve total customer satisfaction. This strategy will be pursued, regardless of the impact of short-term profits. The reason for this is that total customer satisfaction is the recognition that this will ensure long-term profitability.
During the initial phases of the marketing plan development, several focus groups were held to gain insight into the targeted companies. These focus groups provided useful insight to the prospective customers and their decision-making process.
Another form of marketing research is a collaborative research project completed on behalf of three graduate students from the University of New Hampshire. The students produced a report that was very insightful. Because the students received both class credit as well as practical experience, they had an incentive to produce a work product that was valuable to the Metolius Agency.
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