Product/Service Strategy

Some products and services (Chapter 6) have longer periods between resales than others. For example, if you're selling wholesale candies to convenience stores, you may expect to service customers once or even twice a week. What you're selling is a short-term product that will soon need replenishment. If your business is tax preparation, your service is longer term and you'll be helping the majority of your customers annually. If your business sells houses, the lifecycle may be three to five years before you sell another home to the same customer.

The repurchase term of your product or service is important to your marketing strategy and comprehensive business plan. It will help you develop a plan for ensuring that your customers have what you offer when they need it.

Sustaining Sales

Many businesses ensure themselves against erratic selling cycles by offering secondary products or services that help maintain income during the off season. Tax preparers offer year-round recordkeeping services. Real estate agents develop referral business to supplement repeat-customer sales. Product-based businesses offer related services that customers need.

What strategy should your business use to sustain sales? Will you develop an automatic reorder system? Will you contact existing customers during slower seasons and seek additional or referral sales? Your business plan should include the specific goals and steps needed to ensure that what you sell is being offered to the greatest number of prospective customers.

Strategizing SWOT

Chapter 7 covered SWOT analysis, considering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that you business and your competitors face. As you develop your marketing plan, you should review this analysis and develop specific strategies for taking advantage of these internal and external business factors. Following is a SWOT analysis from Appendix B:

The development of a marketing strategy for Acme Time Management Consultants must begin with a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).

Strengths:

  • Owner's varied organizational experience in corporate and residential environments

  • Owner's acquaintance with many individuals in the local corporate world

  • ATMC office strategically located in the geographic market

  • Low operating overhead

  • Competitive pricing structure

Weaknesses:

  • Start-up company with no track record

  • No individuals, as yet, identified to fill Office PO positions requiring specific organizational skills

Opportunities:

  • Professional organizers are a relatively new professional in the targeted geographic market

  • The Internet is increasingly becoming a primary source for seeking goods and services

  • Population and economic census data indicate existence and continued growth of the specific types of office and residential clients ATMC will target

Threats:

  • Some competition may react with lower price ranges

  • Competitors will promote existing client base and experience

  • Continued recession in the region may cut into total potential client base for all competitors

As you can see, Acme Time Management has a viable plan for managing its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Make sure your market analysis considers the SWOTs of your business and that of your competitors. With it, you can proactively prepare for your business’ marketplace.

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