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

The Executive Search & Rescue Placement Firm is entering its first year of operation. The Minneapolis community has a need for executive placement and will utilize a professional placement service. The basic market need is a skilled service provider that can assist in the placement of seasoned executives.

Market Summary

ESR possess good information about the market and knows a great deal about the common attributes of the most prized customers.  This information will be leveraged to better understand who is served, their specific needs, and how ESR can better communicate with them.

Market Analysis

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Market Analysis
Potential CustomersGrowth     CAGR
High-tech firms14%24527931836341414.01%
Non-high-tech firms10%12613915316818510.08%

Market Needs

ESR is providing the Minneapolis community with a sophisticated, effective, executive search service. Executive Search and Rescue seeks to fulfill the following benefits that are important to its customers.

  • Fast Service: Often companies cannot recognize their hiring needs until it is too late.  Therefore typical customers appreciate a fast placement service.
  • Accuracy: The ability to accurately find a candidate who has the necessary skills, as well a match with the company culture.
  • Customer Service: Satisfaction guaranteed.

The market trend for placement services is a specialization of the placement services. 

  • Specialization has occurred because of a need for more accurate or predictive placement that occurs with specialization.
  • With the booming technology sector, it is now sustainable to have a placement agency that specializes on this sector.

Market Growth

In 2000 the executive search industry achieved $453 million in revenue. The industry's growth is projected to be 8% for the next five years.

Part of the fuel for this growth is the recognition that executive search firms are more efficient in finding executives than the internal HR department of most companies. This trend of outsourcing is not unique to executive placements, but can be seen in many different industries from payroll to accounting.

SWOT Analysis

The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company and describes the opportunities and threats facing Executive Search and Rescue.


  • Strong networking web within the community.
  • Sophisticated, predictive screening mechanisms.
  • Industry insight based on pragmatic experience.


  • Weak initial cash flow.
  • The lack of brand equity, a function of a start-up organization.
  • The inability to scale rapidly.


  • Participation in a growing industry.
  • Low overhead.
  • The ability to decrease fixed costs per sale as business picks up.


  • A lack of immunity from an industry downturn.
  • The attractiveness of the industry has encouraged new entrants and competition may increase as a result.


Minneapolis currently has about six - 10 executive search firms. There are other search firms that handle many different positions, not just executives.

Service Offering

Executive Search and Rescue will provide a wide range of placement services. Executive will specialize in the high-tech niche of emerging companies, but is equally competent for non-high-tech companies. Executive can place a wide range of executive positions from CEOs to CFOs.

Executive works on a contingency basis, it is paid on placement. This arrangement allows it to work for many different clients at the same time.

Currently, there are about six different executive search firms in Minneapolis. Because Minneapolis is a part of the silicon forest, a hot bed of emerging technology firms, the market is growing at exciting rates.

Service Business Analysis

There are two business models for executive search firms:

  1. Retainer Firms: These firms typically command 30-35% of the executives first year salary. The firm is paid regardless of finding a candidate. The benefit of using this firm is that the search firm is under extra pressure to find the right candidate and will spend extra time to get the person that "fits the bill."

    This setup also limits the number of positions that the search firm can look for at once as it has an obligation to find the executive for the retainer fee. This is a more unusual set up.
  2. Contingency Firms: This is the more common arrangement where a fee is paid when the search firm finds an appropriate candidate. The advantage to the client is that they only pay if services are rendered. This creates an economic incentive to perform, but when the company is in a hurry to find someone, the incentive is lost.

    This set up is advantageous to the search firm because it allows it to search for a wide range of clients at once. The margins for the contingency model are generally the same as the retainer firms.

Keys to Success

The keys to success are:

  • Servicing the customer's needs.
  • Accuracy in placements.
  • Predicting future needs.

Critical Issues

Executive is still in the speculative stage as an executive placement agency.

Its critical issues are to anticipate growth and scale accordingly. This must be done prudently and analytically.  If it is slow to move it loses business, if done too fast then it could suffer in an economic downturn.

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