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

Human Capital Maximizers marketing strategy will be based on strategic networking and traditional advertising.  The networking will consist of leveraging Major's extensive industry contacts.  Having spent several years in Nike's HR department and then moving onto a well-known boutique consultancy specializing in start-ups, Major is familiar with many of the large players in the Portland area, both service providers as well as start-up executives.

Major will begin his networking/marketing activities by being present at the several regular networking events that focus on emerging companies.  The main event is the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum (OEF).  This association is a wonderful place to meet main players in the Portland start-up market for several reasons.  The association has the backing of many of the larger capital institutions and service providers in the city like Silicon Valley Bank, Stoel Rives, KPMG, and Andersen Consulting.  Having a rich list of established companies as backers for the association drives many start-ups to the forum.  Additionally, the OEF has a subset group of angel investors that a few lucky start-ups are allowed to make their pitch to.

Another excellent group for networking is the Software Association of Oregon (SAO).  Major has been an active member of the SAO for three years and is friends with most of the participants.  The SAO is continually growing in size as the "Silicon Forest" is becoming enriched with new companies.  The monthly SAO meetings will always be a ideal place to network with all the players in Oregon's high technology community.

Both the SAO and the OEF will be active projects of Major with a fair amount of time donated to helping members as well as generating business.  These two organizations are just one example of the networking events/techniques that Major will be leveraging to generate business.  Major will also be advertising in these association's newsletters regularly to generate visibility.  HCM will also advertise in the Business Journal of Portland, the definitive business journal of the area.

Lastly, Major will be working with career services at Portland State University, Willamette University, and the University of Oregon to offer guidance and help to prospective students, as well as to remain in touch with the different start-ups that are coming out of the University's undergraduate and graduate programs.

Mission

Human Capital Maximizers' mission is to provide human resource consulting for emerging companies. 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

  • Grow total sales by 15% annually after the first year.
  • Diversify the client base to include a fiscally prudent mixture of both technology and non-technology companies in case of the collapse of a specific market.
  • Grow the business so 35% of new customers are referrals.
  • Build the HCM brand among start-up companies so it is recognized as the premier source of HR consulting. 

Financial Objectives

  • Realize value in at least 15% of the equity held in customers within four years.
  • Decrease variable costs associated with servicing each project.
  • Increase business enough to require the hiring of additional consultants.

Target Markets

Emerging companies will be the target market for several reasons:

  1. They are in need of HR services as they are growing rapidly.
  2. They often do not have a large enough in-house solution.
  3. Capital is a scarce resource for emerging companies so the ability to accept stock options in replace of cash is appealing.

The emerging company market can be further broken down into two categories, technology and non-technology. The significance of the breakdown is not great because a lot of the networking activities are occurring in settings that do not differentiate between technology and non-technology.

Human Capital Maximizers' market can be segmented into two groups, emerging high-tech companies and emerging non-high-tech companies. The emerging high-tech companies are going to be the larger of the two segments. Even with the Internet bubble bursting within the last year, there are still many emerging high-tech companies proliferating. This is evidenced by the Business Journal of Portland which in their annual list of fastest growing companies for this year, 18 of the top 25 were technology companies.

Positioning

HCM will position itself as the premier HR consultant firm for emerging companies in the Portland/Vancouver market.  Emerging companies that are in need of quality HR services and do not have enough capital to cover all of the costs will look to HCM for assistance.

Human Capital Maximizers' competitive edge is its flexibility for compensation. Most, or all, other companies require compensation to be in the form of cash, for them cash is king. Human Capital Maximizers is able to take stock options or equity in lieu of some cash. While Human Capital Maximizers needs cash to float the business, it can take up to 75% of its fees in equity. Human Capital Maximizers is able to do this because they have secured an office space that is low in cost, helping them reduce their overhead. In addition, Major's wife contributes a significant portion of money to the household so Major is not in need of a lot of monthly compensation. This allows him to accept options as payment in hopes of an upside several years for now. Please note the HR industry, unlike law firms and accounting firms do not run into conflict of interests situations regarding receiving equity as compensation.

Strategy Pyramids

The single objective for HCM is to position themselves as THE human resource firm in the Portland area, earning a commanding market share of emerging companies within four years.  The marketing strategy will first create customer awareness regarding services offered, develop the customer base, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals. 

The message that Human Capital Maximizers will seek to communicate is that it is the most flexible, knowledgeable, and professional HR firm for the emerging company community.  This message will be communicated several different ways.  The first is a targeted advertising campaign that includes the Software Association of Oregon and the Oregon Entrepreneur Forum's newsletter.  HCM will also advertise in the Business Journal of Portland.  These publication's reader base is comprised of a large percentage of HCM's target audience.  The message will also be communicated in all of Major's networking activities including active participation in different associations.

Marketing Mix

Human Capital Maximizers' marketing mix is comprised of the following approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service:

  • Pricing: HCM will use a flexible pricing model that accepts both cash as well as equity in the customer's company.
  • Distribution: Services will be provided to the Portland/Vancouver via HCM's downtown office. Client meetings will be held at HCM's office, or at the client site.
  • Advertising and Promotion: These activities will be aimed at the Portland and Vancouver market.
  • Customer Service: Obsessive customer service is the mantra.  HCM's philosophy is to exceed the customer's expectations at whatever cost.  While this might hurt short-term profits, it will only strengthen a long term, customer-centric business model.

Marketing Research

During the initial phases of the marketing plan development, several focus groups were held with target market customers to gain insight into their business decision making processes.

Another form of market research has been a constant, long dialogue with the many seasoned managers on HCM's board of directors and informal mentors.  These dialogues have been Major's venue of bouncing any, and all, business decisions, thoughts, ideas, etc. on people that have done this before and can provide incredible insight. 

Lastly, HCM has been relying on a market research project that has been completed by graduate students from Willamette University.  This project was a semester-long project that is tied in to Willamette's entrepreneurship class.  The four students that participated in the project spent an entire semester conducting market research for HCM.  The students crafted a useful, insightful research project with valuable information.  They received class credit as well as real world experience.

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