The marketing plan usually forms an integral part of any new business, as it essentially provides a framework and blue print through which a company is able to not only create awareness of the products it has to offer, but also a framework that covers important aspects such as distribution and sales. The marketing aspect is particularly important for the business due to the fact that the industry within which the business hopes to operate in is one in which sensitivity to emotion, culture, beliefs and values is quite important. In addition, the industry and line of business adopted is a fairly new and unexplored one.
For the new business, due to the fact that currently the main identified target market for the templates as already predetermined to be house funerals, as opposed to dealing with individual markets, the best strategy to adopt would be one of direct marketing, the groundswell approach, as well as the top-down influence approach, more so after a while when the company has already gained a sufficiently loyal customer base. Initially however, the direct and groundswell approaches will be the most applied approaches to marketing. The former is very important due to the fact that the input of funeral home owners and proprietors will be very important at the initial stages of running the business, mainly due to the experience that such individuals wield.
Further, in order to create a loyal and satisfied customer base, keeping in touch with the funeral home proprietors will be essential as they will serve as the best agents for the new business, considering that they will be in charge of dealing with the individual customers to sell the product. The groundswell strategy is also quite appropriate for fresh businesses that do not have many clients and are yet to create a selling name. The word of mouth, especially within an industry in which sensitivity to emotion is key, can serve as an important asset, not to mention the significantly lower costs that come with using it.
The company will no doubt gain a competitive advantage due to the unique nature of the products that will be offered. The professional manner with which the templates will be prepared, will put the company on the map, more so when one considers that not many companies offer the products and services the company is going to offer. Having highly qualified staff, more so when it comes to template editing, is bound to lead to a very strong brand name for the company, more so when combined with the groundswell approach to marketing. The fact that the company will be offering high quality products and services, as well as engaging with a particular cadre of clients; exclusively dealing with funeral homes, will no doubt differentiate it from its competitors. Striking sufficiently lucrative deals with the funeral homes will essentially serve to lock other competitors out of the market, making it not just difficult for existing businesses, but also for any potential newcomers. The manner with which the company will introduce itself, as well as the greater attention to detail, and flexibility, will lead to an eagerness for collaboration on the part of funeral home proprietors, as their businesses will definitely stand to benefit more than just financially by partnering with us.
The pricing for the services will be marginally higher than the prices currently offered in the market by other similar businesses if any. This will go a long way towards reaffirming claims that the company offers the best products, as price and quality is a delicate balance that must be approached in a careful manner. Charging the highest prices will give the customer an impression that the services and products being sold to them are of the highest quality possible. The pricing will also need to be higher to facilitate the expansion plans that the company has, as well as cover the commission fees to be offered to the funeral homes in order to ensure a constant flow of referrals. The commission system will also strengthen the marketing strategy adopted as a start, and help build an adequate customer base of loyal customers. This form of promotion will also ensure that the distribution of the products or services is efficient and timely, through the establishment of a single point of contact, both for marketing and sales. Funeral homes will serve as an integral part of the marketing and distribution chains. If properly instituted, funeral homes will simply market our services and products as part of the funeral homes’ operations, essentially making it easier to capture customers. Linking the amount of commission earned to the amount of work sourced or referred, will serve as important motivation for funeral homes to sell to all their clients. This will create a situation where all partner funeral homes are fronts for the company, with any need to pay for extra rental space or extra wages.
Due to the partnerships with the funeral homes, as well as the commission system, arrangements will be made with the funeral home to ensure that the products or services (templates) are sold as part of the funeral package. Once the funeral home secures an order, the order will be forwarded to the central office, where it will be processed and sent back to the funeral home in time for the burial. The funds collected by the home will be forwarded in two installments, one in the form of a down payment, preferably about 50%, and the remaining 50% forwarded prior to the sending of the finished template back to the funeral home in question. Commissions shall be calculated and paid on a monthly basis.
The management team of the firm will consist of the three founder members. They all have major roles to play towards the success of the business. However, clear duties and responsibilities are allocated to each member to enhance efficiency and accountability in their departments. Victor Sanchez is the company director which means that rather than being a major stakeholder towards the initial establishment of the business, he has to play the role an executive company director. Though his position is elective, he is not open to voting out before the first two financial years are over. His job description include fiduciary duties of the organization, in executing these duties he will be expected to execute laid down business polices such as making decision relating to supervision of business products. He is also charged will the responsibility of chairing annual meetings and acting as the company secretary. Victor Sanchez is best suited for the position both by merit and by his leadership quality. He holds a masters degree in Photoshop meaning that he has the required skilled in learning an art based business.
Chad Brockmeyer the other major partner will act as finance manager, meaning that he will be in charge of maintaining the accounting records of the business. By doing so, Chad will monitor initial capital as well as other forms of business income to ensure that business plan and objectives are achieved. As the Finance Manager, Chad will ensure that any slight increase or decrease in relation to profit or loss is noted early enough for appropriate action.
The third stakeholder or founder is Mohammad Alkhalaf whose job position is marketing manager. Just like all the other founders or stakeholder, Mohammad holds a masters degree in his area of working, to be more specific, he has a master’s degree in marketing. As a marketing manager Mohammad will carry out functions such as: developing pricing strategies evaluate marketing strategies, evaluate financial aspects of product development as well as hiring and training of marketing and sales staff. Rather than all the three members of the management team being well educated in their area of operations they have all worked in similar positions before. In addition, they worked together immediately after college in a reputable restaurant and were all reporting to one person; the operations manager. Therefore, the Chad, Victor and Mohammad have worked together before and are expected to work in harmony for the benefit of the new business.
Though in the initial three years of operations the business will not have a board of directors the founders will require the services of a board of advisers. The board of advisers will include three to four officials from bureau of standards, from a reputable competitor firm and a financial advisor supposedly a banker. The guest will be expected to provide information relating to ways of improving quality of their products, customer expectations as well as financial opportunities. However, all these persons in the management and operation team will be expected to abide by the organizational chart both in short and long term after the firm expands.
Before the company operations can being fully there are a few preparations that the founders need to take care off. Proper elimination of expected milestones as well as good planning will not only reduce operational cost but also enhance efficiency. To begin with, identification of a physical address or an office will be essential. Even though the funeral homes will act as floats to the business thus assisting the business to meet clients and market their templates, a physical address will be essential to ensure reliability and efficiency. Identification and purchasing of good stationery especially fixed assets such as printers, laminators, photocopiers and computers will be necessary before any clients can be invited. Further, the founders will require designing a few templates of their products to be used by the funeral homes when marketing to the clients.
The financial projections will be done by the financial manager but will the assistance of all the other founder members. Working together on this section of the business planning will assist in the achievement of projections with minimal valiance. The founder will begin by identifying what will be required to begin the operations of the business. This will include, purchasing of equipments, initial salaries and remunerations as well as office rental fees. After initial capital has been identified, the founders will be required to brainstorm on the sources of funds. It will be expected that the founder members will raise at least 30% of the total startup capital and the rest will be attained from a bank loan. The bank loan attained will be paid within the first five years of operations to leave room for expansion of the business. Further, the business startup capital will be expected to be raised at least two months before the official launching to enhance good planning.