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Jacqueline E. Fauria American Intercontinental University Strategic Marketing Plan: Type Name of your Product/Service Here MKT640 – A Managerial Approach to Marketing May 22, 2011 Abstract This paper covers the objectives of Aquarium Solutions, the customer and competitive targets, our core strategy and marketing mix. The marketing mix portion of this paper discusses our plans for pricing and distribution channel choices, as well as communications and promotions choices. Strategic Marketing Plan: Aquarium Solutions IntroductionAquarium Solutions started a few weeks ago as an idea, one that has been in the making very slowly to become a possible reality it is now. The culmination of the last few weeks work is presented in this paper; it has been a good challenge to put a whole system together as a project and a more enjoyable means of learning. Mission Statement Our mission statement: “At Aquarium Solutions our goal is to provide the best possible all around fish, animal and aquarium care that we can. We want you, our customers to feel like we care for your fish and aquariums like they are our own.

Our level of professionalism is indicated by the task we perform. We plan on letting potential customers know by going to their offices or homes for an initial consultation free, their success as an aquarium owner and aquatic animal keeper is important to us. Aquarium Solutions is dedicated to the customer’s success not just their business. Objectives Using the SMART system for new businesses, the one year plan is: S- Specific: Our goal is to have at least fifty loyal customers. To ensure success, our goal is realistic and attainable.

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If business goes better than planned, adjustments will be made. M-Measureable: To maintain a positive climb in return customers ensures we are doing things right to meet the fifty customer goal. This measurement is progressive with the continuance of our services. A-Attainable: With the market we serve being small, our goal of fifty customers in our first year is attainable, all though we may need to service hundreds of aquariums; the goal is not too high, or too low. This attainability can be adjusted to meet increased service demands.R-Realistic: Realistically there will be a lot of work involved is obtaining that loyal customer we seek. It may require that we provide service hundreds of customers who may not return, but word of mouth advertising is very important in this stage of development. The best of service we can provide may get a few new customers for one that did not become a loyal customer.

T- Tangible and trackable: We all know the saying, the best laid plans. With all that is involved in starting a business; the biggest goal, is to follow the plan. Monthly goals can help achieve what we consider success.

Ensuring that all employees understand what is expected of them and what our goals as a business are is a necessity. By achieving small tasks, we will achieve the larger goals. Customer Targets The general target market that Aquarium Solutions seeks will be the professional offices of Doctors, Dentists, Physical Therapists, General Practitioners, and Massage Therapists. Professional offices in the medical or medical related field are the perfect customers.

Many of these types of offices have aquariums in the waiting areas, because the atmosphere that the aquarium generates is calm and peaceful.It has been shown to help patients relax while waiting. The rest of our target market will be comprised of general households ranging in age from ten to sixty. The large gap in age is because everyone loves an aquarium. In the State of Washington, There are only fifteen companies listed that provide aquarium cleaning services (Nationwide Aquarium Cleaning Services 1998). This leaves the service market area pretty wide open and limited only by what Aquarium Solutions as a new business can take on and how fast it can expand.Competitor Targets The biggest competition that is working in this area is located in Everett, Washington.

This is approximately seventy miles south of Oak Harbor, Washington, where the company base is located. Using the internet, it was discovered that there are only forty three aquarium cleaning services listed by D-U-N-S number in the United States. (Hoovers 2011). Of those forty three, none were the previous fifteen found in Washington State. This leads us to believe that there is a smaller market, than original estimates.It is believed that because this type of service does not fall into any specific market, there are no standards by which existing companies are measured or required to be identified with or as. This lack of standardization will make any estimates of the true market size impossible. Without this market knowledge, the possibility of this service becoming a shining star is much lower.

Aquarium Solutions will have to work in the dark so to speak, until they can develop their own loyal consumer base. Until that day is reached, there is no solid evidence to work on as far as what marketing efforts will or won’t work.Product/Service Features Brief overview of the services that Aquarium Solutions will provide to its customers include aquarium set up, general and in depth cleaning, moving if required, aquarium fish sitting, taking down aquarium for moving or storage. We also provide consultation services on any of the former mentioned services and general questions. Your satisfaction is guaranteed or we will do anything we can to make it right with you.

Consultation services are aimed at helping customers make better decisions, and provide as much knowledge as possible to make them better aquarium animal keepers.At Aquarium Solutions we want their success not just their business. Core Strategy Our goal is to have fifty loyal customers in the first year, by using consultation services. All aquarium services will come in and clean, or set-up, break-down, move or store your aquarium.

Aquarium Solutions offers consultation services to ensure that important aspects of owning an aquarium are discussed with the customer. We want them to be very actively involved in where the set-up can be located and why. Knowing what a customer wants makes it a hundred times easier to deliver it right.The same is true using a long term branded core strategy, using more than one media to advance the distribution of the message of the core strategy (Clark, 2008). Marketing Mix: Communications & Promotion The IMC (Integrated Marketing Communications) is the market manager’s responsibility.

IMC is simply the concept that elements of the marketing mix all communicate the same message, and are coordinated to ensure there are no mixed messages to confuse customers (Winer & Dhar, 2011). If internet and large volume print are the chosen forms of advertising, both forms need to convey the same message.The internet creates new vehicles for acquiring leads and prospects.

Database marketers have a huge advantage in that area (Anonymous, 2006). The same can be said for any combination of media chosen to market the company. Point being is that the clarity of the message being sent to the customer is priority number one to establishing perception. The choices being made now for the intended marketing mix are based on being a start-up business.

The amount of money that could be required for certain types of advertising media is not available to the company yet.Although television is great, air time is not within the budget. Without knowing exactly who are customers are going to be, the plan is to blanket professional offices in the medical fields, and homes in as many areas as can be afforded. Mass mailers are probably the best option available considering cost.

The Messages The message that we want to communicate is that Aquarium Solutions is willing to teach customers to be better informed and better prepared fish keepers so that they may experience the success that comes with an excellently developed and maintained aquarium.We want customers to be a large part of their own success. As such we are willing to work with our customers in learning about their fish and aquariums habitats. Our preferred communication will be through the use of the internet. Our website will have links to various other websites and databases we will install on our web site for customer reference. These will be of great benefit to our customers as they will be able to expand their own knowledge of fish and aquarium types to suit their own desires in fish keeping.Aquarium Solutions will be known as the service that raises customer’s knowledge and self-expectations to challenge them to keep newer and higher difficulty specialty aquarium animals. We are in partnership with our customers for their success.

Marketing mix: Price So as to not so far undercut not only the competition, but the company itself, competition pricing will put Aquarium Solutions in the middle of the pack and then actual services and consultation visits will move the company upward. Let the services sell themselves.Perception is a part of pricing that can put a good or bad light on the company. If customers believe they are getting good value for their money, then they will pay the price and be happy about it (Barnett, 2011). The “basic” price for services such as we offer, can range anywhere from $45. 00 to $75. 00 or more (http://www.

tropicalfishstore. com/maintenanceservice. htm) nationwide.

Because these prices are fair and fairly flexible in the form of a large range, Aquarium Solutions can be positioned slightly towards the top, but over the middle.Marketing Mix: Channels of Distribution It can be difficult to choose one or two distribution channels to begin a business with, everything sounds like a good idea, however with some time and research the number of things that really fit and are workable is narrowed down. The distribution channel that would seem to work the best for Aquarium Solutions is direct mail marketing. Going to the customers first, sitting down, and discussing all the options available is more likely to sway them to going with Aquarium Solutions.

We can offer initial discount pricing to a first time customer who is buying the aquarium and a one year contract. Customers are more likely to go the whole nine yards if they feel they have the right information and see the value of the services for themselves. The general idea that customers can be reached with this channel of marketing is pretty high, since 80% of what customers receive in the mail they at least open and scan (Hartong, 2011). With statistics that high, it would be foolish to not at least try direct mailing.Offering pricing discounts to customers that do buy an aquarium and at least a one year contract will be secondary to getting customers in the door first. After researching a few distribution channels, direct mail marketing and mass mail marketing seem the best suited to accomplish the customer goal that is set for the company. Direct mail marketing can be used in the case of contacting medical facilities, Dr. Offices, Dentists, Physical Therapists, and Massage Practitioners.

The goal is to use direct mail marketing in the form of direct mailers for professional offices and as much as possible for the household target.Blanketing entire areas will be the best way to saturate the potential customer base. It is believed that mass mailing should produce the best possible reach to the customers. This initial plan will stay in place for at a minimum six months, then the subject will be readdressed to see if any adjustments need to be made or if a whole new marketing plan needs to put in motion. Six months should be a lengthy enough to produce trackable results that can be used to reformulate any changes that may become necessary.While the first six months of mailers going, the plan to have the most knowledgeable technician go out in the field and work out old fashion door to door sales. Door to door is an art form more than a reliable business tactic, but part of the target market involves professional offices and meeting these people face to face is the best way to begin a customer relationship.

Marketing Mix: Customer Relationship Management Customer relationship management is a relatively new concept, which is finding an especially receptive audience in professional services.Business today moves at a blisteringly fast pace, in an environment that is based on information now. Markets are fragmenting; barriers to entry are crumbling, even in capital-intensive industries. New businesses are popping up in venues that did not even exist a few years ago. The internet and the World Wide Web have made a borderless global community, almost overnight. Now a days matching products to services and employees to customers is becoming key and critical for business and financial survival (Galbreath 1999).

As a point of reference the author defines customer relationship management as the “activities a business performs to identify, qualify, acquire, develop and retain increasingly loyal and profitable customers be delivering the right product or service to the right customer, through the right channel, at the right time and at the right cost”. Customer relationship management focuses a company on identifying certain customers to maintain from the already existing base, in addition to identifying new customers who would be worthwhile to acquire.The loyalty effect creates an environment for increased revenue, higher profitability and better customer satisfaction. In today’s fast paced competitive environment, businesses may not be able to survive without applying the principles, technologies, and processes to customer relationship management (Galbreath, 1999). Over the last twenty years managers have become excited about Customer Relationship Management. Managers are drawn in by the idea of the opportunity to build customizable and profitable relationships with customers (Fournier & Avery, 2011).However most CRM systems have become a means of categorizing customers into segments based on current profitability.

This may affect the bottom line; however it does nothing to advance the shift from mass marketing to one on one relationship. Using the system in this means does not benefit the company and Aquarium Solutions will strive to ensure the customers are not treated with this kind of disrespect. The basic plan to be spending so much time on a service call gives technicians more than ample time to strike up a conversation and that leads to a relationship.Our goal to have fifty loyal customers may not sound like much, but this is a service that can tie up two technicians for three to four hours on one job. Given how lengthy a service call can be, limits the quantity of customers that can be taken on any one day. Conclusion Aquarium Solutions has planned out a marketing strategy that should put it squarely in the center of the pack, and steps of that plan should move the company upward fairly soon. The plan for having quality speak for itself is also a time consuming effort, our technicians are required to attend to anything that may need to be taken care of in addition to the standard call.Problems that may come up or something noticed that needs fixing, anything can happen while cleaning an aquarium and gentle is the buzzword in this business.

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